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Statistical bulletin: Annual Mid-year Population Estimates for England and Wales, Mid 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 25 September 2012 Download PDF

Key Points

  • The population of England and Wales was estimated to be 56,170,900 in mid-2011, with the population of England estimated to be 53,107,200 and the population of Wales estimated to be 3,063,800.
  • The population of England and Wales increased by 95,000 (0.2 per cent) between 2011 Census day (27 March) and the mid-year point (30 June).
  • In England and Wales there were 187,600 births and 121,000 deaths in the three months between 2011 Census day and the mid-year point.
  • The estimated flow of international migrants into England and Wales between 2011 Census day and the mid-year point was 98,200 and the estimated flow out of England and Wales was 68,500.
  • Compared to the 26 member states of the European Union (excluding the UK), the population of England and Wales ranks fourth, behind Germany, France and Italy.

Summary

This bulletin presents the key messages shown by the 2011 mid-year population estimates. It provides information on the size and age structure of the population of England and Wales at 30 June 2011. They are based on 2011 Census estimates, updated to be consistent with the annual series of mid-year population estimates.

The estimates are presented for the regions of England and for local and unitary authorities within England and Wales. Contextual information including further details about the relationship between these data and the results of the 2011 Census is also provided.

Introduction

The mid-year estimates refer to the population on 30 June of the reference year and are published annually. They are the official set of population estimates for the UK and its constituent countries, the regions of England and Wales and local authorities. However, this publication relates only to mid-2011 estimates for England and Wales.

The full publication including national level estimates for the UK is scheduled to be published in Spring 2013 when estimates for mid-2011 will be available for all of the constituent countries. Population estimates for Northern Ireland are produced by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and for Scotland by National Records of Scotland (NRS). Further details of the timetables for population outputs are available for each country on their respective websites.

The official 2011 mid-year estimates for England and Wales, referred to in this bulletin, are based on the 2011 Census, updated to account for population change during the period between Census day (27 March 2011) and the mid-year point (30 June 2011). A combination of registration, survey and administrative data is used to estimate the different components of population change.

Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (those people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months).

ONS publishes statistics on short-term migrants separately; mid-2010 short term migration estimates for England and Wales were published in February 2012. Experimental estimates of short-term migration at local authority level for mid-2008 to mid-2010 were also published in February 2012.

The mid-year population estimates are essential building blocks for a wide range of National Statistics. They are used directly as a base for other secondary population statistics, such as population projections, population estimates by ethnic group and population estimates for small geographical areas. They are used for weighting survey estimates such as the Labour Force Survey and other social surveys to ensure that they are representative of the total population, and they are used as denominators for rates or ratios, for example in health and economic indicators.

They are an important input to a wide number of key economic and social statistics. Key users include central and local government and the health sector, where they are used for planning and monitoring service delivery, resource allocation and managing the economy. Additionally, they are used by a wider range of organisations such as commercial companies (for market research), special interest groups and academia as well as being of interest to the general public.

For further information on how ONS population estimates meet user needs along with information on their fitness for purpose, please see the Quality and Methodology Information.

Mid-2011 population estimates

The mid-year population estimates series provides annual estimates of the size and composition of the UK population. The census collects a wide range of information about the population every ten years; it is the most complete source of information about the population and produces a high-quality population estimate to which the annual estimates are rebased each decade.

The 2011 Census took place on 27 March and Census day estimates for England and Wales, including local authority level estimates, were published in July 2012 with a further release containing more detailed estimates published in September 2012. The mid-2011 estimates are the first annual population estimates to be based on the 2011 Census. They are published in order to: 

  • Ensure the availability of a consistent time series of estimates (population estimates are required for 30 June each year).

  • Provide a base for revisions to the estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010. The revised estimates will take into account the additional information that the 2011 Census has provided about how the population of England and Wales has changed during the decade.

The population of England and Wales

The estimated usual resident population of England and Wales in mid-2011 was 56,170,900; 53,107,200 in England and 3,063,800 in Wales. Figure 1 below shows the size of the population of England and Wales during the one hundred year period from mid-1911 to mid-2011.

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for England and Wales, decennial intervals, mid-1911 to mid-2011

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for England and Wales, decennial intervals, mid-1911 to mid-2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Mid-year population estimates were produced for different residence definitions during the period from 1911 to 2011. In particular the estimate for 1941 includes only the civilian population. See background note 10 for further details.

