More UK births than any year since 1972, says ONS


One and a half born every minute: Mark Easton reports on the baby boom

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More babies were born in the UK in 2011-12 than any year since 1972, the Office for National Statistics says.

In all, 813,200 UK births were recorded in the year, said the ONS, contributing to population growth that was, in absolute terms, the highest in the EU.

UK population grew by 419,900 to 63.7 million between between June 2011 and June 2012, according to ONS estimates.

There were 254,400 more births than deaths and 165,600 more people coming to the UK than leaving.

There were 517,800 migrants from overseas while 352,100 people left the country.

The UK remains the third-most populous EU member state, behind Germany and France.

France's population grew by 319,100 to 65,480,500 over the same period while Germany's went up by 166,200 to 80,399,300, says the ONS.

Midwife 'shortage'

The mid-2012 populations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are now estimated to have been 53.5 million, 5.3 million, 3.1 million, and 1.8 million respectively.

These are the first estimates of population change to be released since the 2011 census. Births and deaths are major drivers in these figures, but migration accounts for about a third of the growth.

There has been a lot of political debate about whether our immigration figures are good enough, but we're pretty good at counting births and dead bodies, and we saw the largest number of births in one year since 1972. We are in the midst of a real baby boom.

And people are living longer. We have 26% more men now aged over 75 in the UK than we had in 2001. There are huge questions about who are going to be the breadwinners to provide the economic growth to look after the elderly.

A full quarter of all that increase in the population happened in London. Think of the impact that is going to have on resources: on schools, and on housing.

London's population has surged by 104,000, with high birth and immigration rates.

Together London, south-east and east England accounted for 53% of growth across the UK in the year while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland jointly accounted for 8%.

More than 51,000 people moved out of London, largely to the South East and East of England, the ONS data shows.

London recorded net international migration of 69,000 - the highest of all regions. Northern Ireland had the lowest net migration growth of about 400, the ONS said.

The capital also recorded 86,000 more births than deaths in the past year, while Scotland notched up 4,200 more births than deaths.

Alp Mehmet, of campaign group Migration Watch, claimed that immigration was "the main driver of population growth in the UK".

Mr Mehmet highlighted earlier ONS data which showed babies born to foreign born mothers "now account for over a quarter of the total while births to UK born mothers are remaining static".

"These figures have a significant bearing on future needs like school places and housing as well as services," he said.

"This is why the government has to stay the course in its efforts to bring immigration under control."

But some economists argue that there are advantages in having more children.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said: "The medium to long-term benefits are substantial.

"The people who are being born now or the immigrants who are coming here now will help pay for our pensions and public services in the future."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Net migration is now at its lowest level for a decade showing we are continuing to bring immigration back under control.

"We will continue to work hard to bring net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament."

The EU's largest population increases

Country Mid-2011 (millions) Mid-2012 (millions) Increase % change

Note: Some totals may not add up due to rounding. Source: ONS

United Kingdom













































Czech Republic





Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick said the high number of births was putting "considerable pressures on maternity services and we are struggling to provide high quality antenatal and postnatal care".

She said: "England remains around 5,000 midwives short of the number required to provide mothers and babies with the high-quality service they need and deserve.

"Maternity care is the earliest health intervention of all and getting care right for mothers and babies is a vital part of supporting families and building a foundation for good health in later life."

In January, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said there had been a "historical shortage" of midwives but he added: "The number of midwives is increasing faster than the birth rate."

There were 581,800 more children aged six and under in the UK in mid-2012 than in mid-2001.

But because of lower birth numbers around the turn of the millennium, the number of seven to 16-year-olds is 453,300 less than mid-2001.

At the other end of the population tree, the number of men aged 75 and over has increased by 26%, since mid-2001 compared with a 6% increase for women.

The ONS put this down to positive changes in male smoking habits and advances in health treatments for circulatory illnesses.

Male occupations over the same period have also become less physical and safer, it said.

Separately, the ONS has also released data showing that four million homes in the UK are still not connected to the internet.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 670.

    "Ain't he cute?
    No, he ain't,
    He's just another burden on the welfare state..."

    The Specials, in the '80s."

