This article examines the composition of growth in the population of the UK in recent years and the projected changes using the latest available data.
As this article was being planned, the population of the world was estimated to have reached 7 billion on 31st October 2011. The Executive Director of the United Nationals Population Fund, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, said:-
“A world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity. Globally, people are living longer healthier lives and choosing to have smaller families. But reducing inequalities and finding ways to ensure the well-being of people alive today – as well as the generations that follow – will require new ways of thinking and unprecedented global cooperation” (UN, 2011).
Within the UK the future population challenge is both one of growth and ageing. Recent projections based on 2010 population estimates suggest that, not only will the UK population continue to grow, reaching nearly 72 million by 2031, but also that the estimated number of residents aged 65 and over will be larger than the number aged under 16 years by 2023 (ONS, 2011).
This illustrates the importance of population statistics in understanding the well-being of the country. They provide contextual information on the size and demographic profile of the population, including use in the analysis of specific domains of well-being that will be reported in subsequent articles. Population statistics are also used to scale other statistics, so that comparisons can be made on a ‘per head of population’ basis. All of this information is crucial to allow for planning of the infrastructure, services, economy and environment of the UK.
This article is published as part of the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme. The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing.
The estimated population of the world passed the 7 billion mark on 31st October 2011 and is projected to exceed the 10 billion mark by 2100.
The estimated resident population of the UK was 62.3 million in mid-20101 , an increase of 470,000 (0.8 per cent) on the previous year and the highest annual growth rate since mid-1962.
The latest 2010-based national population projections show that the UK’s population is projected to reach 67.6 million by 2021 and increase further to 71.8 million by 2031.
There are more females than males in the UK population; 31.6 million females compared with 30.6 million males in 2010.
The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to become larger than the number aged under 16 in about 2023.
Between mid-2001 and mid-2010, net natural change (the difference between births and deaths) went up from 62,000 between 2001 and 2002 to 243,000 between 2009 and 2010.
Between 2009 and 2010, net natural change added 3.9 people and net migration and other changes added 3.7 people for every 1,000 resident in the UK.
In 2010, in the UK, there were approximately 810,000 live births and approximately 560,000 deaths.
An estimated 339,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year to December 2010 while the estimate of long-term international immigration to the UK in the same period is 591,000.
During the year ending September 2010, England experienced a relatively small net loss to other countries in the UK of around 3,500 people, with an outflow of 96,100 and an inflow of 92,600 people.
In 2010/11 there were 702,520 National Insurance Number (NINo) registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK, an increase of 132,800 registrations (23 per cent) compared with 2009/10.
Mid-2011 population estimates for England and Wales will be available autumn 2012 while the first set of release tables from the 2011 Census will be available in July 2012. For details of the proposed running order of the 2011 Census outputs see:Census 2011
The population of the world has increased from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 6.9 billion in 2010. It was estimated that the population of the world passed 7 billion on 31st October 2011. Projected growth shows an increase to 9.3 billion in 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. Compared to 2011, when less than 8 per cent of the population of the world were estimated to be aged 65 or over, by 2100 it is projected that over 22 per cent will be in this age group. By contrast, in the UK the percentage of the population aged 65 or over is estimated to be approximately 17 per cent in 2011 and is projected to reach nearly 28 per cent by 2100. Growth in population in the UK is shown in Table 1 and the age distribution of this growing population in Table 2 below.
According to the United Nations ‘World Population Prospectus’ (UN, 2011) the United Kingdom’s pattern of population growth rates is different to those of Europe or the world as a whole (Figure 1). Average growth rates in the world were above 1.5 per cent for the five-year periods from 1950–1955 to 1990–1995 and reached a peak of nearly 2.1 per cent on average in the period 1965–1970. Between 1995–2000 and 2005–2010 there has been a steady decline in the average growth rate of the world population to an average of 1.2 per cent. This decrease in the average growth rate is projected to continue so that it will be less than an average of 0.1 per cent in the last twenty years of the 21st century.
Neither Europe nor the UK has experienced the large average growth rates seen in the world as a whole. In Europe there was a steady decline in the average growth rate from 1.0 per cent in 1950–55 to an average decrease of 0.02 per cent in 1995–2000. After small increases in average growth rates over the next ten years, it is projected that there will be negative growth rates in Europe in each five year period between 2020–2025 and 2090–2095.
|United Kingdom||England||Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
Table 1 shows the estimated resident population of the UK was 62.3 million in mid-2010, an increase of 470,000 (0.8 per cent) on the previous year and the highest annual growth rate since mid-1962. The rate of population growth has become considerably faster since the mid-2000s. Between 1980 and 2000 the annual growth rate averaged 0.2 per cent, adding an estimated 127,800 people per year. Between 2001 and 2005 the average rate of population growth had increased to about 0.5 per cent (about 280,500 people per annum) and between 2006 and 2010 the average rate had further increased to 0.7 per cent per annum (about 419,400 extra residents per annum). Of the 62.3 million people resident in the UK in mid-2010, an estimated 52.2 million (84 per cent) were in England, 5.2 million (8 per cent) were in Scotland, 3.0 million (5 per cent) in Wales and 1.8 million (3 per cent) in Northern Ireland.
