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Statistical bulletin: National Park, Parliamentary Constituency and Ward Population Estimates, Mid-2010 - (SUPERSEDED)

Released: 26 October 2011 Download PDF

Key Points

  • Most National Park populations in England and Wales have increased by less than the national average between mid-2002 and mid-2010.
  • The median age of the population living in National Parks is nine years higher than the England and Wales average.
  • Parliamentary constituencies with the greatest percentage population increases between mid-2002 and mid-2010 include city centres and areas of London.
  • Rural wards containing major residential developments had some of the greatest increases in population in the year to mid-2010.

Annual Mid-year Population Estimates for National Parks, Parliamentary Constituencies and Wards, 2010

This bulletin presents the main messages from the publication of the 2010 mid-year population estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards in England and Wales. It also describes changes that have taken place since 2002 and the age distribution of the population within these areas. 

Introduction

Mid-year population estimates for 2010 for England and Wales, including estimates for regions and local authorities within England and Wales were published on 30 June 2011. The estimates refer to the usually resident population as at 30 June of the reference year and are published annually. In mid-2010 the population of England and Wales was 55,240,000, an increase of 0.8 per cent on mid-2009 and 5.1 per cent on mid-2002.

Small Area Population Estimates

Mid-year population estimates for small areas within England and Wales are also published annually, approximately three to four months after the publication of national, regional and local authority level estimates. There are two main types of small area population estimates:

  • Super Output Area (SOA) estimates – National Statistics including estimates for middle and lower layer SOAs.

  • Postcode Best Fit (PBF) estimates – Experimental Statistics including estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards.

Methodology

The SOA estimates are based on the 2001 Census and rolled forward each year using a ratio change methodology which uses change in the population recorded in administrative sources as an indicator of change in the true population. They are constrained to be consistent with population estimates for higher levels of geography including local authorities, regions and the national total for England and Wales.

The PBF estimates are derived from the SOA estimates using information from patient registers. Population estimates for lower layer SOAs are apportioned across individual postcodes according to a distribution given by the patient register data. These postcode level estimates can then be aggregated to create population estimates for various higher level geographies. PBF estimates are used to create the published National Park, parliamentary constituency and ward level population estimates.

Further detail on the PBF methodology can be found on the ONS website.

Quality and Use

Small Area Population Estimates are used by both central government departments and local authorities for a range of purposes including planning and monitoring of services; as denominators for the calculation of various rates and indicators and as a base for population projections and forecasts.

These estimates are currently classified as experimental statistics as they have not yet been assessed against the standards required for National Statistics. For further information on the quality and use of these statistics, please see the Summary Quality Report for Small Area Population Estimates.

National Parks

National Parks are designated areas of protected countryside aimed at conserving the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. Each National Park has a National Park Authority (NPA) responsible for conservation, planning, recreation management and fostering the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.

The Broads does not have a National Park designation but is included in this set of statistics as they are part of the National Parks family. The Broads Authority has similar responsibilities to NPAs but with additional powers relating to navigation.

There are 13 National Parks in England and Wales (including The Broads). Two National Parks have been designated since 2002, the New Forest in 2005 and the South Downs in 2010.

National Parks: Population change between mid-2002 and mid-2010

The population size of National Parks varies widely across England and Wales. In mid-2010, the population size of the South Downs was 110,900 whilst the population of Northumberland was only 2,000 persons.

Over the eight year period from mid-2002 to mid-2010, the population of England and Wales as a whole increased by 5.1 per cent. The Broads Authority was the only National Park area that had a larger percentage population increase over the same period (8.6 per cent). However, seven other National Parks had a population increase, with the increases in the Yorkshire Dales, South Downs, Dartmoor and the New Forest all being greater than three per cent. 

