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2. Results, 2010-Based National Population Projections This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 26 October 2011 Download PDF

Introduction

This report provides a brief summary of the results of the 2010-based national population projections. It also provides additional charts and summary tables illustrating the results of the projections. For discussion of the results see the statistical bulletin. Included are sections on:

  • results,

  • the role of migration in population growth,

  • comparison with the results of the 2008-based national population projections,

  • charts for the UK and constituent countries are available in the appendices showing:
    -  actual and projected total population, 
    -  actual and projected births and deaths, 
    -  percentage age distribution of the population,  
    -  actual and projected total population for the principal and key variant projections, 
    -  change in the projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections.

Results

The UK population is projected to increase gradually from an estimated 62.3 million in 2010 to reach 73.2 million by 2035. Of the projected 10.9 million increase between 2010 and 2035, approximately 5.8 million (53 per cent) is due to projected natural increase (more births than deaths) while the remaining 5.1 million (47 per cent) is the assumed total number of net migrants.

Summary results tables

Table 2-1 presents a summary of the projection results by components of change from 2010 to 2035, for the UK. The equivalent tables for the constituent countries of the UK, England & Wales and Great Britain can be found in the data download of this table.

Table 2-1

Components of change: summary (annual average), United Kingdom, 2010-2035

thousands
  2010-11 2011-16 2016-21 2021-26 2026-31 2031-35
Population at start 62,262 62,735 65,271 67,636 69,820 71,766
  Births 811 840 832 813 797 804
  Deaths 559 557 559 576 607 643
  Natural change 251 283 273 237 189 161
  Migration 222 224 200 200 200 200
  Total change 473 507 473 437 389 361
———— ———— ———— ———— ———— ————
Population at end 62,735 65,271 67,636 69,820 71,766 73,208

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not sum due to rounding

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Charts of summary results

This section presents charts for the UK for the period 1971 to 2085. The equivalent charts, for the period 1971-2060, for the constituent countries of the UK are available in the appendices A to D.

Figure 2-1

Actual and projected total population, United Kingdom, 1971-2085

Actual and projected total population, United Kingdom, 1971-2085
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 2-2

Actual and projected births and deaths for United Kingdom, 1971-2085

Actual and projected births and deaths for UK, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-3 shows how the age distribution of the UK is projected to change, illustrating how the median age of the population increases through the projection period.

Figure 2-3

Percentage age distribution, United Kingdom, 1971-2085

Percentage age distribution, UK, 1971-2085

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Variant projections

Table 2-2 presents projections of the total population under the principal projection, standard variant projections and special case scenarios for the UK and its constituent countries in 2035, 2060, 2085 and 2110. Three additional measures available in the data download include: the percentage of the population under 16, percentage of population 65 and over, and dependants per 1,000 persons of working age.

Table 2-2

Measures of population structure under the principal projection, standard variant projections and special case scenarios, UK, 2035, 2060, 2085 and 2010

Projection 2035 2060 2085 2110
Principal projection 73,208 81,481 89,300 96,979
       
Single Component Variants
High fertility 75,048 87,050 100,533 115,579
Low fertility 70,832 75,380 78,277 80,395
High life expectancy 73,920 84,637 95,522 106,843
Low life expectancy 72,467 78,181 82,777 86,686
High migration 75,135 85,811 96,120 106,178
Low migration 71,280 77,152 82,480 87,780
       
Combination Variants
(largest/smallest total population size)
High fertility, High life expectancy, High migration 77,746 94,817 114,471 136,791
Low fertility, Low life expectancy, Low migration 68,215 68,021 65,879 63,415
       
Special Case Scenarios
Zero migration (natural change only) 65,740 64,073 60,813 57,861

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 2-4 shows the estimated and projected population for the principal projection and selected variant projections for the UK between 1981 and 2085. Charts for the constituent countries of the UK, (all for the period 1971-2060) can be found in Appendices A to D.

Figure 2-4

Actual and projected total population, United Kingdom, 1981-2085

Actual and projected total population, UK, 1981-2085

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The role of migration in population growth

The population of the UK is projected to rise; both because of positive natural change, that is, more births than deaths and because of positive net migration. However, the components of population change are not independent of each other. In particular, the projected numbers of future births and deaths are themselves partly dependent on the assumed level of net migration.

