Population growth slows as EU migration falls

The population of the UK is growing at its slowest rate in 14 years. That is according to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The decline is said to be as a result of fewer migrants arriving from the EU in the wake of Brexit.

The ONS’s data shows that mid-2017 saw the UK’s population hit the 66 million mark. This was the first time that figure had been reached, but the numbers also show that the population was growing at a rate of 0.6 per cent; the lowest since the middle of 2004.

The report underlined the fact that the “largest single driver of the lower level of population growth” was the fall in immigration to the UK. It went on to say that although the number of people who came to the UK to start a job they had already been offered remained stable, the number that arrived looking for work fell by 43 per cent. It said that this was applicable, in particular, to citizens from EU countries.

The total number of international migrants coming to the UK fell by 12 per cent between 2016 and 2017, with the number of EU citizens reduced by 82,000, from 189,000 to 107,000.

The report stated: “The EU referendum is likely to be one of the key drivers of these changes.”

The head of population estimates at the Office for National Statistics, Neil Park, said: “This is the lowest annual population growth since 2004 due to a fall in net migration, fewer births and more deaths than previously seen.

“The effect is most pronounced in London and other areas that have seen high levels of immigration in recent years.”

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