Comments for en-gb 30 Sun 13 Jul 2014 06:38:15 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at dualTwinkle 99% of international migrants choose England as their destination so your focus would be better on England and not the UK. For example, Scotland received 27,000 immigrants compared to England's 1.57 million in the ten years to 2006. The population density of England shows 393 people per square kilometre compared with 249 for the UK. On this basis England is already nearly twice as crowded as Germany, four times France and twelve times the United States. And recent newspaper reports claim we are now the most densely populated country in Europe, having overtaken the Netherlands. Even India and Bangladesh are less crowded than England!71% of immigrants go to London and the South East. Migration trends show that in the next ten years it is likely that another net 2 million immigrants will come here. Balanced migration would seem to make a great deal of sense if we wish to retain any quality of life, particularly in London and the South East. Thu 18 Sep 2008 11:10:14 GMT+1 riverside Just because the map shows 'empty' doesnt mean it is suitable to develope for occupation. Try taking out the river flood plains, the high ground and mountains, marshes and bogs, let alone the protected areas and prime farm ground or water sources. Further it is quite clear that people do not want to live in remote rural areas, and remote is seen as just a few miles out of town. The costs are too high, there are limited work opportunities, poor or no infrastructure, miles to drive to shops and doctors or schools, virtually no public transport. The UK trend is for rural areas to depopulate.Migrants, which seem to have something to do with this debate, though I am not sure what, also have a clear preferance for urban locations.The pressure on crowded areas in the UK will continue to grow, and migration, either as relocation within the UK, or from abroad will add to this applying enormous pressure. Fri 12 Sep 2008 12:23:10 GMT+1 dwaindibbley65 As an British Ex-pat living in Hong Kong for 8 years, I can assure you that everything works very well. The density of population actually makes certain things like public transportation much easier and extremely efficient. Schools cope perfectly well and taxation around 18%. It is also very much a first world city. Also look out the window and see Indonesians, Phlipino's, Aussies, Brits Americans as well as Chinese. So it is just as full of foreigners as, say, London. I think many posters are concerned not with the density per sei than with immigrants taking from society rather than contributing, Probably very few would mind the immigration of a Professor of Physics from Delhi University, but be rather unhappy with even a few Romanian gypsies on their doorstep. Fri 12 Sep 2008 07:35:41 GMT+1 tom_dom What a blatant piece of propaganda. It could have been written by Liam Byrne or some faceless anti-British bureaucrat in Brussels.Mark Easton calls the cross-party immigration group ‘extremely radical’ for suggesting the UK population is stabilised at 65 million. What would be ‘extremely radical’ (also criminally and socially irresponsible) is to allow it to mushroom to 79 million. The recent EU report notes that the populations of France and Germany will remain at their present levels. Why can’t France and Germany, with their larger area, take more people? Thu 11 Sep 2008 21:46:43 GMT+1 a_bit_of_crumpet I emigrated to the USA 4 years ago and will certainly never return to the southeast of England. Of course we CAN physically fit more people in (what a daft question), the question is what will happen to our quality of life?Getting from A to B in the UK, even in rural areas, is always fraught because of traffic density.The UK has no natural habitat left. Virtually every square mile is used to provide food or fibre for humans - even our national parks are farmland not natural lands. And yet, we are falling massively short of achieving providing for ourselves, instead, we import more and more from overseas, thereby exporting our environmental degradation.And pray tell, what is the main cause of the exorbitant cost of living in Britain? Overcrowding, of course. The cost of it is in everything we buy, because overcrowding means expensive land and expensive property.I'm not anti-immigration. How can I be? I'm an immigrant elsewhere. I see both side of this debate. People have to live somewhere. But the statistics used in this blog are woefully inadequate to get to grips with the crux of this debate. Naïve, at best. Thu 11 Sep 2008 18:42:23 GMT+1 John1948 There are times when I feel that BBC reporters are failing in their jobs as they give an incomplete picture. Here is an example of an attempt to be as objective as possible. When the data does not agree with someone's perceptions, the BBC is accused of being biased.What I find pathetic is that while there are legitamet reasons to question the data, no better data is presented to support a particular view. Given the comments in some of the postings it must be doubtful that the hinted at evidence is particularly objective. Opinion based on dubious evidence is opinion and not the fact it often dresses itself up to be. Thu 11 Sep 2008 15:40:44 GMT+1 shobyshoby As has been mentioned, the problem is not whether we have physical space for people. We probably have physical space to fit every single person in the world here, if we all stood up.The problem is that we do not have the infrastructure and resources available for increased population. We are struggling as it is. Schools are full, with some classes having up to seventy students in. Prisons are full. The streets where I live are constantly littered with rubbish due to bins only being emptied once a fortnight, although to be fair the local refuse team did come round and do an extra intensive clean on our street last week on the day that the local Labour councillor visited us to say how clean our town is.People are getting more and more stressed. Not only are towns getting much busier, but these days there are things like shops run by people who don't even speak English. Also, there is an increasingly large amount of groups set up that cater specifically for ethnic minorities, but if we want to set up a group that caters for white people then we are told it's racist and not allowed.I feel that the real issue is the fact that the people in charge at the moment are the people from the "I want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" generation. They think everyone is equal, and have totally got this confused with the fact that everyone should have equal opportunities.The whole system that has been forced on us over the last 10 years absolutely reeks of communism. The people who run our country used to belong to the British Communist party. Their ideals haven't changed; they just are doing it now under a different guise.And to top it all, the government won't listen to what we want. They refuse to hold refurendums on extremely important issues, because they don't care what we want. They serve themselves, not their public. Thu 11 Sep 2008 13:40:31 GMT+1 Gordon_must_go And how many illegal immigrants do you think bother to complete census forms then? Missing this somewhat major point I feel! Add the suspected almost 1 million illegals to these figures and graphs and let's see what it shows. As usual, New Labour lies, damned lies and statistics...... Thu 11 Sep 2008 11:31:01 GMT+1 James Gibson-Watt Where I live (Mid Wales) our problem is a lack of population and unhelpful demographic change (an ageing population), producing a slowly increasing total population but falling school rolls and an increasing strain on the health and social services system. Our communities are so small that sustaining services and businesses is getting more and more difficult. Mark Easton is right. This is not about total numbers of people, but whether an increasing population will make us all worse or better off. The crude definition of an overpopulated country is that an increase in population reduces income per capita; in an underpopulated one, increasing population increases income per capita. I think this cross-party group has missed the point and that there are other motivations behind their conculsions. Thu 11 Sep 2008 10:19:26 GMT+1 perrancott Is there an area missing from the ONS chart? I can see Yorks and Humber and the North West but where is the rest of the north, often referred to as the North East or the North? Thu 11 Sep 2008 07:06:26 GMT+1 John1948 The whole issue is very complicated because there are so many factors. Surely the way forward is to look at each of these factors in isolation and then see how they interact. This is a valuable contribution to the debate. The most difficult factor to assess is what people want and what they think might be reasonable to expect to achieve. This will bring out issues of selfishness