Table 1: Percentage population change for National Parks, mid-2002 to mid-2010

  Population (thousands) Percentage Change
National Park Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
The Broads Authority 6.0 6.5 8.6
Yorkshire Dales  19.5 20.3 4.1
South Downs  107.3 110.9 3.4
Dartmoor  33.6 34.7 3.3
New Forest  34.2 35.2 3.1
Snowdonia  25.2 25.6 1.5
Peak District  37.8 38.2 1.1
Brecon Beacons  32.2 32.4 0.5
Lake District  41.7 41.7 -0.1
Northumberland  2.0 2.0 -0.3
North York Moors  24.1 23.8 -0.9
Exmoor  10.9 10.7 -1.3
Pembrokeshire Coast  22.4 21.8 -2.5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. The New Forest and South Downs National Parks were not designated until 2005 and 2010 respectively, however estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010 have been produced for these areas and they are included in this analysis.

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The population size of five National Parks has decreased over the eight year period from mid-2002 to mid-2010 with Pembrokeshire Coast having the largest decrease of 2.5 per cent. The population decreases in the other four National Parks were all of less than 250 persons.

National Parks: Population Density

National Parks cover approximately 10 per cent of the total land area of England and Wales (nine per cent of England and 20 per cent of Wales). The population density of England and Wales as a whole is 366 persons per square kilometre (401 in England and 145 in Wales).

The two National Parks with the highest population densities are in the South of England. The South Downs has the highest population density at 68 persons per square kilometre with the New Forest having a population density of 62 persons per square kilometre. The South Downs includes Lewes, the county town of East Sussex, and the market towns of Petersfield and Midhurst. 

Figure 1: National Parks by population density, mid-2010

Figure 1: National Parks by population density, mid-2010
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Northumberland National Park has the lowest population density at 2 persons per square kilometre. There are no urban areas within the National Park boundary. The other National Parks have population densities ranging between 11 and 36 persons per square kilometre.

National Parks: Population by Age

In mid-2010 the median age of the population of England and Wales living in National Park areas was 48.6. This was nine years higher than for the population of England and Wales as a whole (39.6).

Figure 2 shows the median age of each individual National Park in mid-2010. Exmoor has the oldest population with a median age of 53.8 years, 14.2 years higher than that for the whole of England and Wales. The South Downs has the youngest median age at 46.6 years, which is likely to be due to the larger urban population of the South Downs.

Figure 2: National Parks by median age, mid-2010

Figure 2: National Parks by median age, mid-2010
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Between mid-2002 and mid-2010 the median age of England and Wales increased by 1.4 years from 38.2 to 39.6 years. The median ages of National Park populations within England and Wales have been increasing at a faster rate over the same period, ranging from an increase of 1.8 years in the New Forest to 5.6 years in Northumberland National Park. 

Table 2: Change in median age for National Parks, mid-2002 to mid-2010

  Median Age Difference
National Park Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
Northumberland  43.4 49.0 5.6
Brecon Beacons  44.9 48.0 3.1
North York Moors  47.6 50.6 3.0
Peak District  46.0 48.9 2.9
Exmoor  51.0 53.8 2.9
Yorkshire Dales  47.3 50.0 2.7
Dartmoor  45.0 47.7 2.7
South Downs  44.0 46.6 2.6
Lake District  46.1 48.6 2.5
Pembrokeshire Coast  47.5 49.9 2.5
Snowdonia  46.2 48.6 2.4
The Broads Authority 50.3 52.5 2.1
New Forest  49.9 51.7 1.8

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. The New Forest and South Downs National Parks were not designated until 2005 and 2010 respectively, however estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010 have been produced for these areas and they are included in this analysis.

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Parliamentary Constituencies

Westminster parliamentary constituencies are the areas used to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons, the primary legislative chamber of the UK. The current boundaries were introduced for the May 2010 General Election and consist of 533 constituencies in England and 40 in Wales. Population estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2010 have been created for these boundaries in order to provide a consistent time series of data for these areas. However, these boundaries were not in force at the reference date of the mid-2002 to mid-2009 estimates (see background note 5).

