26 March 2024, immediate use

ONS release: Population estimates for the UK, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland: mid-2022

In response to the ONS figures issued today, Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications at Population Matters, said: 

The population of the UK is 67.6 million, now more than four million people higher than in 2011 and we have a population density well over double the EU average. 

While recent headlines have dwelled on numbers of old people, the median age has crept up by only a year over the last decade. Our core demographic challenge today is a growing population, not an ageing one. 

This cannot continue. People intuitively know that population growth means greater pressure on public services and nature, with the UK already one of the most nature-depleted countries worldwide. A bigger population also means more climate emissions, more congestion, and more demand for housing when people are already struggling in the current property crisis.  

Instead of churning up panic that people need to “breed for Britain” or turning to pronatal policies, that recent studies have shown largely ineffective anyway, the UK should instead adapt to a new reality. The UK is a rich country, with a skilled and educated workforce, that can evolve to embrace a changing demographic.

The UK pioneered the industrial revolution, and so too could we pioneer a new era of social policy that captures the potential of an older population, improves our environment, and achieves a greater quality of life for everyone already here, to secure a more sustainable future.” 



Madeleine Hewitt, Campaigns and Media Officer

E: madeleine.hewitt@populationmatters.org

T: +44 (0)20 4552 5199


Population Matters is a UK-based charity working globally to achieve a sustainable future for people and planet. Our mission is to drive positive, large-scale action through fostering choices that help achieve a sustainable human population and regenerate our environment.

populationmatters.org UK charity number: 1114109


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