and generosity, gazing back into a 'glorious and prosperous past' and looking forward to a 'depressing future'. What is needed is for people to be honest and not hide behind 'infrastructure issues' when their inclination is xenophobic. This debate never happens because as soon as it starts there are those who accuse anyone of wanting limits as being racist. The majority in this country are not actively racist nor are they actively poltically correct. They fall in between and hate having to side with either extreme. So the factor which needs to be assessed is what the British Public feel should be achieved. To do this we will have to do what many other countries have done which to admit that we want Britain for the people who already live here - if that is what we want. Thu 11 Sep 2008 06:53:07 GMT+1 concernedforfuture Lets keep it simple. What kind of country do we want to live in. I suggest small population, hi tech, highly educated with good services.Not paved from one end to another with everyone having to compromise on their quality of life in order to accommodate the world. We should be wary and plan for the future in a world of scarce resources and food. Lets do some disaster planning and put our own future quality of life first. Thu 11 Sep 2008 00:20:12 GMT+1 Batman The greenbelt policy and restrictions on rural development have kept our green and pleasant land attractive and inviting to tourists. However we will (if we haven't already) reach a point where these policies will have to be laid aside if the concentrations of population in the cities are not to reach breaking point.Me, I got fed up with paying more and more for a smaller and smaller living space and moved to America. I swapped a 3 bedroom semi for a business, house and 6 acres of land. Maybe the problem is self-regulating, as the pressures build, more people move away or choose not to come to the UK in the first place. Wed 10 Sep 2008 23:20:25 GMT+1 coolchrisg The majority of the contributors such as johntee want to see a cap on migration. They argue that the UK, and the south east of England in particular, is becoming far too crowded and social amenities are becoming overstretched. I agree with this view. The UK could accept many more people but most of us would not wish to make the adjustments necessary. Would we wish to change our lifestyle radically and become more like Japan where living space is so restricted?Some respondents point out that to limit migration will limit economic growth and push up costs. For example will we be willing for council tax to rise even faster than it has done recently to pay EU wages for such as care home workers who are less well motivated than our own nationals? I doubt it. How then can these points of view be reconciled? I think that Frank Field and Chris Soames' cross party committee are thinking on the correct lines. We should learn from other countries. In Dubai and the rest of the UAE an immigrant can only enter if he or she has a job offer or they own property and have enough resources to support themselves financially. If there is no work or resources they have to leave. There is no automatic right to stay. We should adopt similar principles. The reason is that the drawbacks of excessive migration tend to be felt by the poorer sections of our community. These concerns should be heeded by opinion formers to avoid continuing cynicism and frustration at our political leaders.The USA only allows immigration if there is no suitably qualified national worker available or willing to take the job. We in the EU should do the same. We should also remove unemployment benefits to those who are unwilling to work in jobs for which they are qualified. Some US states do this through a workfare system. With suitable training we could ensure that our own population takes the majority of jobs and that less migration is permitted. Wed 10 Sep 2008 21:27:51 GMT+1 John Britain IS overcrowded. Do we have to concrete over everything before our MPs realise? Take away the areas unsuitable for housing (moors etc) and you have very heavy density. Why SHOULD we keep our doors forever open for us to loose our open spaces. Put a cap on it, tomorrow!! Wed 10 Sep 2008 16:34:18 GMT+1 blokeinDurham Regarding the update at the foot of the post:Mark, your implication seems to be that as London has such a high-population density and is "one of the most successful cities in the world" that such a high population density is sustainable generally. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. If the whole country had such the same population density, so you still think that London would thrive?Of course it wouldn't. The larger the concentrations of people you have in large cities, the greater amount of lowly-populated land is required to support that city.London doesn't produce materials, it doesn't produce food; London produces money. It needs to buy supplies of food and goods from elsewhere. The more we turn the UK into one urban conglomeration, one huge London if you like, the more reliant we become on foreign countries for goods and food, a situation which is: a) expensive and b) insecure. Tue 09 Sep 2008 22:01:15 GMT+1 yossarianliveson 40 - tarquin - comment in response to Larson's mum comment 27:Cost is the issue - This country cannot go on having resources drained by having to cater for excessive numbers of immigrants bleeding our health, education and social services dry.--- tarquin wrote in response: might want to check that, without those pesky immigrants we wouldn't have many workers in those sectors - what overburdens the services, health in particular, is our ageing population---Well Tarquin, no it's actually you that might want to check that. This will no doubt be seen as racist by insanely pc liberal bbc lefties regardless of how factual it is. But the fact is many immigrants are a significant drain on health services. UK Asians are a considerable burden due to complications resulting from inbreeding and other issues like rickets and bone density disorders due to lack of exposure to sun due to strict dress codes. In Ascot a maternity ward was shut down due to burden of demand from immigrants in Slough. These are facts Tarquin.I'm shocked at comments criticising those that might like a house and a garden. What an earth is wrong with have some small place outside to have as your own, to relax and have your children enjoy, perhaps grow veg and herbs in. Two weekends ago it took me three hours to get to the coast I live 50 miles from. There are clearly too many people in this country. I would rather the economy suffer than concrete this country over and live like a sardine. Enough is enough, does the BBC see think we a dumb and blind. Anyone can surely see we have no room left. Tue 09 Sep 2008 18:54:45 GMT+1 Dunky_R As Marks graph points out, London does skew the data (what would be to the left i.e. a long tail). Anyway, what this means is that really the perception that London is the place to be needs to be broken. I know a chap who took a lab assistant job in London over a PhD place in St. Andrews because it was London. I have a feeling this is also where part of the problem lies. Yes London is an economic center in terms of the world of finance but encouraging diversification throughout the country may also help. In the age of telecommunications it seems ironic that we are still trying to clump in one place. But if you really aren't happy with the statistics read the series in the Magazine about the problems of reported data. Unfortunately Marks data falls into some of these problems (or should I say challenges as seems to be used to describe a problem) but it is better reported than many. And don't forget not all migrants stay. Many will want to return home (like my parents did after emmigrating to Japan, they came back here). And don't forget Australia has a male emmigration problem, so migration problems work both ways. Tue 09 Sep 2008 14:14:18 GMT+1 CarolineOfBrunswick So its just the part where lots of people live that is crowded? Its a good job that everyone gets on so well in London, that's clearly the only place worth talking about in the UK.PS. You didn't miss anywhere off the bar chart of the nations and regions population density did you? Tue 09 Sep 2008 14:08:06 GMT+1 thegangofone Are some of the key issues not centred more around issues like does population density and quality of life and environmental impact? Are we going to try and pack in as many people as possible and then when at some point or in some area things become unsustainable?If we know human impacts are affecting the ecosystem then human encroachment can only be controlled by sustainable population levels.Also is it not like a train, you don't want to wait until you are just about to hit the buffers at the end of the track before applying the brakes. Tue 09 Sep 2008 13:22:16 GMT+1 Bubblysmileydee And where pray does domjc76 get his/her information! As well