The UK’s population is currently projected to rise to 70 million by 2036, an increase of two million above today’s figure, and seven million more people than in 2010. That growth has a negative impact in many ways.
At the same time as population growth drives pressure on nature, infrastructure and public services, concerns about the UK’s low birth rate and population ageing are increasingly being articulated in the media and politics. Population Matters believes such concerns are legitimate, but exaggerated and short-sighted. They could also lead to social and political pressure on people to have larger families.
We believe that all countries, including the UK, should have policies intended to ensure a sustainable population. By “sustainable population”, we mean a level and distribution across age ranges that provides the best quality of life for their citizens, protects their natural environment, ensures the wellbeing of future generations and, just as importantly, has positive effects beyond their borders.
We are calling on the government and political parties to introduce a Sustainable Population Policy. As a first step, we are asking them to remove the politics from population and establish an independent official body to conduct research and policy analysis on demography, and provide objective, evidence-based advice to the government, parliament and the public on this issue. You can learn more about our proposals in the letter we have sent to the leaders of the major Westminster-based UK parties.
Please support our call
You can support our call in two ways.
Contact your MP on this page.
Contact the government and party leaders- click here.
contact your mp
Please contact your MP using the button, which will take you to a page where you can send them a message directly. If you wish, you can use or adapt the letter below.
If you adapt it, of course ensure that your letter is reasonable, brief and polite. Politicians respond best to positive proposals and sensitivity regarding controversial subjects.
Please do share any replies you receive with us, by contacting email@example.com
Dear [name of MP]
I am writing to you as a constituent concerned about the implications of demographic change in the UK, in particular population growth – as polling shows the majority of UK residents to be. I would like to ask you to press the Government to adopt a Sustainable Population Policy, informed by evidence. This is not simply an immigration policy, but a holistic approach to all aspects of demographic change.
The latest official estimates from ONS show that the population of England and Wales has passed 60m for the first time, with the highest growth rate since 1962. This is clearly unsustainable. The most recent projections for the UK as a whole – now likely to be revised upwards in light of these figures – are that our population will reach 69.2 million by mid-2030 and to 71.0 million by mid-2045.
A poll conducted by Population Matters in 2018 saw just one-in-fifty people saying they believed the UK population wasn’t big enough. Earlier this year, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts commissioned another poll finding that six in ten members of the British public were “concerned” about current population forecasts, and 66% agreed with the statement “The United Kingdom is overcrowded”.
Our population growth has negative effects in many areas, including biodiversity loss, climate change, public services and the housing crisis. At the same time, other demographic challenges are arising, including the implications of an ageing population. Beyond the UK, our levels of consumption and carbon emissions, driven partially by population growth, have a direct, and usually negative, effect on other countries.
I therefore hope you will recognise the importance and urgency of confronting all those challenges. The UK must adopt holistic, integrated, evidence-based policymaking in this area. Please support the call of Population Matters for a Sustainable Population policy, including the establishment of an independent advisory body in the UK which can provide objective advice to the government, parliament and public on issues of population and its impact, and provide policy options to address those.
I look forward to your reply.