England is poised to become the most crowded nation in Europe, according to official figures.[Agencies]
England is poised to become the most crowded nation in Europe, according to official figures.
The number of people crammed into each square mile is due to overtake levels in Holland and Belgium - and may already have done so.
Large-scale immigration is pushing up demand in the South of England for more homes, more transport and more services.
The figures were released by the Office for National Statistics in a Commons written answer.
They show that in England in 2005 there were 387 people for every square kilometer, and this rose to 390 per square kilometer in 2006.
This is around 620 per square mile.
At that rate England will now have overtaken the most crowded major country in Europe, Holland, which had 393 people for every square kilometer in 2005.
Its population is growing at a much slower rate than Britain because of the higher immigration levels in this country.
By 2031, the ONS forecasts, England will have 464 people per square kilometer.
Around 70 per cent of population growth is a result of immigration, and much of the rest is accounted for by higher birthrates among recent immigrants.
The most crowded country in Europe, according to the statistics, is Malta.
But Malta is a small island with only 400,000 citizens, most of whom live in and around the city of Valletta.
Crowding in England is almost double that of Germany and quadruple the population density in France.
The homes are needed to cope with the increasing population and there are fears that many will end up on green belt land that is currently protected.
Tory MP James Clappison said: "These figures show that England, if not the most crowded already, will very soon be so.
"Immigration is a substantial factor leading to greater population density."
He added: "This is more evidence of the impact of immigration, and if present patterns of migration continue we are going to get much more crowded. There will be a big impact on quality of life."
Some 1.3 million immigrants have come to the UK seeking work in the past ten years - but 3.5 million Britons are claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Incapacity Benefit.