UK immigration, through both UK visas and EU migration, has helped to increase the British population which is now growing twice as fast as other countries in Europe, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The official figures showed the UK population is now over 64 million and that the country has overtaken France – when France’s overseas territories are excluded - to be the continent’s second most populous nation after Germany.
There has been a recent sharp rise in births but the majority of the growth – around 60 per cent – is due to UK immigration. Around a quarter of the children born in the UK in 2013 had foreign mothers.
In all, the population rate increased by more than 400,000 in the 12 months to the middle of last year – the same number as a city the size of Bristol. The total UK population has grown by five million since 2001, with London the most popular destination for migrants.
The population growth due to immigration has increased fivefold since the turn of the century as the preceding period, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The ONS said: “Since 2001 there have been high levels of net inward migration, adding to the population at younger working ages.
“In part this was driven by the expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007. This period has also seen an increasing number of births, driven by both the immigration of women of childbearing age and rising fertility among UK-born women.”
The British population is now growing at a rate of 0.7 per cent a year compared to the EU average of 0.34 per cent.