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Statistical bulletin: Annual Mid-year Population Estimates, 2011 and 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 08 August 2013 Download PDF

Key Points

  • The population of the UK was estimated to be 63.7 million in mid-2012, up from the estimated 63.3 million in mid-2011. This represents a growth of 419,900 (0.7%) in the year to 30 June 2012.
  • The estimated populations of the four constituent countries of the UK in mid-2012 are 53.5 million people in England, 5.3 million in Scotland, 3.1 million in Wales and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland.
  • In the UK there were 813,200 births and 558,800 deaths occurring in the year to 30 June 2012. This is the largest number of births seen since 1972.
  • The population of the UK aged 65 and over was 10.8 million (17% of the UK population) in mid-2012.
  • The estimated flow of international migrants to the UK in the year to 30 June 2012 was 517,800 and estimated outflow for the same period was 352,100. This means that UK net migration was 165,600 in the year to mid-2012.
  • The population increase of the UK in the year to 30 June 2012 was caused by there being 254,400 more births than deaths (61% of the increase) and 165,600 more international migrants arriving than emigrants leaving (39% of the increase).
  • The mid-2012 population of the UK ranks third, behind Germany and France when compared to other member states of the European Union.
  • The absolute increase in population of the UK was greater than that of any other European Union member state during the 12 months to 30 June 2012.

Summary

This bulletin presents the main messages shown by the 2011 and 2012 mid-year population estimates. It provides information on the size and age structure of the population of the United Kingdom (UK) at 30 June 2012 and includes the first publication of the census based 2011 mid-year population estimates for the UK. Estimates are presented for the regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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. This publication relates to mid-2011 and mid-2012 estimates of the UK. Population estimates for Northern Ireland are produced by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and for Scotland by National Records of Scotland (NRS). The timetables for population outputs are available for each country on their respective websites.

The official 2012 mid-year estimates for the UK referred to in this bulletin, build on the 2011 census based mid-year estimates that are published concurrently with this release. The mid-2011 estimates are updated to account for population change during the period between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 to give the mid-2012 estimates. A combination of registration, survey and administrative data are 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 (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).

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 for the very old 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 for a wide number of economic and social statistics. Main 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.

Further information on population estimates across the UK including methodology, quality and data sources is available in an information note (100.8 Kb Pdf) .

Mid-2011 and mid-2012 UK population estimates

The mid-year population estimates series provide annual estimates of the size and composition of the UK population.

The population of the United Kingdom

The estimated usual resident population of the UK in mid-2012 was 63,705,000.  This was comprised of 53,493,700 in England, 5,313,600 in Scotland, 3,074,100 in Wales and 1,823,600 in Northern Ireland.

A year earlier in mid-2011 the estimated usual resident population of the UK was 63,285,100.  This was made up of 53,107,200 in England, 5,299,900 in Scotland, 3,063,800 in Wales and 1,814,300 in Northern Ireland.

Figure 1 below shows the distribution of the estimated population between the four constituent countries of the UK for mid-2011 and mid-2012.

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for the United Kingdom by country, mid-2011 and mid-2012

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for the United Kingdom by country, mid-2011 and mid-2012

Notes:

  1. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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The estimated usual resident population of the UK increased by 419,900 (0.7%) in the year ending 30 June 2012; by 386,600 (0.7%) in England, 13,700 (0.3%) in Scotland, 10,300 (0.3%) in Wales and 9,300 (0.5%) in Northern Ireland.  Compared with the annual population change seen over the period since mid-2001, the increase in the year ending mid-2012 is about average for the period.

Growth rates among the countries of the UK for the period since mid-2001 range from a high of 8.3% for England to 4.9% for Scotland.  Note that as a consistent UK series covering 2002-2010 will not be available until later in 2013 we are comparing with mid-2001 estimates.  Map 1 shows the overall population change in more detail for the countries of the UK and English Regions during the period.

Map 1: Change in mid-year population estimates for constituent countries and regions of the United Kingdom, mid-2001 to mid-2012

Map showing the overall population change for the countries of the UK and English Regions during the period mid-2001 to mid-2012

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The population of the UK has increased by about 4.6 million (7.8%) in the 11 years since 2001 with London and the South of England having seen the greatest increases, and this trend broadly continues for the year to mid-2012.

Population Structure

In mid-2012, the population of the UK consisted of 31,315,100 males (49.2%) and 32,390,000 females (50.8%). Figure 2 shows the full age and sex structure of the population.