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The population of England and Wales increased by approximately 20 million (55.4 per cent) during the last one hundred years and by approximately 4 million (7.3 per cent) during the last decade. The increase in population between 2001 and 2011 was the largest in percentage terms in the last century, excluding the increase between the 1941 and 1951 estimates as the mid-year estimate for 1941 excluded the additional armed forces population present during the Second World War.

Population Structure

In mid-2011, the population of England and Wales consisted of 27,637,600 males (49.2 per cent) and 28,533,300 females (50.8 per cent). The full age and sex structure of the population is shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Population pyramid for England and Wales, mid-2011

Figure 2: Population pyramid for England and Wales, mid-2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. The pyramid stops at age 89, causing the top of the pyramid to be flat. Although the very elderly (those aged 90 and over) are included in the mid-2011 population estimates, estimates by single year of age are not due to be published until 2013.

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Each line in the pyramid represents a single year of age and the length of the line relates to the number of people of that age in the population. The size and composition of the population is determined by the pattern of births, deaths and migration that have taken place in previous years. Some key details illustrated by the pyramid for mid-2011 are:

  • Peaks and wide areas of the pyramid reflecting high numbers of births (particularly for people aged 63-64 born following the Second World War and those aged 40-49, born during the 1960s baby boom).

  • The sharp narrowing of the pyramid for people aged around 10 years, a consequence of low numbers of births at the turn of the century, and the broadening of the base of the pyramid due to a higher numbers of births in recent years.

  • At older ages females outnumber males, reflecting the higher life expectancy of females.

The median age of the population of England and Wales at mid-2011 was 39.5.

 

Comparison with 2011 Census estimates

The first release of population estimates for England and Wales on Census day 2011 (27 March) was published in July 2012. The mid-2011 population estimates described in this bulletin reflect the population as at 30 June 2011 and include an estimate of the population change that occurred between Census day and the mid-year reference date of 30 June.

The estimates are based on the 2011 Census estimates, with the location of armed forces adjusted to the local authority where they are usually based (see background note 7). The resident population is aged to account for those who had a birthday between Census day and the mid-year reference date (30 June). Those born during the three month period are added to the population and those who have died are removed.

The estimates take into account the movement of people coming to live within England and Wales and those leaving to live abroad (international migrants). They also account for the movement of people between different areas of the UK (internal migrants). Internal migration includes both cross-border moves between the four constituent countries and moves between local areas within England and Wales. Full details of the methods used to create the estimates are available in a separate methodology report.

Table 1 shows the difference between the mid-2011 population estimates at national level and the 2011 Census estimates.

Table 1: Mid-2011 population estimates compared to 2011 Census estimates, England and Wales

  2011 Census Population (thousands) Mid-2011 Population (thousands) Percentage Change
       
England and Wales 56,075.9 56,170.9 0.17
 
England 53,013.5 53,107.2 0.18
Wales 3,062.4 3,063.8 0.04
   

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

  2. 2011 Census estimates may not exactly match those previously published (see background note 7)

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Overall, the population of England and Wales increased by 95,000 (0.17 per cent) during the three month period between Census day and the mid-year point. England accounted for approximately 93,700 of the 95,000 population increase, with the population of Wales increasing by approximately 1,300.

Details of the main components of population change over the three month period are shown in Table 2 below. It demonstrates the contribution of the different types of change; ie the contribution of vital events (births minus deaths) compared with migration.  It should be noted though that the two net figures are not independent over time, as past immigrants contribute to the number of births and deaths in subsequent years.

Table 2: Components of population change, England and Wales, Census day to mid-2011

Thousands 27 March to 30 June 2011 
   
Population at start of period                            56,075.9
 
Births                                 187.6
Deaths                                 121.0
Net: births minus deaths                                   66.6
 
In migration - from rest of the UK                                   11.9
Out migration - to rest of the UK                                   13.1
Net migration from rest of the UK -1.3
 
In migration - international 98.2
Out migration - international 68.5
Net international migration 29.7
 
Total Net migration                                   28.4
 
Total change                                   95.0
Population at end of period                            56,170.9
   

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding
  2. See background note 9 for further details of factors included in the total net migration estimate
  3. 2011 Census estimates (the population at start of period) may not exactly match those previously published (see background note 7)

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There were 187,600 births and 121,000 deaths during the three month period, resulting in a population increase of approximately 66,600 due to vital events (births minus deaths). Over the same period 98,200 international migrants arrived in England and Wales and 68,500 international migrants left England and Wales to live abroad. The combined effect of international migration and moves between England and Wales and the rest of the UK resulted in a net increase in population of 28,400.  

