Higher still and higher shall thy bounds be set?

The most populous country in Europe in 50 years, bigger than Germany. 77 million compared to only 71 million!

“605,000 long-term immigrants arriving in the year to mid-2007. The EU projections show that the wave of migration to Britain, boosting both the workforce and fertility rates, is out of step with many other European countries where deaths are expected to overtake births after 2015”.

And with Ireland (Rep) growing even faster by 50%? Eurostat says it expects Ireland’s population to grow to around 6.7 million by 2060.

Not to be outdone, NI will almost hit the 2 million by 2031, says the Office of National Statistics. So far I haven’t been able to find a smoking gun on sectarian balance. Here’s how it looks, set in the UK context. by the Office of National Statistics.


2006 2011 2016 2021 2031
1742 1812 1868 1922 1999!

“Trends differ for the four countries of the UK. The population of England is projected to increase by 8 per cent by 2016, that of Northern Ireland by 7 per cent ( big year, that) and Wales by 5 per cent. The projected increase for Scotland, where fertility and life expectancy levels are assumed to remain lower than in the rest of the UK, is 3 per cent. Across the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland recorded the highest rate of growth with a one per cent population rise last year to 1.8 million people. The population of England rose by 0.6 per cent to 51.1 million. Scotland and Wales rose by 0.5 per cent.” (ONS)

Of course many of us won’t be around to see the end of the projections and the ratio of oldies will be far too high.

Do I really believe it all ? For the UK, The Office of National Statistics enter a caveat.
“The UK population reached 60.5 million this year, and the new official figures suggest it will rise to 65 million by 2016 and 71 million by 2031.
The ONS said these were projections, not forecasts, because it was impossible to predict how changing government policies might affect the outcome.
Policies like immigration and welfare.

Overall, is the trend good or bad? Higher immigration of the skilled, retaining our own skills good; big increase in oldies over youngies, bad. Not to mention the environmental costs. Yet if the UK-Germany population balance had been like these in the 1930s would WW2 have happened?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London