Figure 2: Population pyramid for the United Kingdom, mid-2012

Figure 2: Population pyramid for the United Kingdom, mid-2012

Notes:

  1. The pyramid stops at age 89, causing the top of the pyramid to be flat. Although estimates of older people (those aged 90 and over) are included in the mid-2012 UK population estimates, estimates by single year of age are presently not available.
  2. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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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 which have taken place in previous years. The main details illustrated by the pyramid for mid-2012 include:

  • peaks and wide areas of the pyramid which reflect the high numbers of births in the years after the Second World War and during the baby boom of the 1960s;

  • the sharp spike in the pyramid at age 65 includes those males born between 1 July 1946 and 30 June 1947 who will have obtained state pension age in the year to mid-2012;

  • the sharp narrowing of the pyramid for people aged around 10 years, a consequence of low numbers of births just after the turn of the century, and the increasing broadening of the base of the pyramid owing to a higher numbers of births in recent years; and

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

The median age of the population of the UK at mid-2012 was 39.7.  At constituent country level median ages range from a low of 37.6 in Northern Ireland to 41.7 in Wales.  An interactive population pyramid showing the age structure of the population of the UK by country, English region or local area is available as part of the population estimates analysis tool (3.19 Mb ZIP) .

Comparison of mid-2011 and mid-2012 estimates

The population estimates described in this bulletin reflect the population as at 30 June 2011 and 30 June 2012 and include an estimate of the population change which occurred between these two reference dates.  A revised series of UK population estimates covering the period 2001 to 2010 reflecting the results of the 2011 UK censuses will be published in the autumn of 2013.  This release will allow a consistent view of change at UK level to be made, including that between mid-2010 and mid-2011.

The estimates presented in this bulletin are based on the 2011 and 2012 mid-year estimates published for each UK constituent country between September 2012 and August 2013, and collated to give the UK mid-2011 and mid-2012 estimates.  Mid-year population estimates are derived through a process where the resident population is aged on and those born during the 12 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 in the UK and those leaving to live abroad (international migrants). On a regional level 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 countries of the UK and moves between local areas within each country. Details of the methods used to create the estimates of the UK are available in a separate information note (100.8 Kb Pdf) .

Table 1 shows the difference between the mid-2012 population estimates at national level and the mid-2011 estimates.

Table 1: Mid-2012 population estimates compared with mid-2011 estimates, United Kingdom

  Mid-2011 Population (thousands) Mid-2012 Population (thousands) Percentage Change
       
United Kingdom 63,285.2 63,705.0 0.66
England 53,107.2 53,493.7 0.73
Scotland 5,299.9 5,313.6 0.26
Wales 3,063.8 3,074.1 0.34
Northern Ireland 1,814.3 1,823.6 0.51
       

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

  2. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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The relative contribution of the main components of UK population change over the 12 month period is shown in Figure 3. It shows that the greater number of births than deaths was more influential to population change than net migration in the year to mid-2012.

Figure 3: Relative contribution of main components of population change, United Kingdom year to mid-2012

Figure 3: Relative contribution of main components of population change, United Kingdom year to mid-2012

Notes:

  1. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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More detail on the main components of population change over the year to mid-2012 is shown in Table 2.  There were 813,200 births and 558,800 deaths during the 12 month period, resulting in a population increase of approximately 254,400 due to natural change - the balance of births minus deaths. Over the same period 517,800 international migrants arrived in the UK and 352,100 international migrants left the UK to live abroad. All of these changes combined resulted in a net increase in population of 419,900.

Table 2: Components of population change, United Kingdom, year to mid-2012

thousands  1st July 2011 to 30 June 2012
   
Population at start of period                                 63,285.1
Births                                      813.2
Deaths                                      558.8
Net: births minus deaths                                      254.4
In migration - international 517.8
Out migration - international 352.1
Net international migration 165.6
Other Changes -0.1
Total change                                      419.9
Population at end of period                                 63,705.0
   

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

  2. Other Changes includes changes to the size of armed forces stationed in the UK

  3. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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Regions of the UK

Mid-2011 and mid-2012 population estimates for the regions of the UK, presented in Table 3, show that the population increase in the intervening year was greatest in southern and eastern England. London had the highest population increase, up 1.27% during the 12 month period, with the South East, East and South West regions of England increasing by 0.83%, 0.77% and 0.73% respectively. The lowest regional population increases in the year to mid-2012 were seen in the North East of England and Scotland at 0.23% and 0.26% respectively.  The population of Wales increased by 0.34% and the population of Northern Ireland by 0.51%.  No region of the UK experienced a population decrease.

