Sunday, August 09, 2009

We like to move it, move it!

I couldn’t help but take notice of a recent news report that contained statistical projections from both the UN and EU. Any article headed up ‘latest statistical projections’ usually has a soporific effect but this one was interesting.

To cut a long story short, the two bodies have projected that by 2050 the UK will have the largest population of any EU country (assuming by then Russia hasn’t joined I guess). The figures being talked about were around 80 million.

The second statistic said that a large proportion of this population growth would come about through immigration. Apparently the forecasters believe that the UK will remain the most popular EU destination for immigrants, both those originating from other EU countries and those from outside of the EU.

Fascinating stuff but the first thought that struck me was how this related to another recently published statistic that up to 1/3 of the UK population is actively considering emigration from the UK? If we take this two together, the potential population movement is incredible.

Maybe my maths are faulty but very roughly speaking…at the moment there are around 60 million people in the UK. If over the next say 30 years roughly 1/3 are planning to leave and actually do so, that’s about 20 million people outbound. That would give a net population of 40 million left. For this to grow to 80 million, that means over 40 million people will need to move to the UK over the same period.

Now certainly I know that doesn’t take into account population growth etc but even so, it is a phenomenal population movement out of, and in to, one very small group of islands. In theory it also means that around 60 million people will be going in or out of the UK over the next few decades – and that excludes normal business and holiday travel.

As with all these statistics, there is a very high chance that they are wildly over-estimated and future guessing is a dangerous business. If you look at similar projections in the 1960s and 1970s, had they been right I would be writing this blog now from Lunar City central and discussing the expat situation on Mars.

Yet when reading these figures and thinking about it, a few slightly irreverent thoughts came to mind if these figures are even only partly right.

A) There are going to be a heck of a lot more expats around in future
B) This might be a good time to start a transport and removals business
C) Given that UK government statistics also show that the UK population continues to drift south towards the south-east and south west (e.g. the population of Scotland continues to fall) AND most stats show new arrivals also head to the south east and west, the UK’s going to be in danger of tipping up!

It just goes to show how global and mobile the world is becoming. There may be no new frontiers left but as people are people, the grass will always looks greener. These population movements could mean that one day the majority of people on this planet are odd thought!

No comments: