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Regional Profiles - Population and Migration - South West, March 2013

Released: 01 March 2013 Download PDF

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Population aged 65 and over, 2011 and 2021

South West has highest percentage of its population who are aged 65 and over
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. 2011 figures are mid-year estimates
  2. 2021 figures are interim 2011-based projections

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The South West has the highest proportion of older people. The rate of net migration from other regions into the South West was the highest among the regions of England.

In mid-2011, 19.7% of South West residents were aged 65 and over, compared with around 17.5% in most regions and 11.1% in London. The interim 2011-based projections suggest this percentage could rise to 22.8% by 2021 compared with a rise from 16.4% to 18.7% for England as a whole.

The South West is a popular destination for people moving from other areas of the UK. In 2010, the population of the South West increased by 20,000 as a result of net interregional migration. This represents a rate of 38 in-migrants per 10,000 residents, the highest among the English regions. Net international migration increased the region’s population by 15,000. The rate of total net migration was one of the highest, at 66 per 10,000 residents, matching that of the South East. Only the East of England had a higher rate.

The total population of the region was 5.3 million in mid-2011, 10% of the population of England. The South West had an average population density of 220 residents per sq km, which was the lowest for any English region. It was highest in Bristol unitary authority, at 3,900 people per sq km, and lowest in West Devon local authority (LA) in Devon and West Somerset LA in Somerset, each with fewer than 50 people per sq km.

The region’s population increased almost as fast as that in the whole of England between 2001 and 2011, at 7.2% compared with 7.4% for England. The projections suggest that the region could have 5.7 million residents by 2021 – 8.3% more than in 2011, compared with 8.6% for England.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes and sources:

    The data section of this release (454.5 Kb Excel sheet)  provides more Population and Migration data. Office for National Statistics is the source for the data.

    Population estimates and projections are based on the 2011 Census. The mid-2011 population estimates are those published on 25 September 2012 and the interim 2011-based subnational population projections were published on 28 September 2012.

    Migration data are for calendar years. The latest calendar year for which both interregional and international migration are available is 2010. Interregional migration data were published on 17 October 2011 and international migration data were published on 24 November 2011. An interactive map of Internal Migration in England and Wales by Local Authority allows you to view ONS migration estimates for England & Wales as a ‘flow map’ drawing lines on the map to represent movements of migrants between areas of the country. The map requires a web browser capable of supporting HTML5 content – for example, Internet Explorer 9+, Firefox, Chrome, Safar and iOS5+/Android3+ mobile devices.

    The 2011 Census provides a wealth of information for local areas. In particular you may be interested in:

    2001 vs 2011 – Population and Age – interactive map allows you to find your area’s average age, population density and more

    2011 Census area comparison tool – interactive tool allows the comparison of any 2 areas in England and Wales using 2011 Census population estimates and also provides a visual summary of change since 2001. Note – Requires Adobe Flash v10 or above

    Census population and change – interactive map allows you to find the population density and change in population in your area since 2001

  2. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:
  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Regional Trends, No. 42, 2010 Edition - Portrait of the South West (Pdf 1468Kb) - The Portrait of the South West presents a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the region.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.