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 710.


    The photograph is racist and should have represented ethic diversity
    That's what the one on the right's saying to the one on the left, who's thinking "Oh no! A politically correct brother. I've got to put up with him for the next 18 years!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 709.

    Hong Kong is an Island and can cope with high population why can't uk??

    Btw wasn't it the white British folk that re-populated places like Australia

  • rate this

    Comment number 708.

    Lets just keep on reproducing eh, lets face it ecomomic growth is so much moreimportant than the planet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 707.

    For all the PC obsessed; instead of spewing out the usual 'racist DM reader' accusations can you please, for once, give me good reason why I should rejoice at mass, uncontrolled immigration into a small, over-burdened country? Thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 706.

    Glad i live in south west of england ie dorset (despite BBC placing it incorrectly in the south) which is as yet not overrun by immigration

    Despite the places i have to work in london as a freelancer which are overrun.

  • rate this

    Comment number 705.

    I think the reporters and posters here are largely ignoring the elephant in the room.

    We have a population that is already unsustainable and increasing at an alarming rate. There'll be more pressure on food resources (we already import 40% of our food with very little room to produce any more), energy resources, land, increased mental health issues associated with overcrowding, etc. Not good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 704.

    ''671. greyareas
    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.''

    Eh?? - that makes not sense at all. both figures that you quoted refer to the same demographic, so how do you come to that conclusion?

  • rate this

    Comment number 703.

    511. Billy "It's the quality of the population that matters not the size".

    Its also the size of the population! Local infrastructure may not be able to cope with millions, even if they are all high quality immigrants! Carefully managed migration is essential to preserving public unease. Many births in London are to overseas parents, its sometimes the way to circumvent the system!

  • Comment number 702.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 701.

    692. mondaymother

    All that proves then is that 6.8% is a very high amount of urban land, and that's the UK, which will include large amounts wild land in Scotland. The figure will be higher for most of England, and most of England, even the rural parts, feels like you're near to a town. The pleasant, quiet corners that were once most of it are few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 700.

    Oh what joy! Will the last person standing please switch out the lights before we all fall into the sea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 699.

    @680 'koolkarmauk'. He seems to stating a statistical fact. One which may well be true; I wouldn't know. However, seems something of a leap in logic to then denounce his comment as racist.

    It would seem that you have little understanding the word 'racist' if you are alleging that he is being so by referring to birth rates in those communities.

    Please consider your point before making allegations

  • rate this

    Comment number 698.

    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"

    What happens when the greater number of people working to pay for the pensions of the vast numbers of pensioners get to retirement age themselves?

    You know what a Ponzi scehme is?

  • rate this

    Comment number 697.

    The fifth columnists certainly know how to breed ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 696.


    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!


    British Living overseas AKA Immigrants;-

    In the EU; buy up housing force out local kids by pushing up prices, set up super clubs, flood places with drugs, scream shout, get drunk act like Idiots get into fights etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    My last comment 182 with its facetious overtones may of not been understood by everybody, lets make it a bit simpler. In NO other story about babies would of you seen the BBC showing TWO Caucasion babies . In three generations we with any sense of mathematics knows what the BBC will be starting their morning programmes with. Its as sure as night follows day and these figures prove it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 694.

    43.If Only_
    2 Hours ago
    How long as a white anglo saxon will it be before i'm an ethnic minority in this country?

    Thousands of years I would have thought as the immigrant population of the UK is approximately 7% of the total. But hey! Why let facts get in the way of ignorant bigotry?

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.

    With a creaking, overburdened infrastructure, a housing shortage, mass unemployment, congestion, worries about future food, water and energy supplies and, literally hundreds of other problems caused directly or indirectly by overpopulation the last hing we need is a baby boom. Anyone for a helping of Soylent Green?

  • rate this

    Comment number 692.

    so much talk about how immigration is crushing our economy or how we have not enough space! this is so misinformed and such a historical space goat for a nations problems. its really pathetic.
    here is the 2011 census for those of you who have such strong opinions with almost no concrete grounding:

    6.8% of the uk is urban.

  • rate this

    Comment number 691.

    The explosion in new births is no doubt a result of the settling european migrants. With their catholic principles of birth control, I forcast that the whole country will be covered in grotesque housing developments in 20 years time.


Page 47 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.