The 2013 Review of Parliamentary constituency boundaries is currently being carried out under new rules laid down by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, 2011. This review will reduce the number of constituencies to 502 in England and 30 in Wales. With the exception of two Isle of Wight constituencies, each new constituency in England and Wales will contain between 72,810 and 80,473 electors. The number of electors will not be the same as the population estimate as it includes only those persons aged 18 and over who are registered and eligible to vote in parliamentary elections. There are some people who are resident in the UK who are not eligible to vote and some UK citizens resident abroad who are included in the electoral register.

Parliamentary Constituencies: Population change between mid-2002 and mid-2010

In mid-2010 the median population of parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales was 96,200, an increase of 4,500 since mid-2002. The range in population size for parliamentary constituencies is wider in mid-2010 than it was in mid-2002. In mid-2010 the smallest constituency had a population of 54,400 and the largest, 147,200. This compares to 54,600 and 134,000 in mid-2002.

In the eight year period from mid-2002 to mid-2010, 59 per cent of parliamentary constituencies had population change of less than five per cent with a further 30 per cent having a change of between five and 10 per cent. However, 65 constituencies had a population increase of 10 per cent or more, including 12 which had a population increase of between 15 and 20 per cent and six which increased by more than 20 per cent.

Table 3: Parliamentary Constituencies with greatest percentage increase in population, mid-2002 to mid-2010

  Population (thousands) Percentage Change
Rank Parliamentary Constituency Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
1 Leeds Central 111.2 143.6 29.2
2 Manchester Central 102.5 132.3 29.0
3 Bristol West 103.8 128.1 23.5
4 Cities of London and Westminster 111.3 136.2 22.4
5 Sheffield Central 91.5 110.0 20.2
6 Westminster North 107.1 128.6 20.0
7 Colchester 94.7 113.4 19.7
8 Poplar and Limehouse 99.6 118.9 19.5
9 Birmingham, Ladywood 97.8 115.6 18.2
10 Nottingham South 94.2 111.1 17.9

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The greatest percentage increase in population between mid-2002 and mid-2010 was 29.2 per cent in Leeds Central. This is likely to be due to significant residential development in areas of central Leeds over the eight year period. The majority of the constituencies with the greatest increases are central areas of cities (for example Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham) or areas in London.

In total, 48 parliamentary constituencies had a population decrease over the eight year period between mid-2002 and mid-2010, including six constituencies which had a population decrease of between three and five per cent and three which decreased by more than five per cent.

Table 4: Parliamentary Constituencies with greatest percentage decrease in population, mid-2002 to mid-2010

    Population (thousands) Percentage Change
Rank Parliamentary Constituency Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
1 Brent Central 119.4 110.8 -7.3
2 West Ham 129.0 121.7 -5.6
3 Bootle 102.6 97.4 -5.0
4 East Ham 123.9 118.4 -4.5
5 Eltham 88.1 84.3 -4.3
6 Burnley 88.7 85.3 -3.8
7 Rhondda 71.9 69.2 -3.7
8 Wirral West 70.0 67.5 -3.5
9 Sefton Central 88.2 85.2 -3.3
10 Liverpool, Walton 92.8 90.2 -2.8

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The greatest percentage decrease in population between mid-2002 and mid-2010 was 7.3 per cent in Brent Central. Five of the constituencies with the largest population decreases are in the North West of England (four in Merseyside Metropolitan County); four are in London and one in Wales.

Parliamentary Constituencies: Population Density

In mid-2010, approximately 74 per cent of parliamentary constituencies had a population density of less than 3,000 persons per square kilometre and just less than three per cent had a population density of 9,000 or more persons per square kilometre. This distribution has changed very little since mid-2002. 

Table 5: Parliamentary constituency population density, mid-2010

Population Density (persons per sq. km) Count of parliamentary constituencies Percentage of parliamentary constituencies
0 - 2,999 426 74.3
3,000 - 5,999 109 19.0
6,000 - 8,999 21 3.7
9,000 - 11,999 10 1.7
12,000 - 14,999 6 1.0
15,000 + 1 0.0

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Parliamentary constituencies within London account for the majority of the areas with the highest levels of population density. The constituency with the highest population density in mid-2010 was Westminster North (an area of approximately eight square kilometres) with approximately 16,100 persons per square kilometre.