    Blast from the past and great you have mentioned the specials and the ska movement who were vehemently anti-racist. The specials were formed specifically out of a shared belief to fight racism and promote intergration.

    That's *why* I chose that quote! :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 669.

    @596 'Resonator '

    Your comment about a "white ghetto" strikes me as intolerant and discriminatory regardless of the fact whether you are white or not. Please keep such offensive stereo typing to other threads as this one is for fair and balanced comment without intolerant undertones.
    The phrase "white ghetto" is deeply offensive and must have missed by the moderators.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    Perhaps the Dept. of Immigration should be taken on a tour or perhaps make it mandatory for them to have a "1 week course" outside of White Hall. Stop immigration, encourage people to right the wrongs in their own country because creating their mess in our world is no longer allowed.

    Recently read that in 30 years the population could very well be 9.2 billion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    Just now
    We must, as a matter of transparency, have the ethic breakdown of these births. This rate of growth is unsustainable, not just births but also net immigration

    The Daily Mail have just printed them:
    1% White British
    97% Asian
    158% Polish
    121% Other EU
    71% Bongobongo Land

  • Comment number 666.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    You can't eat forever. Eventually you'll need to have a poo.

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.

    Those two little babies in the photo look adorable!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    I hope the people who have immediately used the subject of birth rates to complain about immigration don't have any more than one child themselves. If you think we're overpopulated and you're not part of the solution...

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    I was born in 1956 when the world population was 2.8bn. Since then the world population has grown to over 7 billion. What we have not seen in that time is a commensurate growth in the standard of living, education, health and democracy. We need an honest and open debate about population, why it is growing so fast, what are consequences, both here in the UK and world-wide. It is unsustainable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    100. Tarquin

    Yes, it is statistically a fact. Birth rates in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are three times that compared to other ethnic groups in the UK. This is not a racist comment or anything of that nature...this is the truth of the matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    So, does that mean the pension age should be lowed again in 21 years time? thought not!

  • rate this

    Comment number 659.

    I'm becoming disillusioned with the way we are veering away from being caring and inclusive to being so divided.
    Everyone needs to take a deep breath, check the facts. Decide their core values and take a long hard look at the human beings around you.
    Please could someone who has access to the figures let the the Immigrant trolls know what the figures are by ethnicity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    So let me get this right...

    A. Have all the jobs
    B. Claim all the benefits
    C.Have all the children

    They're a busy bunch aren't they!

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.

    Whatever policies are implemented, to encourage or discourage, they need to be regionally-variable and encourage people away from the hot-spots.
    That'll never happen until UK Government what ever persuasion stop putting all the resources into the SE and London and ignoring the rest of the UK. You can understand why Scotland and Wales to a lesser extent want more devolved powers.Its all about SE

  • rate this

    Comment number 656.

    1 Minute ago
    Q: Why can't they put all the the worlds' rubbish into a dustbin ?

    A: Because they can't build one big enough so England will do instead !


    Never ceases to amaze me how many so-called patriots truly hate this country. The Daily Mail must be very proud of itself.

    If your'e that miserable here, remember. other countries are available.

  • rate this

    Comment number 655.

    We must, as a matter of transparency, have the ethic breakdown of these births. This rate of growth is unsustainable, not just births but also net immigration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 654.

    I can't wait for society to start crumbling. It is at this point I will take enormous pleasure pointing out the liberals the error of their ways. After which I will steal their bag of potatoes’, and any fuel they have stored away.

    Survival of the fittest; it might not be that far away...

  • rate this

    Comment number 653.

    I think unfortunately a lot of teenagers/young adults (16-22) have grown up having not been supported through school and never being told they can make it as anything besides a parent. What do people expect when the few adults in their lives who they can aspire to are their parents: living in a council house, double the age they are now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 652.

    When the Queen was born there were fewer than 2bn people in the world, yet her great-grandson is born on a planet with over 7bn. Kind of puts the issue into perspective. It's time that the governments took action - there's no time left for overpopulation to continue being a taboo subject.

  • rate this

    Comment number 651.

    Something tells me that this comments thread is being squatted by and passed around UKIP/EDL members.


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