Pressure on London as census shows 3.7m population jump
Almost a million more people living in London than in 2001, last year's census reveals
THE FIRST results of last year's national census have been released and they show that the population of England and Wales increased by 3.7 million to 56.1 million between 2001 and 2011.
It is the largest increase shown by any census since they began in 1801, the BBC reports. The Daily Mail put it this way: "The figures have seen such a dramatic increase that it means the entire city of Manchester could have been added each year."
The Office of National Statistics revealed that more than half of the population growth was down to migration and 45 per cent came from an increased number of births over deaths.
The Daily Telegraph puts the increase down to "a decade of mass immigration, a baby boom and longer life expectancy".
The population has not risen by the same amount everywhere, however. "Over half of the population growth was in London, the South East and the East of England,” reports The Independent. "The largest increase in population was in London, which grew by 12 per cent, gaining more than 850,000 inhabitants and taking its total population to more than eight million. "
There are concerns about the population explosion in the capital, according to the London Evening Standard. It points out that there are 400,000 more people in the city than previously thought.
"The figures will heighten concern about the impact of migration and population growth on public services," warns the paper. "London has gained 112,700 children aged under five since 2001, putting pressure on school places over the coming years."
The population of Tower Hamlets has risen 26.6 per cent since 2001 and the number of people living in nearby Newham, host of the London Olympics, has jumped 23.5 per cent.
However, doubts are already being aired about the reliability of the census. The Telegraph says one in 20 people failed to fill out census forms - although there have only been 200 prosecutions - while Westminster City Council says it disputes figures suggesting its population has fallen by nine per cent.
Predictably, lobby groups have been quick to jump on the figures. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, says: "This census confirms the impact of mass immigration on our population... We now find that even the official numbers previously understated the scale of net migration by 14 per cent and even this does not account for the illegal immigrant population who would not complete the census form."