The UK’s population is set to exceed 70 million before the end of the next decade, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The UK population was estimated to stand at 65.6 million in 2016.
The ONS projections are now for a 3.6 million, or 5.5%, increase over the 10 years to 2026, with the 70m mark being passed in the middle of 2029.
This is two years later than the ONS’s 2014 forecast that UK population would pass the 70m barrier in mid-2027.
The reason for the change is that since the 2014 study the assumption of net migration of 185,000 a year has been cut to 165,000 a year, while the expected number of children per woman has been cut from 1.89 to 1.84 – with growth in life expectancy trimmed for men from 84.3 to 83.4 and for women from 87.1 to 86.2.
Andrew Nash, of the ONS Population Projections Unit, said: “Over the period between mid-2016 and mid-2026 the population of the UK is projected to grow from 65.6 million to 69.2 million, reaching 70 million by mid-2029.
“England is projected to grow more quickly than the other UK nations.
“Over that period 54% of growth is projected to result directly from net international migration. The other 46% is because there will be more births than deaths.”