Table 3: Mid-2012 population estimates compared with mid-2011 population estimates, regions of the United Kingdom

  Mid-2011 Population (thousands) Mid-2012 Population (thousands) Percentage Change
       
United Kingdom                      63,285.1 63,705.0 0.66
England 53,107.2 53,493.7 0.73
North East 2,596.4 2,602.3 0.23
North West 7,056.0 7,084.3 0.40
Yorkshire and The Humber 5,288.2 5,316.7 0.54
East Midlands 4,537.4 4,567.7 0.67
West Midlands 5,608.7 5,642.6 0.60
East   5,862.4 5,907.3 0.77
London 8,204.4 8,308.4 1.27
South East 8,652.8 8,724.7 0.83
South West 5,300.8 5,339.6 0.73
Scotland 5,299.9 5,313.6 0.26
Wales 3,063.8 3,074.1 0.34
Northern Ireland 1,814.3 1,823.6 0.51
       

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

  2. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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Table 4 presents the broad components of change which have contributed to the estimated population increase for the regions of the UK in the year to 30 June 2012.

London had the largest natural change of all regions with 86,000 more births than deaths; Scotland had the lowest natural change with just 4,200 more births than deaths.

London was the destination of over a third of international migrants arriving in the UK - contributing to it having the highest net international migration of all regions at 69,000; Northern Ireland had the lowest net international migration.

It should be noted that the net figures for births minus deaths and international migration are not independent over time, as past immigrants contribute to the number of births and deaths in subsequent years.  Data for the UK is not yet available but the percentage of live births in England and Wales to mothers born outside the UK continued to rise in the calendar year 2012, reaching 25.9%, up from 17.7% in 2002. The percentage of live births in Northern Ireland to mothers born outside the UK was 17.6% in the calendar year 2012. This has stayed broadly similar over recent years, but is higher than a decade ago (13.5% in 2002). These shifts are related to the increased levels of migration to the UK and further detail on this is available in the Births in England and Wales, 2012 and the Births in Northern Ireland, 2012 releases.

More people from other parts of the UK moved to the South East of England than any other region leading to a 26,000 population increase; although not a new phenomenon London saw the greatest outflow of people to other parts of the UK of any region, with a net loss of over 51,000 people.  Approximately two-thirds of the people moving out of London went to the South East and East of England.

Table 4: Change in population estimates mid-2011 to mid-2012 by broad component, regions of the United Kingdom

  Population increase (thousands) Births minus Deaths Net International Migration Net within UK Migration
       
United Kingdom                           419.9             254.4                   165.6 -0.1
England 386.6 234.3 154.3 -2.1
North East 5.9 4.7 3.3 -2.2
North West 28.4 22.2 14.2 -8.0
Yorkshire and The Humber 28.5 18.3 11.0 -0.9
East Midlands 30.3 14.9 9.3 6.1
West Midlands 33.9 23.7 15.8 -5.6
East   44.9 22.3 8.0 14.6
London 104.0 86.5 69.0 -51.5
South East 72.0 32.4 13.4 26.1
South West 38.8 9.3 10.4 19.1
Scotland 13.7 4.2 9.7 -0.2
Wales 10.3 4.7 1.1 4.5
Northern Ireland 9.3 11.1 0.4 -2.2
         

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

  2. Net within UK Migration is the balance of in and out moves between each region and other regions in the rest of the UK. In this table it includes changes to the size of armed forces stationed in the UK and includes other special population adjustments. It therefore does not provide a comparable measure against other sources of civilian only within UK migration.

  3. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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Comparing the population structure with mid-2001 UK population estimates

The 2011 censuses carried out across the UK have provided a chance to revise the population estimates made for the mid-years between 2001 and 2010; this work has already commenced and will be complete at UK level by the autumn of 2013.  In the meantime, the last consistent UK population estimates are those for mid-2001, and it is a useful opportunity to compare the population estimates for mid-2012 with these and make some observations.

Since mid-2001, the population of the UK has increased by 2,482,800 males (8.6%) and 2,109,200 females (7.0%). Figure 4 shows the age and sex structure of the mid-2012 and mid-2001 population.

Figure 4: Population pyramid for the United Kingdom, mid-2012 compared with mid-2001

Figure 4: Population pyramid for the United Kingdom, mid-2012 compared with mid-2001

Notes:

  1. The pyramid stops at age 89, causing the top of the pyramid to be flat. Although older people (those aged 90 and over) are included in the population estimates, estimates by single year of age are the subject of research which will be published at a later date.
  2. Data for Northern Ireland for mid-2001 are revised and based on the 2011 Census results. More information is available on the NISRA website.
  3. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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The pyramid shows some important trends in the demographics of the UK:

  • The number of males aged 75 and over in the UK has increased by 26% since mid-2001.  This compares to an increase of slightly more than 6% for females in this age group over the same period.  The faster improvement in male mortality is largely driven by changes seen in tobacco smoking and advances in health treatments for circulatory illnesses. Male occupations over the same period have also become less physical and safer.

  • The effects of immigration to the UK that has happened since mid-2001.  For most ages the peaks and troughs present in the pyramid in mid-2001 are visible in the mid-2012 data shifted by 11 years, demonstrating the cohort ageing of the population.  The mid-2012 pyramid however, shows some difference in this pattern for those aged 23 to 33: here the profile is much wider and flatter than the mid-2001 pyramid would suggest.  Such a change can only be generated by new population being added from outside.

  • The number of births has increased year on year.  There are 581,800 more zero to six year olds in mid-2012 than there were in mid-2001. The number of children aged 7 to 16 is 453,300 less than mid-2001 – a result of the lower births around the turn of the century.

European comparisons

Figure 5 shows the estimated population of the UK compared alongside that of the member states of the European Union (EU) at mid-2012. The population of the UK ranks third compared to other EU member states; behind Germany and France. The UK has approximately 17 million fewer people than Germany and 2 million fewer than France.

Figure 5: Estimated total population of the United Kingdom and EU countries, mid-2012

Figure 5: Estimated total population of the United Kingdom and EU countries, mid-2012

Notes:

  1. Population estimates for EU countries are calculated from Eurostat estimates 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2013 interpolated to give mid-2012 estimates. With the exception of: (2) Eurostat estimate for 1 January 2012 (latest available). (3) Estimate from relevant national statistics institue for 30 June 2012.
  2. Source: Eurostat, Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, German Federal Statistical Office, Italian National Institute of Statistics

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Table 5 shows EU member states with the top 10 highest absolute population growths over the year to mid-2012.  The UK with a population increase of 419,900 over the year showed growth greater than that of any other European Union member state.

Table 5: Population increase in the UK and selected countries of the European Union with largest absolute population increase, mid-2011 to mid-2012

  Mid-2011 Population (thousands) Mid-2012 Population (thousands) Increase (thousands) Percentage Change
         
United Kingdom 63,285.1 63,705.0 419.9 0.7
France 65,161.3 65,480.5 319.1 0.5
Germany² 80,233.1 80,399.3 166.2 0.2
Belgium 11,047.7 11,139.1 91.4 0.8
Sweden 9,449.2 9,519.4 70.2 0.7
Netherlands 16,693.1 16,755.0 61.9 0.4
Austria 8,423.6 8,465.8 42.1 0.5
Finland 5,388.3 5,414.0 25.7 0.5
Denmark 5,567.3 5,588.3 21.0 0.4
Czech Republic 10,496.1 10,510.8 14.7 0.1
         

Table notes:

  1. Population estimates for EU countries are calculated from Eurostat estimates for 1 January 2011 and 1 January 2012 interpolated to give mid-2011 estimates, and Eurostat estimates for 1 January 2013 and 1 January 2012 interpolated to give mid-2012 estimates. An exception is: (2) Both estimates from the German Federal Statistical Office

  2. Source: Eurostat, Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, German Federal Statistical Office

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It is important to note that relatively measured, with a 0.7% increase, the UK population growth would be ranked 5th behind the noticeably less populated EU member states of Luxembourg, Cyprus, Belgium and Sweden.

Publication schedule

This combined mid-2011 and mid-2012 release for the UK is the fourth ONS population estimates product to be published based on the results of the 2011 Census. Future releases of UK population estimates and projections in 2013 include:

  • October-November 2013: National Population Projections - 2012-based projections; and

  • November-December 2013: Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Mid-2001 to Mid-2010 revised.

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-2012 population estimates data for England and Wales are available on the ONS website. Published tables for mid-2012 include England and Wales by single year of age and sex; region and local authority; and detailed components of population change. Unformatted tables to enable re-use of the data are also published for local authorities by single year of age and sex.

  4. Mid-2011 and mid-2012 population estimates data for Scotland are available on the NRS website.

  5. Mid-2011 and mid-2012 population estimates data for Northern Ireland are available on the NISRA website.

  6. A population estimates analysis tool (3.19 Mb ZIP) is available for users to produce simple reports on the mid-2012 UK population data.

  7. An information note (100.8 Kb Pdf) describing the methodology used to create the UK population estimates and differences in approach within the UK is available.

  8. Net migration estimates quoted in this report include net international migration and net flows of asylum seekers where applicable. The net effects of moves between regions within the UK, together with moves of armed forces personnel at home and overseas are also included.

  9. Population components in the mid-year estimates may vary from those published in other ONS outputs due to definitional differences and context of use.

  10. This is the first release of mid-2011 and mid-2012 UK population estimates. No revisions of this dataset have been made.

  11. Release number: MYE5BL1.

  12. Next publication: 
    Autumn 2013

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Statistical contacts

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