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Release: National Population Projections, 2010-Based Projections

Released: 26 October 2011 Next edition: 23 November 2011


Suzanne Dunsmith

Population Projections Unit

Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444652

Categories: National Population Projections, Population, Population Projections, Population Change

Frequency of release: Biennially

Language: English

Geographical coverage: UK

Geographical breakdown: Country

  • The UK population is projected to increase by 4.9 million from an estimated 62.3 million in 2010 to 67.2 million by 2020 and to 73.2 million over the 25 year period to mid-2035.

  • Projected natural increase (more births than deaths) accounts for 56 per cent of the projected increase over the next decade.

  • The UK population is projected to reach 70 million by mid-2027.

  • The population is projected to continue ageing with the average (median) age rising from 39.7 years in 2010 to 39.9 years in 2020 and 42.2 by 2035.

National population projections are available by age and sex for the UK and its constituent countries. They are based on the annual mid-year population estimates for 2010 and a set of underlying assumptions of future levels of fertility, mortality and net migration.

You can easily access the detailed reference tables from this release by using the NPP interactive table download tool.

The projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. They provide an indication of the impact that changes in demographic patterns might have on the size and age structure of the population in the future.

Projections become increasingly uncertain the further they are carried forward and long-term projections should be used with caution. To help understand the uncertainty, a number of variant projections are also produced which are based on alternative demographic scenarios. Nine variants are published with this release and a further 11 will be published on 23 November.

National population projections are used as a common framework for national planning and policy making in a number of fields such as fiscal sustainability, health, education and state pensions policy. They also provide the base for other products such as subnational population projections and household projections, which are widely used for resource allocation and planning. Further information on the fitness for purpose of the population projections can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information paper for national population projections (290.9 Kb Pdf)

Other Useful Information

The projections are produced in partnership with the National Records of Scotland (NRS), the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and the Statistical Directorate of the Welsh Government. 

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

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