UK population to rise by 6.1 million due to immigration by 2036
The UK's population is expected to grow by 6.1 million by mid-2036, largely due to immigration, according to projections by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This forecast adds pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to address immigration ahead of the upcoming election. As of mid-2021, the UK's population stood at 67 million and is projected to rise to 73.7 million by mid-2036, with migration being the primary driver.
The ONS report indicates that, over this 15-year period, the UK will see 541,000 more births than deaths, with net international migration contributing to 6.1 million people. Record annual net migration to the UK reached 745,000 in 2022, with significant numbers arriving from countries like India, Nigeria, and China, rather than the European Union.
The ONS's latest projections, published on Tuesday, assume an annual net migration of 315,000 people from mid-2028 onwards. Sunak faces mounting pressure to reduce the high levels of legal migration, a longstanding issue in British politics and a key factor in the election expected later this year. In response, his government recently introduced stricter visa policies, including increased salary thresholds and family member restrictions, measures that have drawn criticism from businesses and trade unions.
The ONS also forecasts that the UK population will reach 70 million by mid-2026.