"Britain's population is set to overtake that of France within 13 years because of the impact of high immigration, EU estimates have said.
Numbers of people living here will top French levels in 2030 and will keep rising to make Britain the most populous country in Europe by 2050, they predicted.
The key reason why the British population is going up so quickly compared to that of neighbouring countries is immigration, according to the projections from Eurostat.
Without high rates of immigration, they said, numbers in Britain would remain lower than those in France for half a century and longer.
But by 2050 the UK's population is predicted to be 77.1million, ahead of 74.7million in Germany and 74.2million in France.
2050: Britain's population is set to overtake that of France and Germany because of the impact of high immigration, EU estimates (pictured) have said.
Comparison: The UK's population was smaller than France's and Germany's in 2015 (in green) - predictions for 2050 (in blue) show that it will be larger than both countries by then
Critics of immigration fear growing pressure on housing, transport, education, power and water, and health services, especially in southern England which attracts the majority of arriving immigrants.
Britain already has the greatest population density – the official measure of crowding – of any of the major countries of Europe.
Only the Netherlands and tiny Malta have more people crammed into each square kilometre of land in the UK, and in southern England, where there are 465 people to every square kilometer, density is on track to overtake that in the Netherlands.
Eurostat said: ‘Population projections are what-if scenarios that aim to provide information about the likely future size and structure of the population.
‘Eurostat’s population projections are one of several possible population change scenarios based on specific assumptions for fertility, mortality and migration.’
The EU estimates are based on varying assessments of the future size of the central measure of the impact of immigration, net migration. Net migration into the UK, which takes into account both immigration and emigration, is expected by Eurostat to peak at just under 210,000 a year in 2014.
However net migration in Britain was measured by the ONS at 335,000 in the year to June 2016.
Britain’s population was higher than that of France in the 1960s, but European prosperity and British stagnation in the 1970s led to a reversal.
During the decade emigration from Britain was higher than immigration, and numbers in France overtook the British population in the first half of the 1980s."
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