An understanding of the overall effect of migration on population growth can be obtained by comparing the results of the principal and main variant projections with those of the zero net migration ('natural change only') variant projection. The zero net migration variant assumes that net migration will be zero at all ages in future, but makes the same assumptions about fertility and mortality as the principal projection. In the analysis below, the effect of net migration on population growth in the period to 2035 is considered.

If annual net inward migration to the UK was to average 200,000 a year (the long-term assumption in the principal projection) this would lead to a total net inflow of five million migrants in the period between 2010 (the base year of the projections) and 2035. In fact, the projected total number of net migrants during this period in the principal projection is slightly higher (5.1 million) due to the higher migration assumptions for the first few years of the projection.

The assumed fertility and mortality rates are the same in the principal projection, the zero net migration variant projection and the high and low migration variants. However, because migration is concentrated at young adult ages, the different assumed numbers of migrants affect the number of women of childbearing age and hence the future number of births.

There is no comparable effect on deaths, at least in the period to 2035. At ages over 45, assumed net migration flows are close to zero in the principal projection and the high and low migration variants. Indeed, small net migration outflows are assumed at some older ages. So the projected number of deaths over the period to 2035 is similar under all the migration variants.

Table 2-3 shows the projected components of population change in the period to 2035 in the principal projection, the high and low migration variants (which assume long-term annual net inward flows of 260,000 and 140,000 a year respectively), and the zero net migration variant projection.

Table 2-3

Projected population change, United Kingdom, 2010-2035

thousands
  High migration variant Principal projection Low migration variant Zero net migration variant
Population at mid-2010 62,262 62,262 62,262 62,262
         
Population change (2010-35)        
  Births 20,931 20,436 19,942 18,087
  Deaths 14,671 14,635 14,598 14,609
  Natural change 6,259 5,802 5,344 3,478
  Net migration 6,614 5,144 3,674 0
Total change 12,873 10,946 9,018 3,478
         
Population at mid-2035 75,135 73,208 71,280 65,740

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Table 2-4 shows how the projected population growth is broken down between the assumed level of net migration and projected natural change.

Table 2-4

Projected population growth by component, United Kingdom, 2010-2035

thousands
  High migration variant Principal projection Low migration variant
Total population increase between 2010 and 2035 12,873 10,946 9,018
Resulting from:    
Assumed net migration 6,614 5,144 3,674
Natural change assuming zero net migration 3,478 3,478 3,478
Additional natural change from assumed level of net migration 2,781 2,324 1,866

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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In the principal projection, the population of the UK is projected to grow by 10.9 million between 2010 and 2035. Some 5.1 million of this increase is directly due to the assumed number of net migrants. Natural change accounts for a further 5.8 million - the difference between 20.4 million births and 14.6 million deaths. Some 3.5 million of this natural change (increase) would occur with zero net migration. The remaining 2.3 million is the net effect of the assumed annual level of net migration on natural change (almost entirely the effect on births).

Some 47 per cent of population growth in the principal projection is therefore directly attributable to the assumed number of net migrants. The remaining 53 per cent is attributable to projected natural change (of which 32 per cent would occur with zero net migration and 21 per cent arises from the effect of net migration on natural change). In total, therefore, some 68 per cent of population growth in the period to 2035 in the principal projection is attributable, directly or indirectly, to future net migration.

It should be emphasised that these calculations are based on comparing alternative projections which make the same assumptions about future fertility and mortality rates irrespective of the assumed level of net migration. In practice, fertility and mortality rates for new migrants are likely to differ, to some extent, from those for the existing population.

Notes for The role of migration in population growth

  1. The principal projection and the zero net migration variant projection for the UK are calculated by aggregating equivalent projections for the four constituent countries of the UK. The resulting UK level fertility and mortality rates are therefore effectively weighted averages of those for the individual countries. This leads to some very small differences at UK level between the effective fertility and mortality rates used in the principal projection and the zero net migration variant. This has no significant effect on the analysis in this section.

Comparisons with the 2008-based national projections

Base population

Overall, the published mid-2010 population estimate for the UK is 40,000 (0.06 per cent) higher than the 2008-based projection of the population at mid-2010.

Projected future population

The projected population of the UK at 2035 is about 924,000 (1.3 per cent) higher than in the 2008-based projections. This is due an increase in the assumed number of births and net migration.

