The population of the United Kindgom is set to reach 60 million in 2005, according to new official figures.
The UK's population is expected to peak at 67 million
The Office of National Statistics has published revised data showing the milestone should be passed by the end of next year.
The new prediction sees the 60 million mark reached two years earlier than previously estimated.
The UK's population is tipped to hit 67 million by 2050, before gradually starting to fall.
Government statistician Chris Shaw told BBC News Online the country's population is on track to reach 60,024,000 by the end of 2005.
He said previous figures from the ONS showed the 60 million figure would not be passed until some time in 2007.
He said the total population would grow by 6.1 million to 65.7 million by 2031 before reaching its peak around two decades later.
But the population of Scotland is expected to start falling from next year, while the number of people in Wales and Northern Ireland will keep rising until 2030 and then begin to decline.
"Scotland has a lower birth rate than other countries of the UK. As well as that, Scotland has also tended to lose people through migration in recent years," he said.
The population of England is expected to still be rising in 40 years' time, but at a reducing rate of growth.
In other findings from the data:
- There will be more pensioners than children in the UK from 2007
- There will be 40 million people of working age by 2022
- By 2020, there will be more workers in the UK older than 40 than younger than 40
- The average age of a UK citizen is expected to rise from 39.4 in last year's estimates to 43.6 by 2031
The revised figures are the result of a review of the way population is counted.
Part of that change was to include another 60,000 people counted in local authority studies in England and Wales but who had not been included in previous census figures.
The rate of population growth for the UK remains unchanged at around 0.35%.