LONDON, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Britain's population has grown to a record 65.1 million, fuelled by people living longer, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Friday.
ONS said the percentage of Britain's population of people aged 65 years or older is growing and has increased from 14.1 percent of the population in 1975 to almost 18 percent.
They estimate that the population will grow steadily, passing 70 million people in 2026, and by 2045, it is projected a quarter of the country's population will be aged 65 or over.
Meanwhile, the proportion of Britain's child population has declined from over 24 percent in 1975 to less than 20 percent, and is projected to decline even further in future years.
The direct effect of net migration has also increased the population of Britain by more than 250,000 people every year on average between 2004 and 2015, a growth five times more than natural changes in population levels.
"The growth in population size is partly because the population is aging. This is an important consideration for the provision of health and social care services and pensions," said ONS.
Life expectancy over the last few decades has also been steadily increasing. Girls born in Britain in 2015 can expect to live 82.8 years from birth, four years more than girls born in 1991. Males have seen a greater increase in life expectancy of 5.7 years, from 73.4 years for boys born in 1991 to 79.1 years for boys born in 2015.
Improved healthcare and lifestyles, especially for those aged 65 years and over, is the main reason for the increase in life expectancy, said ONS.
"While living longer is a cause for celebration, an aging population may result in fewer people of working age to support those of pension age. In 2016, there were an estimated 308 people of a pensionable age for every 1,000 people of a working age. By 2037, this is projected to increase to 365 people," said ONS.
"This increase means that there will be fewer people of working age to support a larger population over State Pension age. While a larger population increases the size and productive capacity of the workforce, it also increases pressure and demand for services such as education, healthcare and housing," it added.