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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
UK population breaks through 60m
City workers
Population: 60.2m
Births: 717,500
Deaths: 590,600
Net migration: 235,000
Highest growth: London
Lowest growth: North West
ONS data for year to 30 June 2005
The UK's population has broken through the 60 million barrier for the first time, figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said the number rose 0.6% to 60.2 million in the year to June 2005. England accounts for 50.4 million of the total.

It was the biggest annual rise since 1962, fuelled by migration from new EU countries and an ageing population.

The population has been rising since the Industrial Revolution. In 1911 there were 42 million people.

The ONS figures are estimates collated from birth and death records and International Passenger Survey data on foreign citizens staying in the UK for more than 12 months.

Northern Ireland, which saw a 0.8% rise in population registered the fastest growth. England's population grew by 0.7%, Scotland was up 0.3% and Wales 0.2%.

Line graph showing growth in UK's population 1971-2006 and projected to 2031, plus pie chart showing how UK population breaks down in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

ONS said Scotland's population in June 2005 was 5.1 million, Wales's was 3 million, and Northern Ireland's 1.7 million.

Overall population, which is projected to increase 12% over the next generation, rose 375,000 in the 12 months to 30 June last year.

The figures show the number of births was up, while the number of deaths fell.

The difference between births and deaths - so called natural change - increased to 127,000 over the 12 months, compared with 104,000 in the 2003-2004 period.

The UK had a record 1.17 million people aged over 85 in the year to 2005, a rise of 6% or 64,000 people.

Net international migration rose from 167,000 in 2003-2004 to 235,000 in 2004- 2005, the highest level since the estimates on levels were first produced in 1991.

Of that figure, migration from citizens of the eight new EU states such as Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic was 74,000, compared with 10,000 a year earlier.

In total, ONS estimated 588,000 people migrated to the UK while migration from the UK - including both Britons leaving to live abroad and foreign citizens returning to their home countries - fell by 8,000 to 353,000.

Migrants are also helping to boost the UK's population through the number of births.

"Had there been no migration whatever, the population of the country would have had fewer births," said Peter Goldblatt, of the ONS.

"The numbers of births would not have gone up."

Recent Home Office figures indicated the increase in migrants will show a further rise in next year's statistics. According to its data, about 600,000 people have come to work in the UK from the new EU nations between 2004 and 2006.

The government says migrant workers are helping to fill gaps in the UK's labour market, especially in administration, business and management, hospitality and catering.

But the rise has also lead some people to suggest the numbers made it increasingly difficult for local people to get jobs and put strains on public services.

Country (OECD members) Population in 2000 (m) Area (sq km) Density (people per sq km)
S Korea 46.7 98,977 472
Netherlands 15.9 41,364 384
Japan 127 371,705 342
Belgium 10.2 30,553 335
UK 59.4 247,193 240
Germany 82 356,027 230
Italy 57.5 299,287 192
Switzerland 7.1 38,975 184
Luxembourg 0.4 2,587 169
Czech Republic 10.3 78,616 131
Denmark 5.3 42,484 125
Poland 38.6 311,195 124
Slovak Republic 5.4 48,875 110
Portugal 10 91,421 110
Hungary 10 92,046 108
France 59.2 547,120 108
Austria 8 83,145 97
Turkey 66.7 768,690 87
Greece 10.6 131,891 80
Spain 39.9 505,275 79
Ireland 3.8 69,474 55
Mexico 98.9 1,943,018 51
US 283.2 9,210,755 31
Sweden 8.8 431,704 20
Finland 5.2 317,001 16
Norway 4.5 318,524 14
Canada 30.8 9,458,886 3
Iceland 0.2 91,116 3
Australia 19.1 7,634,648 3
Source: Sedac/ UN

How Britain's population passed 60 million

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