More UK births than any year since 1972, says ONS


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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 690.

    To be honest it would be a lot harder to throw out the race card if you lot weren't so... racist.

    531.We have to stop the left
    "Lefties throwing the race card out like confetti when someone calls immigration into the argument should be ashamed"

    "...on average muslims only have 1 and half children more then us normal people =)"

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    The photograph is racist and should have represented ethic diversity

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    @649. Poland's economy grew between 2008 & 2012. All their 20-30 year old must have moved in 2013 because it's only this year that their economy has negative growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    Dopey Dave's pledged £500M to prop up the NHS...
    It's not enough Davey Boy, you'll have to sell Buck House too.
    Or turn it into a Maternity Hospital?

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    We all know who's having all these babies but no one dares to say it, but I won't stay silent any more.....

    It's Women.

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    Re@ Amos 2000

    Poor attempt at a 'racist' dig at UKIP. UKIP support controlled immigration where there is a benefit to this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    Don"t forget the two million illegal immigrants that will be breeding which have been left of the figures.The only people breeding in large numbers are the benefit Brits and the low skilled immigrants,i really fear for the future of Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    639 Bipson101
    "An increase in the birth rate is a good thing long term since once these people start working, they will help pay for the pensions of the vast numbers of old folk in this country"
    Wouldn't it make more sense to get the 2.5 m unemployed in work, keep unemployment low, get tax for pensions reduce the welfare bill.

    I think you may be right, Got my Ray mears book!

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    "I think this is ludicrous, people complaning here are mostly indegenous Brits. We as immigrants we cant complan because if this was curtailed in some way, I wouldnt be here."
    You can complain all you like, feel free. It's further immigration that most of us seem to be concerned about. Don't think anyone here wants to throw people out (except illegals). Well *I* don't anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.

    Just think, after the Scots have left and after UK has left the EU, all 'foreigners' can be repatriated and Little England can be a happy place again. No-one to 'take your jobs', 'take your houses', or 'take your welfare'. No-one to do the jobs you won't, teach your kids, drive your buses, work in the fields ... you'll all have to work for a living. Bring on immigration, I hear you all cry ..

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.


    "Birth rates in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are three times that compared to other ethnic groups .. This is not a racist comment or anything of that nature."

    So what is your point other than making a barely disguised racist comment?

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    Which is why rather than having oppressive population control programs there should instead be a push to increase prosperity and womens rights in these countries so people have the chance to do other things with their lives and women aren't just breeding machines, but actually have the opportunity of an education and a career.

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    “We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.”

    Arnold Toynbee – economic historian 1852 – 1883

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    A prerequisite to the next human conflict over land, resources, food and water... watch this space.

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    The reason why British people haven't had many children since the boomers is quite simple. The previous Tory gov decided to give away council houses at below market rate and not build anymore thus forcing the kids to become duel income earners to afford a home. Women became more independent as a result having kids later in life, then Labour allowed those with unearned wealth to gazup the kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    @631. Steamgo -
    your wrong on two counts; 1 - the Netherlands & Belgium have higher population density

    2 - Germany does have a low birth rate, yes. But this is causing a huge problem for the country since they can no longer afford to pay out the generous pensions to the old folk. Much larger crisis than the one in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.

    I am sorry but I believe that the BBC have made this story up.

    If somebody I don't know had a baby it would have been all over the news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.

    Could be that sex is the only fun we can still afford?

  • rate this

    Comment number 672.

    654. Global Yawning
    "Survival of the fittest"
    If only you had understood what that phrase means. In evolutionary terms, only leaving more descendants than your rivals counts - nothing else.

    Laughing at MPVs in Glasgow as "papal carriers" was funny at the time though, wasn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    ONS figs state 26% of births to mothers not born in UK. BBC article Dec 2012 states overall population born outside UK is 13%. Therefore birth rate of mothers not born in UK approx 50% higher than mothers born in UK.


Page 48 of 82


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.