The ten parliamentary constituencies, outside of London, with the highest population density in mid-2010 are shown in table 6, along with their rank in the overall list when London is included.

Table 6: Non-London parliamentary constituencies with highest population density, mid-2010

Rank Parliamentary Constituency Population Density (persons per sq. km) 
24 Bristol West  7,300
33 Manchester, Gorton  6,400
34 Portsmouth South  6,300
39 Birmingham, Hall Green  5,700
40 Birmingham, Hodge Hill  5,700
43 Sheffield Central  5,500
47 Luton North  5,300
50 Nottingham East  5,200
51 Liverpool, Wavertree  5,200
52 Leicester South  5,100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Rank given is overall rank when London is included.

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The parliamentary constituency with the highest population density, outside of London, in mid-2010 was Bristol West (an area of approximately 17 square kilometres) with approximately 7,300 persons per square kilometre.

Table 7: Parliamentary constituencies with lowest population density, mid-2010

Rank Parliamentary Constituency Population Density (persons per sq. km) 
1 Brecon and Radnorshire  23
2 Penrith and The Border  26
3 Dwyfor Meirionnydd  28
4 Montgomeryshire  29
5 Berwick-upon-Tweed  31
6 Hexham  31
7 Ceredigion  43
8 Carmarthen East and Dinefwr  45
9 Thirsk and Malton  46
10 Skipton and Ripon  48

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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All of the top ten least densely populated parliamentary constituencies in mid-2010 are in either the north of England or Wales. The least densely populated constituency in England and Wales is Brecon and Radnorshire with a population density of approximately 23 persons per square kilometre in mid-2010.

Parliamentary Constituencies: Population by Age

Median Age

The median age of the population of England and Wales in mid-2010 was 39.6, up by 1.4 years since mid-2002. However, the median age of populations in parliamentary constituencies varies between different areas. In mid-2010 the lowest median age in a constituency was 27.2 in both Sheffield Central and Cardiff Central. The highest median age in mid-2010 was 52.8 in Christchurch.  This compares to a range of 28.0 to 51.8 in mid-2002.

Figure 3 shows the distribution of parliamentary constituencies by median age in both mid-2002 and mid-2010. In mid-2010 there are a greater number of constituencies with a median age of 40 or older than in mid-2002, reflecting the fact that the median age has increased by at least one year in 406 (71 per cent) constituencies over the period mid-2002 to mid-2010.

Figure 3: Parliamentary Constituencies by median age, mid-2002 and mid-2010

Figure 3: Parliamentary Constituencies by median age, mid-2002 and mid-2010
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The number of constituencies with a median age of less than 40 has decreased from 370 in mid-2002 to 243 in mid-2010. However, the number with a median age of less than 30 has more than doubled from eight in mid-2002 to 20 in mid-2010. These constituencies with a median age of less than 30 are city areas including three constituencies in Birmingham, three in Manchester and two in both Leeds and Nottingham.

Voting Age

The percentage of the population aged 18 and over in England and Wales in mid-2010 was 78.9 per cent, an increase of 1.3 percentage points over the eight year period since mid-2002. In mid-2010, at parliamentary constituency level, the percentage of the population aged 18 and over varied from 67.9 per cent in Birmingham, Hodge Hill to 88.0 per cent in Cities of London and Westminster.

The change in the proportion of the voting age population also varied widely at parliamentary constituency level as can be seen in table 8 below.

Table 8: Parliamentary Constituency distribution of change in percentage of population aged 18 and over, between mid-2002 and mid-2010

Change in population aged 18 and over (percentage points) Count of Parliamentary Constituencies
>4.0 to 5.0 2
>3.0 to 4.0 17
>2.0 to 3.0 101
>1.0 to 2.0 256
>0.0 to 1.0 141
<0.0 to -1.0 40
<-1.0 to -2.0 13
<-2.0 to -3.0 3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Over the eight year period from mid-2002 to mid-2010, 120 constituencies had an increase of more than two percentage points in the population aged 18 and over, including 19 constituencies which had an increase of more than three percentage points. Parliamentary constituencies with the largest increases in the percentage of population aged 18 and over are either urban areas in the North of England or parts of London.

