London Population To Reach All-Time High By February
London has reversed the long running trend from the 1970s and 1980s and has been undergoing staggering population growth. It is currently on the brink of surpassing the population record set during the Second World War.
London has added over two million people to its population since the mid-80s when the number of people living in the city dropped to 6.6 million. Currently, there are over 8.6 million people living in the city and outer boroughs.
“Great cities rise and fall, but few in history have bounced back so strongly from losing more than two million people. London’s growth is so exceptional that it’s time to change our whole perspective on it,” said Barney Stringer, director of planning consultants Quod, to the London Evening Standard.
“The current gradual approach has taken us as far as it can – we need to be planning and investing for that success with a totally different scale and ambition. Perhaps London should learn from the investment being made in the great growing megacities of China.”
Experts fear that the rapid population growth has already strained the infrastructure of the city and that continued growth will add massive stress to the availability of cheap beds and transport. It is estimated that 42,000 homes will need to be added to London and the boroughs to keep up with expected growth.
Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, said, “This is both good news and bad. On the one hand it is far better to be living in a city that people want to come to rather than a declining city. But there is always the risk that people will feel there is not enough space, not enough transport, and too much congestion. Such a large population inevitably means substantial investment in roads, railway, hospitals and all the elements that make a city work. Clearly, there is not enough investment going into London at the moment.”
London peaked in population in 1939, right before World War II began. Two decades of growth, prior to the war, had created pressures in housing and commuting patterns that only ended due to conscription and evacuation of the city after the war began.