UK population set to exceed that of France
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.
Flowers and candles at the former Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, following an attack claimed by Islamic State.