In total 56 constituencies had a smaller percentage of voting age population in mid-2010 than in mid-2002. In 16 constituencies the decrease was greater than one percentage point. Parliamentary constituencies with the largest decreases in their percentage of population aged 18 and over are generally in London or its surrounding counties.

Wards

Population estimates are produced and published for two different types of ward geography:

  • Electoral wards (electoral divisions in Wales)

  • Census Area Statistics (CAS) wards

Electoral wards are a small area geography and the key building block of UK administrative geography. Higher administrative geographies such as local authorities, primary care organisations and Westminster parliamentary constituencies are all created from aggregations of electoral wards. Electoral wards are subject to annual updates and boundary changes. Mid-2010 population estimates are therefore provided for the 8,499 electoral wards in England and Wales as of 31st December 2010. 

CAS wards were created for the dissemination of 2001 Census outputs. These ward boundaries have not been subject to any boundary changes and therefore provide a useful basis for comparing ward level statistics across time. Mid-2010 population estimates are provided for the 8,850 CAS wards in England and Wales.

The median mid-2010 population estimate for the 2010 electoral wards in England and Wales is 5,200. However, ward population size varies considerably across England and Wales with the smallest ward (excluding wards in the City of London and Isles of Scilly which have extremely small populations) having a population of 700 and the largest, 34,900.

Wards: Population change between mid-2002 and mid-2010

The percentage change in mean population of Census Area Statistics (CAS) wards was 5.1 per cent between mid-2002 and mid-2010. This reflects the percentage increase in the population of England and Wales as a whole over the same period.

Over the period mid-2002 to mid-2010 the majority of CAS wards in England and Wales (59 per cent) had population change of less than five per cent. A further 23 per cent had population change of between five and 10 per cent. However, 1,538 wards had a population increase of 10 per cent or more, including 63 which increased by at least 50 per cent and 13 which increased by at least 100 per cent.

The population of Abbey Meads ward in Swindon in mid-2010 is approximately 3.5 times the estimated population in mid-2002. This highlights the cumulative effect of new housing development on population growth over a longer period of time. Eight of the ten areas with the greatest percentage population increases contain new communities that have either been built since mid-2002 or have grown significantly over this eight year period.

Table 9: CAS wards with greatest percentage increase in population between mid-2002 and mid-2010

      Population  Percentage Change
Rank CAS Ward Local Authority Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
1 Abbey Meads Swindon UA 5,300 19,300 265.4
2 Hillside Corby 2,500 8,100 225.5
3 Orton with Hampton Peterborough UA 4,200 11,900 185.4
4 Bourn South Cambridgeshire 3,600 10,100 180.0
5 Queenhithe City of London 100 400 147.6
6 Tower City of London 100 300 137.8
7 Portishead Central North Somerset UA 1,600 3,600 130.8
8 Rooksdown Basingstoke and Deane 1,300 3,000 123.7
9 Kings Hill Tonbridge and Malling 3,500 7,500 112.8
10 Middleton Milton Keynes UA 6,600 14,000 112.0

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Over the period mid-2002 to mid-2010 at total of 351 CAS wards in England and Wales (four per cent) had a population decrease of greater than five per cent. This includes 55 wards with a population decrease of at least 10 per cent.

Table 10: CAS wards with greatest percentage decrease in population between mid-2002 and mid-2010

      Population  Percentage Change
Rank CAS Ward Local Authority Mid-2002 Mid-2010 Mid-02 to Mid-10
1 Eltham West Greenwich 13,600 10,400 -23.4
2 Princess Knowsley 5,800 4,500 -22.0
3 Breckfield Liverpool 10,600 8,700 -17.8
4 Rhosneigr Isle of Anglesey 900 700 -16.6
5 East Ham North Newham 11,900 9,900 -16.4
6 Clubmoor Liverpool 12,900 10,800 -16.4
7 Mayals Swansea 2,900 2,400 -15.6
8 Dyke House Hartlepool UA 5,900 5,000 -14.7
9 Mapesbury Brent 14,400 12,300 -14.7
10 Cefn Glas Bridgend 1,700 1,500 -14.6

