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UK population 'to hit 70m by 2027'
The UK population is on course to reach 70 million within 16 years, fuelled by the number of migrants coming to the country, figures have shown.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the UK was set to reach the milestone by mid-2027.
Within 25 years, the UK population is set to swell from 62.3 million last year to 73.2 million, with more than two thirds of this increase a result of immigration, the figures showed.
Of the 10.9 million increase, 5.1 million (47%) is due to projected net migration, 2.3 million (21%) from migrant women giving birth, and 5.8 million (53%) due to projected natural increase as the number of births outpace deaths.
Officials said the UK's population was projected to rise by 438,000 a year until 2035 - the equivalent of adding a city the size of Bristol every year.
The new long-term assumption for net migration - the number of people coming to the UK less the number leaving - is 200,000 each year, 20,000 a year more than in the last projections two years ago, the ONS report showed. Some 15,500 of this is based on England alone, with 5,500 extra in Scotland and 500 fewer in both Wales and Northern Ireland.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Immigration to the UK has been too high. That's why we have made sweeping changes to get a grip on immigration in this country, closing down routes subject to abuse and taking action against those with no right to be here.
"Much has been done, but there is more to do to bring down net migration to the order of tens of thousands a year and ensure migration which benefits the UK."
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the campaign group Migration Watch UK, said: "These figures confirm that the UK's dramatic rise in population will continue unabated.
"The population is now set to hit 70 million in 16 years time, over two thirds of which is due to immigration. As people return home this evening crammed into public transport and on congested roads, they could well ask where all of these people are going to fit."