UK pop­u­la­tion set to ex­ceed that of France

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN’S pop­u­la­tion is set to over­take that of France within 13 years be­cause of the im­pact of high im­mi­gra­tion, EU es­ti­mates said yes­ter­day.

The num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing there will top French lev­els in 2030 even though France is more than twice the size of the UK.

The pop­u­la­tion of Bri­tain will keep ris­ing to make it the most pop­u­lous coun­try in Europe by 2050 as it overtakes Ger­many, ex­perts pre­dict.

The key rea­son why the Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion is go­ing up so quickly com­pared to that of neigh­bour­ing coun­tries is im­mi­gra­tion, ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tions from Euro­stat.

They said that with­out high rates of im­mi­gra­tion, num­bers in Bri­tain would re­main lower than those in France for half a cen­tury and longer.

The es­ti­mates from the Lux­em­bourg-based EU sta­tis­tics arm con­firm in­ter­na­tional ex­pec­ta­tions that Bri­tain, al­ready the most crowded ma­jor Euro­pean coun­try ex­cept for the Nether­lands, will con­tinue to grow quickly in num­bers.

But the pro­jec­tions do not take into ac­count the po­lit­i­cal im­pact of Brexit, which should al­low the UK the right to con­trol im­mi­gra­tion by EU cit­i­zens.

The most re­cent Bri­tish im­mi­gra­tion fig­ures showed that num­bers of EU cit­i­zens com­ing into the coun­try now al­most match the level of im­mi­gra­tion from the rest of the world.

Euro­stat fu­ture pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates are dated from the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary and the lat­est were re­leased yes­ter­day.

They put num­bers in Bri­tain at the start of 2015 at 64 643 370. This com­pared with a pop­u­la­tion of 66 175 754 in France and 80 709 056 in Ger­many. At the be­gin­ning of 2030, num­bers in the UK will have gone up to 70 469 762, just ahead of the French pop­u­la­tion of 70 396 105, the pro­jec­tions said.

Ger­many, de­spite con­tin­u­ing high lev­els of im­mi­gra­tion, will have an age­ing and fall­ing pop­u­la­tion for the fore­see­able fu­ture, the EU agency added.

Num­bers in Ger­many will fall be­low those in Bri­tain in the late 2040s.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Flow­ers and can­dles at the for­mer Christ­mas mar­ket in Ber­lin, Ger­many, fol­low­ing an at­tack claimed by Is­lamic State.

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