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80% of rise in Britain's population over 15 years was because of migration, analysis finds

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 23/08/2018 Steven Swinford

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May © AP Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May

More than 80 per cent of the rise in Britain's population between 2001 and 2016 was because of migration, a new analysis has found. 

Migration Watch UK said that 3.1million migrants had come to the UK over that period and 2.5million children had at least one parent who was born abroad.

When adjusted for migrants who had died, the figures suggest that 5.4million of the 6.6million increase in the UK's population over that period.

The campaign group said that the paper "shines a light on the elephant in the room" Migration Watch used data on births to foreign-born parents and estimates of deaths of children of migrants to calculate the "indirect contribution" of immigration to population change.

Over the period covered by the report, estimates of the number of people living in the UK went up from 59.1 million to 65.7 million.

Lord Green of Deddington, the chairman of Migration Watch UK, said the Government has been "remarkably coy" about "the true impact" of immigration on public services.

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He said: "This has meant that very few people realise that over 80% of our population increase in recent years has been due to immigration."

The latest Office for National Statistics population estimates said 41% of a 392,000 year-on-year rise from 2016 to 2017 occurred from natural change.

Fifty-nine per cent was ascribed to net international migration. The ONS population report noted that current and past international migration also has "indirect effects" on the size of the population as it changes the numbers of births and deaths in the UK.

But a child born and living in the UK is not counted as a migrant under the internationally-recognised definition used by the ONS.

Migration Watch noted that its calculations will include a "relatively small" number of people of British origin whose parents were living overseas when they were born.

It also said grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants have not been included in the analysis. The latest estimates of net migration to the UK will be published on Thursday.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are committed to bringing net migration down to sustainable levels. "There is no consent in Britain for uncontrolled immigration.

"After we leave the EU we will end free movement and put in place a system which works in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

"We are considering a range of options that will ensure that we are in control of our borders and managing migration, while continuing to attract and retain people who come here to work and bring significant benefits."

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