Flows of international migrants demonstrate seasonal variation reflecting their reason for travel. Immigration flows are higher in the later summer and autumn months, for example, when students enter the country to take up courses in higher education. Immigration flows are comparatively lower for the three month period between end of March and June.

Regions of England and Wales

Mid-2011 population estimates for the regions of England and Wales, presented in Table 3 below, show that the population increase between Census day and mid-year 2011 was greatest in the south and east of England. London had the highest population increase of 0.37 per cent during the three month period with the East, South East and South West regions increasing by 0.25, 0.18 and 0.17 per cent respectively. The North East of England had the smallest population increase between Census day and the mid-year point at 0.03 per cent, while the population of Wales increased by 0.04 per cent.

These broad differences in population change across the regions of England and Wales are consistent with those reported in recent years. The Statistical Bulletin that was published with the mid-year population estimates for 2010 describes population change in the estimates based on the 2001 census, updated annually until mid-2010.

Table 3: Mid-2011 population estimates compared to 2011 Census estimates, regions of England and Wales

  Census 2011 Population (thousands) Mid-2011 Population (thousands) Percentage Change
       
England and Wales                      56,075.9 56,170.9 0.17
England 53,013.5 53,107.2 0.18
North East 2,595.7 2,596.4 0.03
North West 7,049.7 7,056.0 0.09
Yorkshire and The Humber 5,284.0 5,288.2 0.08
East Midlands 4,532.0 4,537.4 0.12
West Midlands 5,600.7 5,608.7 0.14
East   5,848.0 5,862.4 0.25
London 8,174.0 8,204.4 0.37
South East 8,637.6 8,652.8 0.18
South West 5,291.8 5,300.8 0.17
Wales 3,062.4 3,063.8 0.04
       

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding
  2. 2011 Census estimates may not exactly match those previously published (see background note 7)

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Comparison with 2001 Census based estimates

A high level reconciliation report explaining national level differences between 2011 Census estimates and population estimates for March 2011 rolled forward from the 2001 Census, was published alongside the first release of 2011 Census data in July 2012. The report identified that the rolled forward estimates were 476,000 lower than the 2011 Census estimate for England and Wales and discusses initial research carried out into the potential causes of this difference.

A new report, examining the difference between 2011 mid-year population estimates and the mid-2011 estimates rolled forward from the 2001 Census at local authority level, has been published to accompany this release on the ONS website. At local authority level the picture is more complex as the size of the difference between the two sets of estimates varies between different local areas across the country and there are more potential causes for the difference. In particular some of the differences at local area level will result from the measurement of people who have moved between local authorities (internal migrants).

European comparisons

The estimated population of England and Wales alongside that of the member states of the European Union (EU), at mid-2011, is shown in Figure 3 below. The population of England and Wales ranks fourth compared to the 26 EU countries shown, behind Germany, France and Italy. England and Wales has approximately 26 million fewer people than Germany and 5 million fewer than Italy.

The population of the UK is not included in the chart as official population estimates for mid-2011 are not yet available. However, if the latest official estimate of the UK (for mid-2010) were shown then the UK would rank third, with approximately 1.5 million more people than Italy.

 

Figure 3: Estimated total population of England and Wales and EU countries, mid-2011

Figure 3: Estimated total population of England and Wales and EU countries, mid-2011
Source: Eurostat, Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Mid-2011 populations for EU countries are estimated by interpolating from the Eurostat estimates for 1 January 2011 and 1 January 2012.

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Table 4 shows that population growth in England and Wales between mid-2001 and mid-2011 was 7.3 per cent, more than twice that for the EU26 (EU excluding the UK) but only 0.7 percentage points higher than the growth that occurred in Italy and France. Population growth in Spain was nearly twice that of England and Wales, while Germany’s population declined.

Table 4: Population increase in England and Wales and selected countries of the European Union with largest populations, mid-2001 to mid-2011

Country Percentage Increase
   
EU26 (EU excluding UK) 3.5
Spain                         13.4
England and Wales 7.3
Italy 6.6
France 6.6
Germany -0.7
   

Table notes:

  1. Source: Eurostat, Office for National Statistics
  2. Population increases for EU countries are calculated by interpolating from Eurostat estimates for 1 January 2001, 2002, 2011 and 2012.