Populations are higher than in the 2008-based projections for England, Wales, and Scotland but lower for Northern Ireland. The percentage difference by 2035 is greatest for Scotland (3.6 per cent) where the assumed level of fertility and net migration has risen. The projected populations of England and Wales are 1.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent higher respectively than in the 2008-based projections. The population of Northern Ireland is projected to be 1 per cent lower than previously.

Compared with the previous projections, the UK population at 2035 is higher in all age groups apart from the 75 and over age group.

Comparisons with the previous (2008-based) projections are given in Tables 2-5 and 2-6 and illustrated in Figure 2-5.

Table 2-5

Changes in projected births, deaths and net migration compared with the 2008-based projections, United Kingdom

    2010-2011   2011-2021   2021-2031   2031-2035
thousands % thousands % thousands % thousands %
Births 33 4.2 450 5.7 75 0.9 29 0.9
Deaths 7 1.3 148 2.7 121 2.1 17 0.7
Net migration 21 290 200 80
Total change 47 592 154 92

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Net migration and total change can be positive or negative and hence it is not possible to express change in percentage terms

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Table 2-6

Changes in projected population by age compared with 2008-based projections, United Kingdom

  2010 2011 2021 2031 2035
Age group 000s % 000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
0-14 31 0.3 67 0.6 529 4.5 266 2.2 160 1.3
15-29 -49 -0.4 -54 -0.4 40 0.3 380 3.0 516 4.0
30-44 -8 -0.1 -1 0.0 3 0.0 40 0.3 50 0.4
45-59 27 0.2 34 0.3 99 0.8 89 0.7 93 0.7
60-74 32 0.4 38 0.4 82 0.8 165 1.4 196 1.7
75 & over 6 0.1 3 0.1 -73 -1.2 -108 -1.3 -90 -1.0
All ages 40 0.1 86 0.1 678 1.0 832 1.2 924 1.3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 2-5 shows the change in the projected population for the UK at 2035, compared with the 2008-based projections.

Figure 2-5

Change in projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections, United Kingdom

Change in projected population at 2035 compared with the 2008-based projections, UK

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Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Appendix A: England charts

Figure 2-1

Actual and projected total population, England, 1971-2060

Actual and projected total population, England, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-2

 

Actual and projected births and deaths for England, 1971-2060

Actual and projected births and deaths for England, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-3

 

Percentage age distribution, England, 1971-2060

Percentage age distribution, England, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-4

Actual and projected total population, England, 1981-2085

Actual and projected total population, England, 1981-2085

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Figure 2-5

Change in projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections, England

Change in projected population at 2035 compared with the 2008-based projections, England

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Appendix B: Wales charts

Figure 2-1

Actual and projected total population, Wales, 1971-2060

Actual and projected total population, Wales, 1971-2060
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 2-2

Actual and projected births and deaths for Wales, 1971-2060

Actual and projected births and deaths for Wales, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-3

 

Percentage age distribution, Wales, 1971-2060

Percentage age distribution, Wales, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-4

 

Actual and projected total population, Wales, 1981-2085

Actual and projected total population, Wales, 1981-2085

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Figure 2-5

Change in projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections, Wales

Change in projected population at 2035 compared with the 2008-based projections,

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Appendix C: Scotland charts

Figure 2-1

Actual and projected total population, Scotland, 1971-2060

Actual and projected total population, Scotland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-2

 

Actual and projected births and deaths for Scotland, 1971-2060

Actual and projected births and deaths for Scotland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-3

 

Percentage age distribution, Scotland, 1971-2060

Percentage age distribution, Scotland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-4

 

Actual and projected total population, Scotland, 1981-2085

Actual and projected total population, Scotland, 1981-2085

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Figure 2-5

Change in projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections, Scotland

Change in projected population at 2035 compared with the 2008-based projections, Scotland

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Appendix D: Northern Ireland charts

Figure 2-1

Actual and projected total population, Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

Actual and projected total population, Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-2

 

Actual and projected births and deaths for Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

Actual and projected births and deaths for Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-3

 

Percentage age distribution, Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

Percentage age distribution, Northern Ireland, 1971-2060

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Figure 2-4

Actual and projected total population, Northern Ireland, 1981-2085

Actual and projected total population, Northern Ireland, 1981-2085

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Figure 2-5

Change in projected population at 2035 by age and sex compared with the 2008-based projections, Northern Ireland

Change in projected population at 2035 compared with the 2008-based projections, Northern Ireland

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Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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