as being very personal and rude!Immigrants use more of our health services very often maternity services and then claim benefits for large families when they have never or seldom paid into the sytem!You would be very unhappy if you were denied expensive treatment for cancer whilst a family along the road were claiming benefits for 13 children and the father decided not to work in order to help his wife look after the children!The top and bottom is we no longer have the resources to support health services, social services, housing, homes development. we do not have a sustainable infrastructure to cope with anymore .... transport is causing global warming we are told, we don't have enough nurses or teachers .... it has to end somewhere.You might also take a look at where the recent floods were occurring new houses on former flood plains and we are building there because we need more housing to provide accommodation. Tue 09 Sep 2008 12:07:00 GMT+1 Dunky_R Migration happens and has been going on for longer than it has been recorded. The best way to put pay to migration is to change the image of the UK or London to one that is not desirable to move to. As pointed out we want immigration controls but are happy to move abroad (and would probably moan if we couldn't). I like the fact that people are happy to attack the liberals and the socialists but fail to see that the right leaning policies (which we have dominated our country) don't seem to make us happy either. I also like the fact that the above article has been accused as state funded propaganda yet seems to set a different message from the two news articles that inspired it, one a government policy and the other a MP committee. The maps show large swathes of depopulation and as most of our population growth is through migration there is a good chance that in 10 years the demographics will be quite different. As a country our history also has quite a lot to blame and I'm not just refering to the EU. The real solution is to try and diversify our economy (instead of relying on the financial sector) some how and apply such diversification to the depopulated areas. What industries would succeed I don't know but this would spread the population more. What we really want is the sort of protectionism that exists in France and the US or something so that we can become more self sufficient. Or that's the feeling I get from the previous comments :) Tue 09 Sep 2008 11:20:41 GMT+1 lionHeretic I think a lot of people have written what is a very valid point. It is not the amount of people but the quality of life we have. However, what i find intersting is that there is a need in this country for everyone to want to live in a house. Where as a lot of people in Europe live quite happily in flats. Houses of course take up much more room which is why London covers twice the area of Paris.Living in houses has several draw backs. Because of the additional area needed living in houses means that joe average naturally on average lives further away from work, further away from shops and other places. With a lower population dencity public transport is less effective so ultimatly people who live in houses use cars much more.This leads on to more traffic, more traffic jams which creates stress.Living in Paris has its draw backs but one of the pleasures is getting around. Living in a flat I used to live 2 minutes from a bakery, a small supermarket, 10 minutes walk from the gym and 10 minutes from the metro. Moving about was easy.So really sometimes being more densly populated can have advantages. The other is that if London were half the area then there would be a lot more Green in the south east. Tue 09 Sep 2008 11:06:13 GMT+1 ronniestooge More state funded propaganda. Get a real job please. Tue 09 Sep 2008 10:44:24 GMT+1 my_comments How many is too many? It's a personal preference. I had a friend from Taiwan who found London boring and quiet!The issue not mentioned is resources - not just food but water, electricity and so forth.More people will mean a bigger strain on resources with the result of them getting more and more expensive.Thankfully when the UK population reaches a billion I'll be long dead! Tue 09 Sep 2008 10:43:03 GMT+1 Tim Weakley Interesting piece. But the question you might wish to address another time is this: Britain couldn't feed itself in WW2 when the population was about 48 m. Today, less land is being cultivated, we have lost our manufacturing base, we export no coal, oil and gas are running out, we don't produce a surplus of renewable energy, other countries make the same things better and/or cheaper, and Britain only gets by because London is a world financial centre. When (not if) there's a really catastrophic global trade and financial crisis and the 'confidence' and all the smoke and mirrors disappear, and we can't pay for the food we need to import to give the 65 m of us a minimum basis diet even if we all turn our gardens over to chickens and cabbages - what then? Tue 09 Sep 2008 10:10:50 GMT+1 domjc76 So, some want to place a state control on where we are allowed to live, or even forcibly re-locate individuals and families to less densely populated areas, while others complain about a police state. But any suggestion that it is the people, and not the politicians, who have their heads where the sun don't shine is of course an anaethma.To all those complaiing about London, you must remember two things. First, There are fewer people in London today than in the 1930s, we are not in any sense 'full' in the capital. to those who quote overcrowded trains as a sign that we are, to me it suggests that we merely haven't got a sufficinet infrastructure to deal with transport needs. Crossrail is coming, which will massively increase public transport capacity. But we need sustained investment over many years, such as has been seen in many European cities, to deal with our transport needs. The problem has been that we have had successive Governments who have not really cared enough about the capital to invest to meet its needs (Crossrail took 16 years to get approval, and won't be ready for another 10!).#46: rapidAntonygee: no, i didn't produce the article, i was using 'we' in the collective sense. I tend to recoil when i hear people say 'we all know', because it, like 'common sense' often isn't a shared opinion, more a way of the bloke down the pub justifying his personal prejudice. I live in London and always have done, and have always found it crowded. Certainly it feels as though there are more immigrants here than, say 10 years ago, but equally I know many Brits who have left the UK, ironically becoming immigrants themselves (only somewhere else), so I don't have any facts to suggest what our population is now. However, I do agree that there are more people now than in 2001, as we have a growing population. #33: your sarcasm is mistargeted. No one is suggesting building ove rparks to accommodate more people. The most densely populated parts of London are Kensington, Chlesea and Bayswater, which also happen to be the most desirable (or at least most expensive) areas. The homes and flats there are larger than the new ones we are building in east London, for example. So,we can achieve high density with lovely urban environments, which include gardens and parks. But are we doing this? No, not least because people want to live in a house with a big garden and a lovely vie wof some green. The problem is that each new house is built on someone else's lovely green view. Such is the hypocrisy of the general public. Tue 09 Sep 2008 09:59:03 GMT+1 Robbo ACT As usual, there's lies, damned lies, statistics and Mark Easton's articles. But what is really beyond me is how can the high priests of the leftie liberal multicultist religion (relentlessly espoused by the BBC) reconcile their two fundamental dogmas. One, that we (as in Western white folks) are destroying the planet and need to stop travelling, enjoying holidays, eating meat, taking showers, making children, etc. And two, that there is instead space for cramming another 100 million immigrants into this sceptred isle, better of course if from other races, religions, languages so we can make this place less hideously white, and can celebrate the vibrancy of primary schools speaking 45 languages except English. But then again, religious dogmas (such as the Holy Trinity, or the transubstantiation) are always beyond a rational explanation. Tue 09 Sep 2008 09:51:27 GMT+1 Dunky_R I think some people are skipping over some of the meaning of this map and the importance that migration was to the very formation of the countries of the UK. Though based on the 2001 census it's the changes in maps that are really important and the map which also accounts for spread. Comparing with other countries is always tempting. The points system for non-EU migrants seems sensible and would act like a cap. We don't need drastic population controls in this country