Past the 50 million mark (England's population that is)

In today’s Independent there is what some of us might regard as a fitting, if belated, tribute to Malthus’ theory of population control.

In the 1830’s the population of the larger island to the East, taken as a whole, was 10 millions. That of
its smaller neighbour was 8.

It’s interesting to speculate what the combined population of both parts of the island of Ireland would have been if there hadn’t been immigration due to the famine ?

Population of England exceeds 50 million for the first time
By Laura Elston
Published: 26 August 2005

The population of England has risen above 50 million for the first time, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
They show that the total in mid-2004 was up 238,000 on mid-2003 – a rise of 0.5 per cent. That total for June last year was estimated at 50.1 million. In the United Kingdom overall, the population last year was 59.8 million – a rise of 0.5 per cent, or 281,200 people. This means the UK total will probably reach 60 million this year.
The population of Wales in 2004 was 2.9 million and Northern Ireland 1.7 million – both representing rises of 0.5 per cent. Scotland’s total was estimated at 5.1 million – an increase of 0.4 per cent. The ONS research also revealed that the United Kingdom’s elderly population was still growing. The number 85 and over rose from 873,300 to 1,111,600 between 1991 and 2004.
This group accounts for 1.9 per cent of the total population – and it is made up mostly of women. In 2004, there were 322,800 males and 788,800 females in the category.
The population of England has risen above 50 million for the first time, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
They show that the total in mid-2004 was up 238,000 on mid-2003 – a rise of 0.5 per cent. That total for June last year was estimated at 50.1 million. In the United Kingdom overall, the population last year was 59.8 million – a rise of 0.5 per cent, or 281,200 people. This means the UK total will probably reach 60 million this year.
The population of Wales in 2004 was 2.9 million and Northern Ireland 1.7 million – both representing rises of 0.5 per cent. Scotland’s total was estimated at 5.1 million – an increase of 0.4 per cent. The ONS research also revealed that the United Kingdom’s elderly population was still growing. The number 85 and over rose from 873,300 to 1,111,600 between 1991 and 2004.
This group accounts for 1.9 per cent of the total population – and it is made up mostly of women. In 2004, there were 322,800 males and 788,800 females in the category.

  • Henry94

    You can subract Lord Fitt from that total.

  • alexander bowman

    It is further interesting to speculate as to whether there would have been such an entity as a United States of America. 40,000,000 N.American citizens claim Irish ancestry.

    Add to that figure those Irish transported to the Antipodes; factor in the million or so effectively genocided (whether through a sin of omission or commission perpetrated by that neighbour to the east still paranoid about Ireland as backdoor access-point for European revolutionary notions) and you have something close to an answer to your question.

    But, putting that to one side – as an unseemly raking over of the past (we’ve forgotten what we did to you – why can’t you do the same?) as my near-contemporary Mr.Anthony Trollope put it so well:

    “Ireland’s famine was the punishment of her imprudence and idleness but it has given her prosperity and progress>”

    All’s well that end’s well.

  • Fanny

    England repeatedly surveyed Ireland for grand plans to industrialise the whole island, but they repeatedly foundered on the lack of deep water ports in the west and the failure to find coal. Agriculture was seen as the only alternative and nobody understood the limits that placed on the overall population at the time. Or so I was taught, anyway.

  • Jo

    The 8 million was unsustainable and massive emigration would have been a less painful solution than what did happen in the late 1840s.

    There would never have been the widespread industrial development that characterised urban sprawl in the Midlands of England and elsewhere in the “other island.”

    The population of Ireland as a whole would be slightly larger today but the existence of an overall larger population in the 19th century might have meant that there was more planned development of the cities, to deal with the larger commuter population, than there actually was. I’d estimate 6.5 – 7 million today.

  • Ciarán

    Andrew, I don’t think it’s possible for a population to be ‘effectively genocided.’ Genocide requires a purposeful attempt to do away with a population (something that the Elizabethans were very much in to). The famine was certainly exacerbated by atrocious, cruel and vindictive policies, but they just weren’t genocidal.

    And, just for the sake of clarity, the main beneficiaries of the famine and subsequent emigration were the Irish people who remained.

  • Jo

    Henry thats not a very sensitive comment, I had to read elsewhere that GF was dead. R.I.P.

  • Ciarán

    Sorry: I mean Alexander.

  • aquifer

    If agriculture was not capable of supporting a large population then, and is now a marginal economic activity due to global competition, the current politics of Northern Ireland centred around territory and historic land grievances are a bit disfunctional. Especially when community conflict and international investment mix like oil and water.

    Henry94 Thats 49,999,998 then

  • Keith M

    The surge in the population on the island of Ireland after 1800 was unsustainable. Let’s not forget that when Ireland joined the UK in 1801 the population was somewhere between 4 and 5 million. That means a population growth rate of 60% to 100% in a few decades and all trying to live of a largely agricultural economy. The potato famine was a catastrophe waiting to happen as earlier famines had also had huge impacts on the population.

    If we are looking at the population today we should not forget the two major waves of emigration that hit this country. Between the IFS leaving the UK and 1960 over one million people left the IFS/Eire/Republic of Ireland. That’s one quarter of the population at the time of the establishment of the state. Most of these people were young, so the impact on population growth was huge.

    Again in the 1980’s when we were looking at booming economies in the US and UK, we lost almost half a million people due to economic mismanagement, again mainly young people.

    It is only with a well managed economy (not to mention the odd €b in EU handouts) that we have managed to reverse this trend. It’s only in the last decade that we have reversed the trend of centuries and our young people have not had to go abroad for a decent standard of living. There’s an old phrase that “eaten bread is soon forgotten”, but credit must go to the current generation of Irish politicians.

  • slug

    In the last 5 years the same migratory turnaround has happened in NI. Up to 2000, there was net migration from NI to GB. Now the net direction is the opposite – there are more people moving from GB to NI. (Disaggregaring this there are also more people moving from both Scotland and England to NI than vice versa). This is in addition to the international migration to NI that we know has increased in the last 5 years. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on our society.

  • DavidD

    BG
    To be pedantic your numbers are not quite correct. In 1831 the population of Great Britain was about 16.2 million and Ireland about 7.8 million.