Britain’s population growing at lowest rate for 14 years

Population growth in Britain is at its lowest level for 14 years, a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Wednesday.

The official statistics agency said the population of Britain in mid-2018 was estimated to be 66.436 million.

The population grew by 0.6 percent between mid-2017 and mid-2018, the same growth rate as in the previous year, though it was slower than in any year since mid-2004.

In the year to mid-2018, there were fewer births, 2 percent less than the previous 12 months, while over the same period there were 3 percent more deaths than in the last year. It meant the natural change in population was at its lowest since 2004.

Net international migration in the year to mid-2018 was 275,000, which was 6,000 higher than the average for the past five years and 45,000 higher than last year.

For the fifth year in a row net international migration was a bigger driver of population change than births and deaths, said Neil Park, head of the Population Estimates Unit at ONS.

Bucking the trend in the 12 months to mid-2018 were four local authorities, all of them in Central London, with the fastest-growing population.

ONS said the relatively high level of population growth in the City of London, Westminster, Camden and Tower Hamlets was partly a reflection of the increase in net international migration.

The figures also show population growth is highest in England than in any other part of Britain.

ONS said population in Britain has been growing at a rate five times that of the rest of the European Union. In 2017 it formed an eighth of the whole population of the EU, representing 12.9 percent of the bloc’s total population.