The latest 2010-based national population projections (ONS, 2011), show that the UK’s population is projected to reach 67.6 million by 2021 and increase further to 71.8 million by 2031. The 2010-based national population projections for England suggest that the population will hit the 57.0 million mark by 2021 and increase further to 60.8 million by 2031. The 2010-based population projections for Wales suggest that the population will increase to 3.3 million by 2031, while the population for Scotland and Northern Ireland are projected to rise to 5.7 million and 2.0 million respectively.
Data from Eurostat shows by 2045 the UK's population is projected to become the highest in Europe at 75.0 million followed by Germany (72.9 million) and France (72.8 million1) (EU, 2011).
The structure of the population varies across the UK. Using the latest population estimates and projections data, this interactive graph allows you to compare national, regional and local populations in terms of size and structure. Animation is used to overlay the graphs for easier comparison as well as visualising changes over time. Sub-national Population Projections
Mid 2010 population estimates are available at national level by age and sex and sub nationally (local authority/health area) by five year age group and sex. These include additional selected age groups and broad components of population change. The population estimates reflect the local authority administrative boundaries that were in place on 30 June of the reference year of the tables. Population Estimates for UK
Population estimates for Lower and Middle Layer Super Output Areas in England and Wales by age and sex. These estimates are consistent with the local authority population estimates. The methodology used to produce the LSOA and MSOA estimates differs to the method used to produce the local authority mid-year estimates, and is subject to further development. Population and migration theme pages >Population change > Population estimates.
Shows mid-year estimates for wards. The ward estimates available to download or view are for (Census Area Statistics) CAS wards and 2010 wards. Ward estimates for other age groups are available on request. Population Estimates for UK
Population of the very elderly (including centenarians) by gender, single year of age (90 to 104) and by age groups (90-99, 100+ and 105+) for the UK and England & Wales. Focus on Older People
National population projections by age and sex for the UK and constituent countries. Includes information on the principal (main) and variant (alternative scenario) projections for each country together with details of the fertility, mortality and migration assumptions on which they are based Population and migration theme pages > Population change > Population estimates.
An animated population pyramid graphic that allows you to compare different national population projections with each other. In addition to the principal (main) projection, the variant projections available for comparison are based on alternative assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration. Animation makes it easier to see the impact of the differing assumptions on future population structures. This interactive census timeline brings to life how sensitive the size and structure of population is to major events and social change. You’ll see how pandemics, medical breakthroughs, wars and social change have shaped, and continue to shape, the population of England and Wales (see Interactive content on ONS homepage).
The number of people in each age group within the population depends on how many people are born in a particular period and how long they live, as well as the numbers and ages of migrants moving to - and from - the country.
|85 and over||126||141||212||312||460||482||602||757||938|
|85 and over||359||462||661||817||951||970||1,074||1,211||1,401|
There are more females than males in the overall UK population; 31.6 million females compared with 30.6 million males in 2010 (Table 2). In 2010, males outnumbered females up to age 34; while at older ages females outnumber males, reflecting the higher life expectancy of females. The difference in the numbers of males and females decreased from the early 2000s onward.
The average age of the UK population continues to increase gradually (ONS, 2011a). In 1985, there were around 690,000 people in the UK aged 85 and over, accounting for 1 per cent of the population. Since then the numbers have more than doubled reaching 1.4 million in 2010 (2 per cent of the UK population). By 2035 the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to be two and-a-half times larger than in 2010, reaching approximately 3.5 million and accounting for 5 per cent of the total population.
In terms of planning, one area of concern is the growth in the numbers in the ‘oldest old’ age groups as it is likely that they will make more use of health and social care services. Over the last 30 years the number of centenarians (people aged 100 years or more) in the UK has increased five fold from an estimated 2,500 in 1980 to 12,640 in 2010 (ONS, 2011b). The estimated number of centenarians in the UK increased by 84 per cent between 2000 and 2010, the largest percentage increase of 86 per cent, occurred in England and Wales, while the smallest increase was in Northern Ireland at 47 per cent. Current population projections suggest the number of centenarians in the UK will be approximately 100,000 by 2035, almost eight times the 2010 estimate (ONS, 2011a).
