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A number of things have affected the population of the UK in the past, including the changing of the birth, death, and fertility rate, the increase of migration, and the higher life expectancy we enjoy. These changes have greatly influenced the way we live in the UK and the types of people living here, with higher diversity than in the past. Our population continues to grow but it has not always been for the same reasons.
Up until the 1950’s and 60’s, natural changes such as there being more births than deaths was the main reason for the increase but then from the 1980’s onwards net migration (numbers of immigration exceed numbers of emigration) has largely contributed to the rising numbers. This change has been shown in statistics such as in the 50’s natural changes accounted for 98% of population change and net migration just 2% but between 2001 and 2004, net migration accounted for two thirds of the increase.
There were 34% less births in 2004 than in 1901 and 21% fewer than in 1971, however the decline in the birth rate did not gradually decrease, it took twists and turns during the two world wars. During the First World War there was a decrease in the birth rate due to a high percentage of men fighting overseas, and then after the war had finished there was a baby boom when they all came out, with birth rates increasing rapidly.
The same then happened again for the Second World War and it then began to decrease again. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the women born in the 1960’s, a time where many females were born, then began to have children themselves, resulting in another minor baby boom. Since 2001 the birth rate steadily began to rise again and the rate in 2006 was the highest for 26 years.