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Summary: UK Population Projected to Reach 70 Milllion by Mid-2027

Released: 26 October 2011 Download PDF

Figure 1: Estimated and projected age structure of the United Kingdom population, mid-2010 and mid-2035

Estimated and projected age structure of the United Kingdom population, mid-2010 and mid-2035

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The UK population is projected to increase by 4.9 million to 67.2 million over the ten year period to 2020. This increase is equivalent to an average annual rate of growth of 0.8 per cent.

If past trends continue, the population will continue to grow, reaching 73.2 million by 2035. This is due to natural increase (more births than deaths) and because it is assumed there will be more immigrants than emigrants (a net inward flow of migrants).

In common with other European countries, the UK has an ageing population. The population is projected to continue ageing with the average (median) age rising from 39.7 years in 2010 to 39.9 years in 2020 and 42.2 years by 2035.

As a result, despite the forthcoming increases to state pension age under current legislation, the number of people of state pension age (SPA) is projected to increase by 28 per cent from 12.2 million to 15.6 million by 2035. This reflects the higher number of people born immediately after the 2nd World War and also those who were born in the 1960s 'baby boom' reaching state pension age within the 25 year period to 2035.


Table 1: Estimated and projected population of the United Kingdom and constituent countries, 2010 to 2035

  2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035
United Kingdom1 62.3 64.8 67.2 69.4 71.4 73.2
England 52.2 54.5 56.6 58.6 60.4 62.1
Wales 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.4
Scotland 5.2 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8
Northern Ireland 1.8 1.9 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.0

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

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Trends differ for the four countries of the UK. The population of England is projected to increase 8 per cent by 2020, Northern Ireland by 6 per cent, while Wales and Scotland are both projected to increase by 5 per cent.

Projections are uncertain and become increasingly so the further they are carried forward. For this reason, variant population projections have also been produced to show what could happen with higher and lower assumptions of fertility, mortality and migration.

Source: Office for National Statistics

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