as we are near 0 (last time 0.6%) and probably in the next 10years will hit negative. Yes immigration will keep our population higher but might mean many can retire when they actually want to (i.e. all those baby boomers out there!). It's also a bit rich of us to encourage emmigration when so many of us seem against immigration. Best policy obviously would be to stop people leaving and stop people coming in. In 10 years the demographics would start to look so much more promising :) Tue 09 Sep 2008 09:37:31 GMT+1 SoUnfair As others have pointed out Mark has used out of date figures from the 2001 census.For those interested in more up to date figures I suggest you check the web site of the Office for National Statistics (sadly the BBC moderator will not allow me to post the link but it can easily be found) . This shows that since 2001 the net migration to the UK has been more than 1.3 million and as the site puts it: " Net inward migration together with its impact on natural increase, is the main cause of UK population growth now running at some 350,000 a year - adding to the UK a city larger than Cardiff - a capital city - every year."As for needing migrants to do work, we have more than 7.8 million people of working age who are economically inactive (source Office for National statistics) and for those who think we need migrants to pay for the pensions of the elderly, who will pay the pension of the migrants when they themselves get old ?As many people have written the most congestion is in the South East where congestion is now so bad that there is now less water per head in that area than either Egypt or Sudan (source Environment Agency) which has lead to the the government giving planning permission for a water desalination plant in London (source BBC)For those wanting to see more detailed figures and different methods of calculating how crowded the UK is I suggest looking up the web site of the 'optimum population trust'. Tue 09 Sep 2008 09:31:13 GMT+1 chrisfact surely the problem is staring us in the face, congestion just like cars too many in the same place creates danger. If we could only control the number of people living in a given area then everyone could live a calmer more sedate safer life. Im sure most people would agree life is too short and to spend too much of it rushing about standing in ques is not good. Lets cap properties/jobs by areas spread out the wealth and let all enjoy our wonderful country. Tue 09 Sep 2008 08:37:39 GMT+1 Andy Isn't this a bit simplistic? Whether there is "population pressure" for a particular density will be very heavily influenced by factors such as levels of affluence, capacity to read and write, levels of criminality in the population, skills and employability of the population and so on. You can't just compare densities and conclude something about the capacity of land to cope with greater numbers. Tue 09 Sep 2008 07:45:54 GMT+1 Myron Again great article. I wonder with the issue of population density where the countries listed as having a population density greater than the UK come in the international rating on quality of life. I became familar with these comparative ratings that take multiple factors into consideration when in Canada which insidently rates highly. From the list posted one has to exclude small unique states that bear no relation to the UK such a monaco as such social model could never work in the UK for various reasons.These ratings and their criteria are I believe useful in assessing whether greater population density is desirable. Yes indeed in a country such as our own where food production is in surplus with massive reserve potential and with enough rain annually for us to allow a population double out size to drink and shower regularily with ease, we could cope. However what will be the socal effect. Our houses are already considerably smaller than in countries with low population densities. Space is at a premium in areas with high population density such as cities. The result is building up to house people and people thus no longer having outdoor space and being completely seperated from nature. If population increases all our green land in the areas with the highest need will become grey concrete. Yes we will survive, but what kind of existance will it give us.Ultimately I think it is time for us to stop measuring our wealth in monetary terms and instead switch to an approach of looking at quality of life. If immagration leads to greater wealth, and that in turn leads to a net improvement in quality of life for the entire population that is great. If however it leads to a greater GDP and annual income, but additionally leads to smaller homes at a higher price for instance is it necessarily beneficial?Logic would dictate that unless we give up more of our countryside to expand our urban settlements population growth whether it comes in the form of immegration or in birth rate exceeding death rate, will ultimately reduce our quality of life. I would suggest that actually a large part of the problem with large scale rapid immegration is as much about our policy for home building and land developement as it is about social integration and ethnic relations. Tue 09 Sep 2008 01:56:35 GMT+1 Kevfeedback Yes there gaps in the country where not many peoplelive - but it tends to be where there are few jobs. I was finiing more and more that due to skill set I had to live close to city's, and that property prices were prohibitive.The answer? I emigrated to new Zealand two years ago and found a wonderful British/Maori based culture where only 4.25 M people live in a country nearly the same size as the UK.Yes, there are discussions here about the amount of immigrants being allowed into this country as well, but I know which country I would much rather live in.I will soon be moving into the five bedroom house I have had built on two and a half acres inteh middle of nowhere, less than an hour from the centre of the largest city in NZ. I couldn't have done that in the UK Tue 09 Sep 2008 01:01:36 GMT+1 blokeinDurham An alternative way to look at it:With our lifestyles in the UK, we need roughly 5.4 hectares of land to sustain each of us at our current consumption rates. How big is the UK? Roughly 24.4 million hectares. Lets just assume that's all productive land, for a best-case scenario. Divide that by 5.4, and it starts to look scary when you realise we can only *really* support no more than 4.5 million or so people.Even if we had an "average" lifestyle for the whole planet at 2.2 hectares, that's only 11 million people.Quite frightening really, and shows how much our level of population is entirely dependent on leeching in some way or other off the rest of the planet. Tue 09 Sep 2008 00:54:47 GMT+1 rszemeti Interesting list of countries ... the full list of course contains 245 countries, well done mark for listing the 35 more densely populated than ours (mostly small pacific islands from what I can see) .. perhaps you would care to list the 209 less dense ones as well?Basically, we are already in the top20% in terms of population density and 3rd place in Europe after Belgium and Holland.Same statistics as Mark used, just presented in a different way ... Tue 09 Sep 2008 00:53:24 GMT+1 beebjunk Bizarre - I knew what Easton would say before I got past line one. Is he really paid to write this apology for liberal fascism? Mon 08 Sep 2008 23:27:14 GMT+1 Bob Irving One of the problems that we have with population is that we are still using the Census figures on which to base the provision of services. The Census takes place only every ten years and the results take years to collate, by which time they're out of date. So when we get a lot of immigration into an area, systems are still stuck with out of date numbers. As most of the Civil Service spends its time checking up on where we all live, these figure should be used instead. It's time we got some benefit out of the police state we live in! Mon 08 Sep 2008 22:15:31 GMT+1 pennantr If we are all truely interested in the environment and reducing global warming the best way is to reduce the human carbon footprint. This means less people, which means less housing, less cars, less roads, less factories. We should be giving some of our towns and cities back to the wild.We have too many people, too many houses, too many cars. An immigration cap is needed, plus a limit on the number of children per family. Mon 08 Sep 2008 22:03:45 GMT+1 GreenInker The difficulty is allowing so many "local" people to breed. The country would be a muich better place, and so much better off economically, if we ceased subsidies for local production of children and just imported near-adults in their late teens for final training before becoming economically active. Mon 08 Sep 2008 22:00:05 GMT+1 thoagy The most ominous interpretation of these maps is increasing concentration of the population on the South East, with the decreasing populations in the NW and NE and the increases all being in the SE.In 2006 (please excuse the poor data analysis here by using different years, but it was what I could find on Wikipedia!) the population of London was 7.5m with a density of 47.58. If you look at UK without London it reduces the average density to 2.15 which doesn't move it much down the table, although note that Germany has a density of 2.32.The EU average is 1.12, so to match that the UK should have a population of about 27m!Of course without London the country would lose 20% of its GDP which would mean that average GDP per capita would reduce from $38,000 to $34,000 which would have some impact.My numbers might be more meaningful if I could find stats on the general SE of England rather than just London, but my feeling is that there is a need to promote the other areas than London for population growth and hence economic growth rather than the increasing concentration on the South East.PS Come on Murray! Can't concentrate on my analysis whilst listening to his efforts in the US! Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:48:43 GMT+1 D Dortman As usual the issue is in the context.Is Britain "full"?Well considering the entire human population of the world could just fit onto the Isle of Wight with standing room only.... then "no".But if you're considering quality of life, and the state of the country.... then yes.Or more succinctly it depends whether you like being a human baked bean or prefer a bit of space and countryside. Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:44:42 GMT+1 governments lie To some people the UKwill not be full until we are standing shoulder to shoulder. The real question is what sort of society do we want to live in. The biggest difficulty is that although people, as individuals, mix cultures do not as one will always try to dominate and the minorities become resentfull. When you have a mix such as we have in the UK and Europe trouble will occur. A quick look around the world and you can see what happens. Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Hutu/Tutsi, Israel/Palestine, Canada (Quebec), Sunni/ Shiite, Georgia, anywhere in the Balkans, cultures do not mix without trouble eventually occuring. We are crowded enough we do not need to stoke the fires of civil strife. Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:33:33 GMT+1 rapidAnthonygee I take it the the figures used for all the Countries used in this are also from 2001? Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:30:40 GMT+1 rapidAnthonygee Domjc76,"rapidAntonygee: census figures take years to get ready. Of course the author knows what year it is. We're using available evidence. There is no figure for 'over' population as that is a normative judgement."I am aware that the last census took place in 2001, but stating this fact doesn't make this article any more relevent to the population today, as we all know the influx of migrants to this Country has greatly increased within the last 7 years. I take that by stating " We're using available evidence." you are in some way responsible for this piece of reporting.Do you really believe that these figures are anywhere close to population levels of today, and if not what is the point of using them? I my opinion they're as much use as a chocolate teapot. Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:23:33 GMT+1 swl - If you give a mouse a cookie Given that immigrants largely choose to join established communities of their own ethnicities, this means that future immigrants will inevitably choose to move to overcrowded nexuses such as London, the East Midlands and areas of Yorkshire. How is this to be managed? Will future immigrants be forcibly re-located? Will Londoners need a residency permit?The frankly laughable comparisons with other countries is ludicrous. How high do those countries more populous than our own rate on quality of life?If world migration is inevitable with the onset of global warming (debateable), why not try to manage emigration away from densely populated areas and towards areas with a declining population? Russia is suffering a potentially catastrophic decline in birthrates. Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:22:54 GMT+1 bald-in-guelph Of course the whole of Britiain is not equally overcrowded. The real issue is about the impact that overcrowding in certain areas has on the rest of the country; especially when we are talking about such as small geographical area. Cities become difficult to commute around let alone through for example.The sensible point that others have raised about London is totally correct. Immigrants arriving in Britain don't head straight for Stoke or the north of Scotland!The attraction of the major cities is the same the world over. Here is Canada which is the second largest country in the world with a population of 32m (half that of the UK) has 20% of that population living in the greater Toronto area. Last time I was down south in England it struck me as full! Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:15:45 GMT+1 rus316 The question of the debate was "crowded Britain?" The answer - no. Large swathes of the UK are sparsely populated. However, the South East is the most densely populated region is Europe. Where have immigrants historically settled? In a region that is struggling to cope with the necessary infrastructure. No one is disputing the benefits immigrants bring. However, the negatives are amplified by this government's whole attitude. Villified for suggesting a cap on immigrants, ridiculed for stating the infrastructure is at breaking point, and slammed for saying people settle in overcrowded areas. Grow up smearists! We need a new approach, a new government. Mon 08 Sep 2008 21:12:34 GMT+1 Lazarus A couple of years ago, I was dealing with an ongoing issue I had with anti-social behaviour with the policeman who was assigned to the estate that I lived on.However, before the issues could be resolved, he was called away for 5 months, along with a dozen other officers from other local estates, to be part of a specialist task force to deal with an escalating problem of gang warfare between gangs of Somalians and gangs of Kosovans.You can spout statistics at us until you're blue in the face but they will never alter the fact that immigration is a problem. And until the liberal elite eventually accept this fact things will only ever get worse.But I suspect that this will never happen and that all we'll get instead are lots of lovely statistics that tell us how much better immigration has made the UK. And that anyone daring to commit the thought-crime of thinking it might be otherwise is a knuckle-dragging fascist who's opinions don't matter because they are probably "just a tabloid reader" Mon 08 Sep 2008 20:26:02 GMT+1 Tionisla Some shocking statements, both in the blog and comments. One comment pointing out that "only" 12% of the land is developed. That sounds like a massive number to me. There are very, very few places in England that feel at all remote (Scotland is a different case), and in most rural areas you always have the feel that there's a city just out of site. Overpopulation has torn the heart and soul out of the country. Aside from the extremities there's alway someone around the corner. How many roads can you drive along without meeting another vehicle? Sure, it could function with a few million more, it might even be economically beneficial, but it would put far too severe burden on an already heavily damaged environment (I'm not meaning that in the usual green terms, just as in how we live and the area around it). Look to somewhere like France to get a better idea of what population should be like for a country to be a truly pleasant place to live in, and remember, being rich in a dump is worse than being poor somewhere nice. Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:47:33 GMT+1 tarquin 27 - Larsons' mum - It's not how heavily populated various areas are or are not which is the issue.Cost is the issue - This country cannot go on having resources drained by having to cater for excessive numbers of immigrants bleeding our health, education and social services dry.--- might want to check that, without those pesky immigrants we wouldn't have many workers in those sectors - what overburdens the services, health in particular, is our ageing population Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:41:15 GMT+1 RGRAHAMH When will people start using relevant figures? The use of "UK" statistics in debates like this is misleading to say the least. Almost 85% of the UK population lives in England, which comprises only 54% of the UK land area. If you use the figures for England you get a completely different from that obtained from using that obtained through treating the UK as a whole. England is the fourth most densley, (proper), country in the world, (about 950 people per square mile - France is only 280). Debates on population density etc should not be based on irrelevant statistics, and using UK figures when most people are really referring to England is worse than using myths. Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:38:31 GMT+1 Peter Hood There are too many people in the world; in the UK doubly so, at least. Being satisfied with what we see, when all forms of energy (including food) are in short supply is myopic. Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:36:26 GMT+1 John Coyle One solution is to provide more of our own labour. All work related benefits should be time limited. Unemployment pay should be for no more than,say, four months before some work has to be done..real. valuable, everyday work for the common good. The minimum wage can be paid for a further period of this kind of work. Thereafter, you are on your own. The job market would be re-energized. The need for imported labour would hugely diminish and the cost to the benefits system would be transformed. Anyone for REAL decisions? John C. Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:28:13 GMT+1 John Coyle One solution is to provide more of our own labour. All work related benefits should be time limited. Unemployment pay should be for no more than,say, four months before some work has to be done..real. valuable, everyday work for the common good. The minimum wage can be paid for a further period of this kind of work. Thereafter, you are on your own. The job market would be re-energized. The need for imported labour would hugely diminish and the cost to the benefits system would be transformed. Anyone for REAL decisions? Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:27:54 GMT+1 Dunky_R In summary to my last post: The maps show that with population re-distribution and with a change in demography even that sacred shrine of the south east so worshipped by many could be more liveable. Or you could blame the Conservative Government for wrecking Scotland encouraging such migration to London and the South East :)FYI: I grew up in St.Albans so I know at least the problems of the North Orbital Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:24:49 GMT+1 Dunky_R I don't understand the justification of using information in a less scientific (i.e. statistical) manner and saying it is more realistic i.e. #32. I also don't know why people are so concerned by using census data. It is both consistent across the country and officially collected by the same method making it the most suitable data to use. Yes it is out of date only because the census only occurs every ten years. The main principle behind analysing data using statistics is to disentangle what is really happening and to determine if the patterns we see are actually there and not what we want to see. Humans will see patterns and meaning even if none is there. Many analyses cut through this trend of pattern searching. Projections (or extrapolation from current data) are always at risk of error depending on the original model used. Yes most migrants want to go to London but I think that may be a certain type of migrant. Many Poles moved into Scotland. What the maps show is that if we could redevelop and encourage movement into the outer reaches of the UK i.e. population redistribution then that would probably benefit everybody. Unfortunately the conditions for decent niche industries/businesses don't currently exist in the UK. With an ageing population that will see a big shift in demographics in the 10years then it will be migrant workers that will help keep the systems in place that will care for an ageing population. Mon 08 Sep 2008 19:21:56 GMT+1 GoodisonBlues I entirely agree, we have so much excess space! Think how many people we could accomdate in London alone by removing all those annoying parks! I for one hate the idea of all lake district and other areas where people can walk for miles enjoying the countryside when we could put sprawling new concrete jungles over them to be enjoyed by waves of people moving in from overseas.Lets make Britain a sprawling single conurbation and be done with all that pesky countryside! Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:56:33 GMT+1 london888 I'm more concerned about the major UK cities than overall density per square km which seems meaningless.Why don't we show numbers of school admissions or NHS activity? It's less maybe scientific but it would show more realistically how much busier cities are getting year on year.I really don't think the census data is accurate or recent enough. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:52:50 GMT+1 pb2008 Well, also consider that if the UK was split, England would come out at 3.83 on your list, which only puts 3 'large' countries above it on the list.Also, is a chicken farm full unless all the barns are full of battery hens? I don't fancy being a battery hen. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:33:10 GMT+1 software_dave Yes we would cope... we're British! Well maybe not, but you are correct to ask the real question 'would a larger population change our way of life - for better or worse?'.We already know the answer; clearly worse. Wherever you need to access services the fact that some parts of the country are sparsely populated becomes irrelevant. Their services have been rationalised and are now provided via the densely populated areas. From post office closures through council services and on to NHS Hospital 'improvements' we have witnessed centralised decline. It is alleged that this is needed to to deliver services economically. Why? In the case of the NHS and local authorities because their resources don't match the demand. The demand cannot even be established as the borders are like a sieve. The very nature of the country has changed beyond recognition in half-a-lifetime (well I hope!). It's not all bad as we are richer for social diversity but that is scant compensation for lowering the quality-of-life. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:30:26 GMT+1 linksgreen Interesting addition to this debate here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Europe as a whole is projected to have a population decrease of 8.3% by 2050. The UK will be even more top-heavy with elderly people. The simple fact is we need immigration to pay tax to support our benefit system. The government should grasp the nettle and increase the age of retirement for men and women to 68 unless they are prepared to tax those on higher incomes more heavily to pay for pensions. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:24:34 GMT+1 chrismead As a regular visitor to the UK I have been appalled by how crowded London has become in the last few years. It seems there are already too many people there and I shudder at the thought of even more arriving.I welcome the addition of data to the debate but I agree with the other commentators who ask for more recent figures - I think they would tell a far more alarming story. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:24:16 GMT+1 LarsonsMum It's not how heavily populated various areas are or are not which is the issue. Cost is the issue - This country cannot go on having resources drained by having to cater for excessive numbers of immigrants bleeding our health, education and social services dry. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:24:05 GMT+1 ker-chop If migration continues as it is (which i doubt- considering as countries become more developed many will move back.) we could see a growth in many smaller towns- particularly in towns where there is room to expand. We forget that our major cities where not always the large places they where.Lets hope that if these new cities develop then we learn from our mistakes in the past and build effective infrastructure. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:20:58 GMT+1 Hedley Lamarr It may well be that most of the UK would be able to absorb more people but as others have pointed out and I cannot emphasise enough, London is creaking at the seams. The infrastructure in London cannot absorb any more people. Ever tried getting on to the Victoria line at Victoria Station at about 8-9am? Tried getting into Oxford Circus at about 5.30-6pm? Getting on to the Northern Line anywhere from Balham to Clapham North from 8am to 9am? It's virtually impossible, and if you do manage it, deeply unpleasant. I'm sure every Londoner has their tale of woe relating to rush hour public transport in their area.Where do most immmigrants want to go? - London.Sorry, but London is more than full and the infrastructure cannot handle more people wherever they come from. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:16:48 GMT+1 BurntWombat Using stats like a drunk uses a lampost, for support rather than illumination. More correctly considering England rather than the UK as a country and pushing the stats more into the 21st century, one creates the picture of the most densely populated nation in Europe, surpassing the Netherlands. Confine your study to Greater London, this micro-country now enters the top 5 with the other city states. Yet another example of PC influenced mis-representation. