Statement on ONS Overview of UK Population

23 August 2019 immediate use

Population Matters statement on ONS Overview of the UK population; August 2019

Population Matters director Robin Maynard says:

“People who live in the UK understand that more people means a lower of quality of life for them and more pressure on our environment. People want affordable housing without paving over countryside to get it, and fewer cars on the road, not more roads for cars to go on. People want education budgets to be spent providing better quality education for pupils, not funding more school places. In a Population Matters poll last year, 74% of people supported a national strategy to address population, 64% thought projected population growth is too high and just 2% – that’s one-in-fifty- thought it is too low (1).

“Alarmism about a tidal wave of unproductive pensioners is often used to justify a growing population but it’s a fundamentally flawed approach. The solution to more old people is not more young people, because they get old in turn.  Instead of investing in a population pyramid scheme based on endless growth, what we need is a rational, evidence-based national conversation about developing sustainable, realistic policies to meet the challenges and opportunities of an ageing demographic. Retired people also contribute significantly to our society and economy, through things like child care and volunteering. We should value all our older people, and devote the resources to them that they deserve.

“Policies to address our changing age structure should form part of an integrated, sustainable population strategy across government. The public simply doesn’t want a population of 73 million in 25 years. Policymakers need to recognise people want better, not more, and stop using population growth as a short term fix.”


Contact: Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications E: T: 0208 123 9170


(1) All figures are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,693 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th – 29th June 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures were weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The poll was conducted using the ONS population figure of 66m released on 28 June 2018 and reaffirmed in today’s release, and the ONS population projection of a population of 72.9m in 2041, also reaffirmed in today’s ONS release. Further detail on the poll results available on request.


Generally speaking, do you think the government should, or should not, have a strategy to address population in the UK?

Should: 74% Should not: 7% Don’t know: 18%

Based on current rates of growth, the Office for National Statistics projects that in 2041 the population will increase from 66 million now to 72.9 million. Generally speaking, do you think this rate of population growth is too high, too low or about right?

Too high: 64% Too low: 2% About right: 18% Don’t know: 16%


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