What does the structure of the UK's population look like? How many males and females are currently at school age, working age or at retirement age? How has that picture changed over time and how is it projected to change? Based on the latest ONS population estimates and projections data, this highly interactive, animated graphic allows you to explore these questions and more (see Interactive content on ONS homepage ).
An interactive mapping tool which allows you to analyse the age structure of the population at the local authority level more easily. You can see how the population has aged over time and is projected to continue to age by selecting from a list of indicators of population ageing, such as median age. Animating the map brings the data to life (see Interactive content on ONS homepage ).
This interactive, animated graphic shows how the age structure of England and Wales has changed in the past and how it is projected to change in the future, using the latest official population estimates and projections data (see Interactive content on ONS homepage ).
Figure 2 shows the estimated and projected number of residents in the UK in two age groups, under 16 and 65 and over. There was a decrease in the number of those aged under 16 between 1971 and 1989 from 14.3 million to 11.5 million followed by relatively stable numbers over the next two decades. The number of residents under the age of 16 is projected to rise from 11.6 million in 2010 to 13.1 million in 2031. For the older age group there is a steady increase in numbers from 7.4 million in 1971 to 10.3 million in 2010, followed by a higher projected rate of growth which leads to a increase from 10.5 to 15.8 million between 2011 and 2031. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to become larger than the number aged under 16 in about 2023.
It should be noted that Eurostat methods/assumptions for population projections may differ from those used for ONS population projections.
|Population at start of period||Net migration and other2|
|Net natural change||Overall change|
Mid-year estimates for 1951-1961 to 2009-2010.
In the two decades between 1981 and 2001, net natural change (the difference between births and deaths) was the main driver behind population growth (Table 3). Between 2001 and 2010, the effect of net inward migration and other changes on overall population begins to be more noticeable with an average annual increase of 195,000 compared to an increase of 155,000 from net natural change.
Annual changes in the UK between mid-2001 and mid-2010 show an increasing trend in the number of live births and a decreasing trend in the number of deaths. This resulted in net natural change increasing from 62,000 between 2001 and 2002 to 243,000 between 2009 and 2010.
Over the same time period, the estimated contribution to population change of net migration has varied. In each year between 2001 and 2007, net migration was higher than net natural change with the largest increase of 267,000 between 2004 and 2005, coinciding with the A8 accession countries1 joining the European Union. However, net natural change was again larger than net migration and other changes between 2007 and 2010. Between 2009 and 2010, net natural change added 3.9 people for every 1,000 residents in the UK and net migration and other change added 3.7 people.
In general, the size of net natural change (the difference between births and deaths) has been driven by changes in the numbers of births rather than in the numbers of deaths. While there are obvious increases in deaths related to the two world wars and to the Spanish influenza outbreak, just after the First World War, the numbers do not vary by as much as those for births.
The two world wars had a major impact on births. There was a substantial fall in the number of births during the First World War, followed by a post-war ‘baby-boom’ with the number of births reaching 1.1 million in 1920, the highest number of births in any single year during the 20th century (Figure 3). Births then decreased and the number remained low during the 1930s’ depression and World War Two. A second ‘baby-boom’ occurred after World War Two, followed by a further boom during the 1960s.
From about 1990, the number of births fell gradually to its lowest level of 668,800 in 2002, and then increased each year to 2010. In 2010 in the UK there were approximately 810,000 live births, an increase of 20,000 (2.9 per cent) compared with 2009. There were approximately 560,000 deaths in the UK in 2010 compared with 656,000 in 1901. The increase in population combined with the lower number of deaths has resulted in large declines in mortality rates (ONS, 2011c). In 2010, mortality rates in England and Wales were the lowest on record at 6,406 deaths per million for males and 4,581 per million for females. These improvements in mortality are mainly driven by medical advances.
Presents data on death registrations in England and Wales and contains data for death rates, cause of death data by sex and age and death registrations by area of residence. Deaths
The tables contain data for numbers of live births, fertility rates, percentage of births outside marriage, sex ratio, mean age of mother, area of usual residence of mother and country of birth of mother and father. Births
Population numbers also change because of emigration from and immigration to the UK. An estimated 339,000 people emigrated from the UK in the year to December 2010 (ONS, 2011d). This continues the decline since the year to December 2008 when total emigration from the UK was estimated at 427,000 (Figure 4). The final estimate of long-term international immigration2 to the UK in the year to December 2010 was 591,000; this level has been broadly maintained since 2004 (ONS, 2011e).
Since Poland and seven other central and eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004, around 66 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending December 2010 the Polish-born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 532,000. More recently immigration of Polish people had declined. Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but has declined to 39,000 in 2009 (ONS, 2011f).
