UK population grows at its slowest rate in 15 years

UK population grows at its slowest rate in 15 years as more Britons leave the country with fewer migrants arriving from abroad, latest figures show

  • More Britons left the UK and less migrants arrived between mid-2018 and 2019 
  • Amount of non-EU migrants arriving into the UK are at record high, figures show
  • Today’s figures also revealed dramatic differences in variations of population density

The UK population is growing at its slowest rate in 15 years after more Britons left the country with fewer migrants arriving from abroad, according to figures released today. 

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the low figures were also due to the lowest birth rate in 14 years.  

‘The population grew at the slowest rate for 15 years between mid-2018 and mid-2019,’ wrote Neil Park, a statistician for the ONS. 

Since 2016, the UK’s population growth has been slow, largely attributed to lower natural change (the balance between births and deaths) and lower net migration

Pictured: A lone air traveller approaches border control at Heathrow Airport in February 2018. The ONS has recorded the lowest population growth for 15 years due to a combination of low net migration and a low birth rate

‘This is due to the lowest number of births for 14 years alongside an increase in emigration and a fall in international immigration.’

The figures also revealed a variation in population density across regions of the UK. 

Using an example, Park said that ‘the population density in London is 24 times higher than that for the South West of England.’  

Age also played an important factor, with 30 per cent of people aged 65 or over favouring coastal locations over cities. 

The population growth figures come amid three years of slow growth. 

The most recent figures pinpointing where migrants were arriving from were collated in February.  

They showed the number of people moving to Britain from outside the European Union at its highest level on record.

The number of people moving to the UK long-term from non-EU countries is at its highest level on record. Pictured: File photo of shoppers on Oxford Street in London 

Non-EU net migration has gradually increased since 2013 to 250,000, the highest level since 2004

Non-EU net migration has risen since 2013, while EU net migration has decreased since 2016

Some 379,000 people came to the UK from non-EU countries, according to the estimates for the year to September 2019.

At the same time there has been a year-on-year rise in estimated non-EU net migration of 26,000 to 250,000 – which is at its highest level since 2004.

The number of non-EU citizens leaving Britain over the same period has remained broadly stable for about six years now and is now at 129,000.

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