Tower Hamlets second fastest growing in UK

Packed Columbia Road Market: John Davies

Tower Hamlets has the second fastest growing population out of local authorities in the country, as statistics show the nation is struggling to cope with the most rapid increase in nearly half a century.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed a dramatic rise in the population of London in just 12 months, reaching a new figure of 7.8m. Tower Hamlets, which currently has 238,000 residents, has the second highest increase, expanding 18 percent in a decade.

Talking about the reasons for such a significant increase, a spokesman for the Office for National Statistics told ELL that the borough’s population has grown so considerably since 2001 as a result of “net international migration and natural change.”

He added: “However, the impact of long term migrants moving between Tower Hamlets and other parts of the United Kingdom was negative during this period”

The current population of Britain is 62.3 million representing an increase of three million over the past ten years. The number of inhabitants rose by more than 470,000 last year, reaching the fastest growth rate in almost half a century.

Immigration, which was the highest recorded since 2005, is seen as the cause of nearly half of the national increase. A natural change in terms of the ratio of births and deaths, as well as the number of offspring born to women; who had arrived from overseas, accounts for the remainder of the rise.

As the findings were revealed, statistician Ben Humberstone told the Evening Standard: “The population is the highest it has ever been.

“It’s also the highest growth rate that we have ever seen since 1962, the time of the baby boom”, he added.

The figures are expected to intensify the ongoing debate about the issue of population growth and the impact of soaring levels of immigration on housing, schools, hospitals and other public services.

The birth rate for UK-born women has risen, although the category includes those whose parents or grandparents were immigrants, and can be influenced by a cultural tradition of having more children.

The statistics also revealed that the number of women of child-bearing age has risen since 2002 following the arrival of young women from abroad.

Westminster came top of the list, with 44,000 added to its population since 2001.  In contrast, the population of Brent has actually fallen over the past decade with its total of 257,000 reduced by 13,000

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