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Population

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the latest population projections for the UK are for (a) 2031, (b) 2056 and (c) 2081; (232200)

(2) what estimate has been made of when the population of the UK is expected to reach 70 million;

(3) what estimate has been made of the effect on total UK population of zero net migration by (a) 2031, (b) 2056 and (c) 2081.

[holding answer 3 November 2008]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your questions asking:

(1) what the latest population projections for the UK are for (a) 2031 (b) 2056 and (c) 2081. (232200);

(2) what estimate has been made of when the population of the UK is expected to reach 70 million (232201); and

(3) what estimate has been made of the effect on total UK population of zero net migration by (a) 2031 (b) 2056 and (c) 2081 (232202).

The most recent national population projections, based on the population at the middle of 2006, were published by the Office for National Statistics on 23 October 2007. The main, or principal, projections are based on the best assumptions available at the time of future expected levels of migration, fertility and mortality. The attached table below gives the projected UK population under the principal projections for the three years requested (1).

Under the principal projection the population of the UK is projected to reach 70 million in 2028 (2).

Variant projections are also produced to show the effect of plausible alternative projections based on higher or lower assumptions. These can be used to illustrate the consequences of a particular set of assumptions. ONS publish a variant projection based on the assumption that net migration is zero throughout the projection period. The projected UK population totals for this variant projection can also be found in the table below (3).

Total projected population of the UK 2006—based national population projections

Million

Principal projection (1)

Zero migration variant projection (3)

2031

71.1

63.8

2056

78.6

61.5

2081

85.3

57.3