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Future improvements to migration and population statistics

In March 2012, ONS completed a four year programme to improve migration and population statistics. A recent output from this programme was improved methods for estimating international immigration at local authority level. Indicative population estimates for the years mid-2006 to mid-2010 that were derived using the improved migration estimates were published in a research report in November 2011. These improved methods will now be used to produce the official mid-year population estimates from mid-2011 onwards.

Following the publication of results from the 2011 Census and the two reconciliation reports published in July 2012 and in conjunction with this release, further work will be undertaken to understand the reasons for the difference between the population estimates rolled forward from 2001 and those based on the 2011 Census data. These reports, information on how this work will be reported and a programme of upcoming releases are available on the ONS website.

The results of the full reconciliation exercise are being used to inform revisions to the population estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010 to ensure the availability of a consistent time series of population estimates.

ONS will also continue research to make further improvements to population statistics. Priority areas for future developments will be set following the completion of the Census reconciliation exercise taking into account consultation with users.

Publication schedule

These mid-2011 estimates for England and Wales are the first population estimates product to be published based on the results of the 2011 Census. Future releases of population estimates and projections in 2012 and 2013 include: 

  • 28 September 2012: Interim subnational population projections for a 10 year horizon (based on 2011 mid-year population estimates).

  • December 2012-January 2013: Revised population estimates for England and Wales, mid-2002 to mid-2010.

  • March-April 2013: Revised population estimates for subnational areas in England and Wales, mid-2002 to mid-2010.

  • March-April 2013: Super Output Area population estimates for England and Wales, mid-2011 (2011 Census based).

  • Spring 2013: Mid-2011 population estimates for the UK (2011 Census based).

Some dates given here are provisional. Any changes or confirmation of dates will be announced on the UK statistics Publication Hub release calendar.

Background notes

  1. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

  2. An Overview of Population Statistics is available on the ONS website.

  3. Mid-2011 population estimates data for England and Wales are available on the ONS website. Published tables for mid-2011 include England and Wales by single year of age and sex; local authority and Strategic Health Authority by selected and five-year age groups; and broad components of population change. Unformatted tables to enable re-use of the data are also published for local authorities and primary care organisations by single year of age and sex.

  4. 2011 Census results for England and Wales are available on the ONS website.

  5. The 2011 Census in Scotland is run by National Records of Scotland (NRS); the first release of data is scheduled to be published in December 2012. Population estimates for Scotland are also produced by NRS.

  6. 2011 Census results for Northern Ireland are produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and are available on their website. Population estimates for Northern Ireland are also produced by NISRA.

  7. In order to ensure that the members of the armed forces were enumerated consistently, the 2011 Census was designed so that members of the armed forces were enumerated at their ‘permanent or family home’ (this is considered to be their usual residence for census purposes). The mid-year estimates definition of usual residence for armed forces is different as it may be either their ‘permanent or family home’ or the armed forces base, depending on individual circumstances.

    For the purposes of calculating mid-year population estimates, an adjustment has been applied to the 2011 Census data at local authority level to reallocate members of the home armed forces from their ‘permanent or family home’ to their place of residence at the armed forces base, where these are different. Therefore the subnational 2011 Census data quoted in this report may not exactly match the census data published in July and September 2012. Full details of this adjustment can be found in the methodology document linked in background note 8.

  8. A full report describing the methodology used to create the mid-2011 population estimates is available.

  9. Net migration estimates quoted in this report include net international migration, net flows of asylum seekers, the net effect of cross-border moves between England and Wales and the remainder of the UK, and 2011 Census disclosure control adjustments.

  10. Mid-year population estimates were produced for different residence definitions during the period from 1911 to 2011. Estimates for 1961 to 2011 represent the usually resident population. Estimates for 1911, 1921 and 1951 are very similar, showing the ‘home’ population, which excludes armed forces serving overseas. The estimate for 1931 shows ‘total’ population including armed forces overseas. The estimate for 1941 is civilian population only.

  11. Further information on the quality of mid-year population estimates can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) document.

  12. This is the first release of mid-2011 population estimates. No revisions of this dataset have been made.

  13. Information on those people that have pre-release access can be found on the ONS Website (38.8 Kb Pdf) .

  14. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office. Also available is a list of the names of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this release. © Crown copyright 2012.

    You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

    You can view this in a number of ways. By Email or going to the National Archives or alternatively writing to:

    The Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU.

  15. The next publication will be Spring 2013.

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Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Alison Whitworth +44 (0)1329 444661 Population Estimates Unit pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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