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:15:38 GMT+1 BuffOrpington If Britain was to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, it has been estimated that the optimum population level would be about 12,000,000. As long as we are dependent on imports, we will be vulnerable (not to mention creating an unsustainable carbon footprint).We should tightly cap immigration and use the natural decline in the birth rate to slowly reduce our population to a more sustainable level.We should also support and promote ethical policies towards citizens in Third World countries so that they are able to find a decent education and work in their own countries. That would be preferable to just saying 'keep out' to the world's poor. Mon 08 Sep 2008 18:09:09 GMT+1 tarquin Of course there is enough room - physically, and the figures that suggest the population will be 79million by 2050 are wildly overexaggerated - the same stats method that has china drawfing the US and women running faster than men because of current growth trendsHowever there is still an issue - primarily that the population pressure is on London and the South east, if we could pave over vast swathes of land in wales, east anglia or yorkshire we could easily spread it out - but we can'tImmigration provides an economic stimulus, it also prevents our population going into negative growth - the result of a greying 'native' population, but we have a lot of pressure to find housing required - we are already building on flood plains, and there is a high amount of land occupied by singles or couples - lots of houses are semis with gardens, you take a look at those other states listed, many are irrelevant because they are tiny city states more comparable to london than the whole UK but take Hong Kong, if you want to support such a high number of people, especially economically active ones they will need to be accommodated in the right places - and in Hong Kong that is massive skyscrapers - no houses, no gardens except for a few very wealthy people - either we sustain our way of living and limit growth, or we radically alter it to fit an expanding population Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:57:42 GMT+1 MikeWorcs To #13 :Since I assume that you do not personally know any of the posters that you are referring to, your accusation of racism is quite offensive. Is it your opinion that any person showing concern shown over the environment (i.e. building homes in green spaces, despite lack of infrastructure) is in fact a racist? How cynical and short-sighted... Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:47:38 GMT+1 domjc76 llanmaes wrote that: 'if the density of London was included on your chart where do you suppose it would figure with an average 4,700 people living in each square kilometre according to figures from 2003 ? The UK is a heavily populated country, it is more than twice as densely populated as France (106 people per'Speaking of UK-French comparisons, does Llanmaes know that Paris is twice as densely populated as London? And yet achieves, generally, a much more pleasant urban environment (and it pains me to say that as a Londoner who loves his city!). This suggests that it is not numbers that matter, but management of the infrastructure. Mikeworcs asks whether our infrastructure can support more people. The answer is yes, if it ismanaged well. Remember, more people means a bigger market and more taxes. Milton Keynes is an entirely new settlement and has a high quality of life. It can be done.electroriverside: it was poland and 7 others, not 9. And many of the immigrants from those countries are young people who places little strain on our public services, do jobs we are too lazy to do ourselves and go home when they have earned some money. Do you have a problem with that?rapidAntonygee: census figures take years to get ready. Of course the author knows what year it is. We're using available evidence. There is no figure for 'over' population as that is a normative judgement.Bubblysmileydee: what a misnomer you have! Your post was neither bubbly nor smiley, more ill-informed and unpleasant. Migration, like it or not, is reducing the cost of looking after the ill and elderly as migrants tend to pay more taxes and use fewer social services than the rest of us. Sorry to ruin your prejudice with facts. The cost to us is an increasingly ELDERLY population, not an increasing one. More healthy young workers coming here actually makes you better off, like it or not. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:41:13 GMT+1 Dunky_R I love these migration debates as they have been going on since Bede wrote the Ecclesiastical History. The interesting point is to link this into a think tanks report on rejuvenation and developing more housing. We have always worried about migration but as a nation have been built by it. Also the future potential for migration to fill the gaps and support our ageing population is being overlooked. Our demographic will change rapidly in 10years and though there will be some natural growth there is potential for our population to decrease. All the population maps do is show that we need new economic niches to be developed in the North West of England, Scotland and the North East of England. However this article and the report highlights why the news and national papers are so London centric. The points migration system as they have in Canada and Australia is probably the best control. It is quite hypocritical of us to want to strictly regulate our immigration when we are encouraged to emmigrate i.e. with TV programmes. If everybody had very strict immigration policies then this would have a negative impact on all economies. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:38:54 GMT+1 MikeIsGrumpy After subtracting the extensive upland areas of the United Kingdom* the population density comes out higher than Belgium and the Nerthlands.I suspect the new towns built in Princetown, Applecross and Trawsfynydd will have problems with chronic unemployment until either sheep or wind farming become labour-intensive industries.*The Highlands, Southern uplands, the Welsh hills, Cumbria, Pennines, Yorkshire Moors, Dartmoor, Exemoor etc. etc. compared perhaps perhaps what? Valkenburg? Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:37:04 GMT+1 ryantrenchard I like the usage of UK statistics. How about England statistics - then we don't mislead about the density of population the majority of UK citizens live in (namely, those residing in England). Counting the mountains of Wales and the Highlands of Scotland is grossly misleading. Using England alone we would be approaching on par with the Netherlands. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:35:43 GMT+1 stwl Looking to the long term, a relevant question might be "How many people can live in the UK if we want to be self-sufficient?" For example, at the moment we can import food from all over the world. If that were to become politically or environmentally impossible - or if the financial hub of our economy were to fail us - would we be able to sustain a population of 80m? I'm guessing that we could, but there must be a ceiling figure here that might be worth thinking about. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:35:23 GMT+1 ReubenH Why is there the unchallanged assumption that Britain's not being "full" somehow obliges us to see it filled to capacity? I quite like open spaces, thanks!Anyway, we can argue about population densities all you like, but none of that really matters: On the subject of immigration, the overwhelming majority opinion is consistently "No more". It's about time the people's choice on this topic got some respect. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:22:42 GMT+1 LBruceTaylor Only Holland out of all the countires with high population density mentioned is a western european country. The article also compares the overall UK density with that of the city of Barcelona which is grossly misleading. Both comparisons are therefore invalid.The question should not be "can we physically fit more people into the country?" but rather "is it desirable" and "will it improve our and our childrens quality of life" Citizens quality of life must always come before economic considerations of immigration.I cannot see how quality of life can be improved by placing more strain on our education, health, social, energy generation and transportation systems, and the countryside and wild places that remain. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:13:08 GMT+1 agentmancuso Good article. And I enjoy deciphering the comically convoluted attempts by certain posters to disguise racism as concern for the environment. Hugely inventive. Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:12:41 GMT+1 terraamarita To compare different countries in terms of population density without taking other factors into consideration is pretty pointless. While, for example, Japan is a more densely populated country than the UK, it is also a more equal and homogenous society, with far greater security of employment, low crime, etc.Similarly, Monaco is a country whose residents, predominantly wealthy tax exiles, are generally free from the usual existential worries of a stressed out Brit.The question is: has such large immigration as seen in the last five years improved the quality of life of an average citizen in areas which have attracted the most immigrants? Mon 08 Sep 2008 17:00:22 GMT+1 lionHeretic Llanmaes wrote:density of London was included on your chart where do you suppose it would figure with an average 4,700 people living in each square kilometre according to figures from 2003 ? The UK is a heavily populated country, it is more than twice as densely populated as France (106 people per, nine times as densely populated as the USA (27 people per and 100 times as densely populated as Australia (2 people per And as for places like Hong Kong or ChThe problem with your figures is that 90% of Australia is inhospitable. A large part of the USA is as well. Lots of nations have similar problems to our own. Others like Italy have a better spread of population.A lot of our problems (demograpically speaking) come from the 6 or so millions scots moving south simply because nothing was done to help their economy when it was rusting away. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:59:05 GMT+1 rapidAnthonygee A totally worthless piece of journalism, as per usual on this subject, 1991 to 2001?Does anyone realise we live in the year 2008? what is the figure for over population at the present time? Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:59:03 GMT+1 Wibblebum I notice very few developed countries are in your list, and I notice you fail to mention any of the countries below us on the list - such as the USA, France, Australia, etc etc. So your list doesn't give me ANY idea of where we are internationally, and deliberately skews your argument towards us being able to cope with a higher population. Also comparisons of the UK with a small island, and a crowded city are completely meaningless!Considering the UK is struggling to provide services for its existing population, and there seems to be an increasing unwillingness to increase service provision in line with population growth, then its clear the UK simply cannot cope with a higher population, as the investment simply doesn't follow.So I chuckle at Wyburn-powell suggesting there is plentry of room at the inn. Physically yes I'm sure there is, I'm sure we could build houses on every spare green space and house a population of a billion, but do we want to? Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:54:03 GMT+1 Bubblysmileydee Densely populated or not we are currently building homes on lands previously known as "flood plains" and at regular intervals suffer the effect of flooding. We cannot sustain the current levels of increasing population. We no longer have the financial resources to support health care, care of the elderly, and the benefits claimed by all and sundry especially when "others" seem to be able to enjoy all of the benefits so many Nationals have previously paid for. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:50:36 GMT+1 electroriverside You're comparing 2001 with 1991. We are two thirds of the way through 2008 and I believe Poland and another 9 countries joined the EU in 2004. As a comment on immigration you might as well have compared the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:47:59 GMT+1 MikeWorcs The real issue is whether the infrastructure of the UK can handle an increased population - not whether there is sufficient space for an increased population. There will always be room to create new towns and cities, along with the necessary infrastructure. Existing towns and cities, however, especially in the South East, obviously cannot support much more population (remember water shortages and hose-pipe bans, very low reservoirs etc.).That said, would you advocate filling in vast tracts of our green space with cities to house millions of migrants? Doing so would drastically reduce areas for food production (resources), and increase demand for other resources (water, electricity, gas, food, road networks, rail links). I'll say nothing about the effect of building on flood plains, or concreting vital water run-off areas... Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:47:41 GMT+1 domjc76 Thanks for injecting some facts into this emotionally charged housing debate. Here are some more: only 12% of the UK's land is developed. We could satisfy all the pent-up housing demand (caused mainly by us living longer and households getting smaller, and only partially by immigration), and the govt's plans for more housing, by building on just 1% more of that land. We have the room. It just seems that we don't becuase we live in, usually, busy towns and cities and drive on busy roads (or take busy trains)past busy industrial parks and suburbs along those roads to other busy places, so the UK appears 'full'. Once you leave those roads and railways, you see how much land there is, even brownfield land (some 1 million homes could fit on brownfield sites alone). Oh, and if you think that the reason our roads are full is because there are too many people, you are correct in only the most facile way. In reality, we just have had terrible management of our transport system for decades. that is the fault of our governments, not anyone else (except maybe us for not holding them to account). Here is another fact: in 1965 planners thought we would reach 75m people by 2000. Now, in 2008, they think we will reach 79m in 2050. Don't believe what you hear - predicting popn numbers 42 years away is an inherently risky activity. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:45:27 GMT+1 Tastytoggle Rubbish. Don't be so blinkered. How many councils does the government say have declining populations when the quantity of refuse being created and clamour for school places tells a completely opposite story? I travel to NE Scotland from the West Midlands and over the last decade the number of houses I've seen built along the route has been enormous. Moreover, whereas other populations may be able to suffer density and all get along, we can't. British society is unruly and aggressive and all the weight of the law will never change our national character. The more dense and diverse we become, the greater the potential for conflict and upset. Migration has not been managed effeciently and even doing so now will not undo the difficulties that we've stocked up for the future. There's a problem looming for future generations. It's right that we should try to reduce it now. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:44:41 GMT+1 Ian Newton Hardly any of the countries which you point out are more densely populated than ours are comparable (the Holy See for heaven's sake!) and of those that are - such as the Netherlands - immigration is also a very contentious topic, or overpopulation a serious problem (eg India). Obviously the UK could accommodate more people - you could simply pave the entire island over and have done with it but that's hardly the point. As you say the question is would it change things for better or for worse. I would have thought the answer to that is very obviously "worse". Witness the massive number of people now choosing to emigrate. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:39:56 GMT+1 Llanmaes This is all well and good but our population densities are centred around cities and especially London. No one would suggest that Kilmarnock or Rhyll are particularly overcrowded but all the immigrants head for major cities especially London and stay there. If the pop. density of London was included on your chart where do you suppose it would figure with an average 4,700 people living in each square kilometre according to figures from 2003 ? The UK is a heavily populated country, it is more than twice as densely populated as France (106 people per, nine times as densely populated as the USA (27 people per and 100 times as densely populated as Australia (2 people per And as for places like Hong Kong or China they are heavily populated with chinese people not foreigners. Mon 08 Sep 2008 16:33:51 GMT+1 wyburn-powell At last! Some real evidence to add to the debate about whether Britain is full or not. It clearly is not. What is the real motivation of those who claim it is full? I regularly travel around central England and frequently notice that you can see for miles in every direction and hardly see another person or a house. Mon 08 Sep 2008 15:57:09 GMT+1