In addition to births, deaths and international migration, changes in population numbers in areas within the UK occur because residents move from one area to another (internal migration). Population gains and losses due to internal migration have important implications for housing planning as well as for the provision of welfare services. Estimates are based on information on re-registrations with NHS doctors and other sources.
|Country of origin|
|United Kingdom||England||Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
During the year ending September 2010, England experienced a relatively small net loss to other countries in the UK of around 3,500 people with an outflow of 96,100 and an inflow of 92,600 people (Table 4). Scotland and Wales experienced small net gains of around 2,100 people and 1,900 people respectively, while Northern Ireland experienced a net loss of approximately 400 people.
At a regional level within England, London experienced the most population movement overall during the year ending September 2010 (ONS, 2011g). Around 209,600 people moved from the capital to elsewhere in England while 164,000 people moved into the area, resulting in a net loss of 45,600 residents. The majority of those moving out of London moved to the adjacent regions of the South East and the East of England.
For annual statistics on flows of international migrants to and from the UK and England and Wales, follow the International Migration link on the Population and migration theme pages
For data on Internal migration, by Local Authority and Government Office Regions in England and Wales, follow the Migration within the UK link on the Population and migration theme pages
|Yorkshire and the Humber||36,500||41,330||42,160||37,770||29,940||36,740|
|East of England||52,780||52,730||51,790||52,210||42,340||51,240|
National Insurance Number (NINo) registrations tell us about individuals entering the UK who have registered; they do not tell us whether those individuals are still in the UK. In 2010/11 there were 702,520 NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK, an increase of 132,800 registrations (23 per cent) compared with 2009/10 (Table 5). There were 301,100 registrations within the London region (43 per cent of all registrations). The North East and Northern Ireland had the fewest registrations with 11,390 and 9,390 respectively.
In the year 2009/10, four out of every five NINo registrations were made by adult overseas nationals aged 18 to 34, while 55 per cent of NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals were made by men, this proportion increased slightly from 53 per cent in the previous year. In 2009/10, in Northern Ireland, 7,500 applications for National Insurance numbers were made by adult overseas nationals, of which 1,600 (22 per cent) were made by Polish Nationals.
Accession eight otherwise known as the A8. The eight A8 countries are; Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia and Slovenia, and joined the EU on 1 May 2004. Nationals of the A8 countries are allowed to enter the UK to look for and to take up employment or self-employment.
International migration estimates. An international migrant is defined as someone who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination becomes the country of usual residence.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
DWP, 2011 - National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK. Full report available at: DWP: National Insurance Number Allocations to Adult Overseas Nationals entering the UK
EU, 2011 - 1st January population: by sex and 5 year age groups (table proj_10c2150p), available at: Eurostat
ONS, 2011 - National Population Projections, 2010-based projections available at: National Population Projections
ONS, 2011a - Older People's Day, 2011. Statistical bulletin available at: Focus on Older People
ONS, 2001b - Population estimates of the very elderly, 2010 available at: Population Estimates for UK
ONS, 2011c - Mortality rates in England and Wales, available at: Deaths
ONS, 2011d - Migration Statistics Quarterly Report November 2011, available at:Migration Statistics Quarterly Report
ONS, 2011e - Provisional IPS estimates of long-term international migration December 2010; Polish People in the UK both available at:Migration statistics reference tables
ONS, 2011f - A summary of the number of Polish People in the UK is available at: Migration Statistics Quarterly Report
ONS, 2011g - NHSCR Inter-regional migration movements, year ending September 2010 available at: Internal Migration (NHSCR) Interregional Movements
UN, 2011 - The 2010 Revision of the World Population Prospectus is the twenty-second round of global demographic estimates and projections undertaken by the Population Division of the United Nations Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. The world population prospects are used widely throughout the United Nations and by many international organisations, research centres, academic researchers and the media. Available at: UN: World Population Prospects
This article is published as part of the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme.
The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing. It is about looking at 'GDP and beyond' and includes:
Greater analysis of the national economic accounts, especially to understand household income, expenditure and wealth.
Further accounts linked to the national accounts, including the UK Environmental Accounts and valuing household production and 'human capital'.
Quality of life measures, looking at different areas of national well-being such as health, relationships, job satisfaction, economic security, education environmental conditions.
Working with others to include the measurement of the well-being of children and young people as part of national well-being.
Measures of 'subjective well-being' - individuals' assessment of their own well-being.
Headline indicators to summarise national well-being and the progress we are making as a society.
The programme is underpinned by a communication and engagement workstream, providing links with Cabinet Office and policy departments, international developments, the public and other stakeholders. The programme is working closely with Defra on the measurement of 'sustainable development' to provide a complete picture of national well-being, progress and sustainable development.