Number of Babies at 40-Year High as Population Soars; FASTEST GROWTH IN EUROPE, NEW FIGURES REVEAL

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Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON Political Editor david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

THE UK population is soaring as London expands and a baby booms roars but Wales remains home to many of the most empty areas of the country, according to findings published yesterday.

Wales grew by 10,300 to hit 3.1 million as Britain outstripped its EU economic competitors in population growth, increasing in size by 419,900 to 63.7 million between 2011 and 2012.

There were 4,700 more births than deaths in Wales and the nation become home to 1,100 international migrants and 4,500 people from within the UK.

Across the UK, the country is in the throes of the biggest baby boom since 1972, with 813,200 births recorded in the past year compared to 558,800 deaths.

Of those babies, 25.9% had a foreign-born mother, in contrast to 10 years earlier where only one in six new mothers was born abroad.

The ONS said the birth increases are driven by large numbers of women in their 20s and 30s who are becoming mothers along with an increase in the number of migrant families in the UK.

Many of the migrants to the UK are from China, India, Germany, the United States, Pakistan, Poland and Australia.

Migration from overseas accounted for 517,800 of the population flow into the UK. However, 352,100 people left the country, putting net migration at 165,600 for the year.

The UK is now the third largest EU nation, behind France and Germany. The British increased of more than 400,000 compares to a boost of just 319,100 in France and a mere 166,200 in Germany.

Many more children will enjoy spending time with their grandfathers, the statistics indicate. A drop in smoking - plus improvements in treatments for circulatory illnesses - has seen more men living past the 75-year marker.

There has been an increase in this group of just over 26%, or 422,353, since mid-2001 to 2,043,034 now.

The population of the UK aged 65 and over was 10.8 million - 17% of the UK population. …