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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The greatest percentage decrease in population between mid-2002 and mid-2010 was 23 per cent in Eltham West ward in Greenwich. Urban population decline or housing redevelopment is likely to be the cause of the population decreases in this area along with those in Knowsley and Liverpool. A more specific cause of population decline can also be identified in Mayals ward in Swansea where student accommodation has been closed during the eight year period.

Wards: Population Density

The 2010 electoral ward with the highest population density in mid-2010 was Cripplegate in the City of London (an area of approximately 0.1 square kilometres) with 30,500 persons per square kilometre. London wards account for the majority of areas with the highest levels of population density.

The ten electoral wards, outside of London, with the highest population density in mid-2010 are shown in table 11, along with their rank in the overall list when London is included.

Table 11: Non-London 2010 electoral wards with highest population density, mid-2010

Rank 2010 Electoral Ward Local Authority Population Density (persons per sq. km) 
26 Brunswick and Adelaide Brighton and Hove UA 18,200
43 Central Southsea Portsmouth UA 16,500
73 Drake Plymouth UA 14,100
110 Fratton Portsmouth UA 12,400
121 Westborough Southend-on-Sea UA 12,000
130 Clifton East Bristol, City of UA 11,500
131 Queen's Park Brighton and Hove UA 11,500
140 Cotham Bristol, City of UA 11,200
141 Central Hove Brighton and Hove UA 11,200
144 St. Peter's and North Laine Brighton and Hove UA 11,200

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Rank given is overall rank when London is included.

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The ward with the highest population density, outside of London, in mid-2010 was Brunswick and Adelaide ward in Brighton and Hove (an area of approximately 0.5 square kilometres) with approximately 18,200 persons per square kilometre. The majority of these areas are in the south of England with four in Brighton and Hove, two each in Portsmouth and Bristol and one in Plymouth.

Table 12: 2010 electoral wards with lowest population density, mid-2010

Rank 2010 Electoral Ward Local Authority Population Density (persons per sq. km) 
1 Llanuwchllyn Gwynedd UA 4.6
2 Bellingham Northumberland UA 4.6
3 Swaledale Richmondshire 5.1
4 Exmoor West Somerset 5.3
5 Llanafanfawr Powys UA 6.5
6 Banwy Powys UA 6.6
7 Yscir Powys UA 6.7
8 Llanwddyn Powys UA 6.8
9 Maescar/Llywel Powys UA 7.1
10 Llandderfel Gwynedd UA 7.3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Seven of the top ten least densely populated electoral wards in mid-2010 are in Wales, with five of these being in Powys Unitary Authority. The least densely populated ward in England and Wales is Llanuwchllyn in Gwynedd with a population density of approximately 5 persons per square kilometre in mid-2010. Eight of the ten areas (excluding Llanafanfawr and Banwy) are at least partly within a National Park.

Wards: Population by Age

The median age of populations in 2010 electoral wards varies across the country. In mid-2010 the lowest median age in a ward was 18.1 in Eton and Castle ward, which contains Eton College. The highest median age in mid-2010 was 70.8 in Highcliffe ward in Christchurch, Dorset.

Figure 4 shows the pattern of the population by age across England and Wales. Areas with lower median ages include London and its surrounding counties; major urban areas and cities in the north of England; and Cardiff and surrounding areas of south Wales.

Rural areas, including south west England and central Wales, tend to have older populations. Wards with higher median ages can also be seen in areas along the south coast of England, for example in Dorset and East Sussex.

Small Area Population Estimates for other UK Countries

Population estimates are produced for small area geographies in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, however they are not produced using the same methodology as for England and Wales. The range of geographies available also differs between countries.

Scotland

National Records of Scotland (NRS) produce annual population estimates for Scottish Data Zones, which are areas designed to contain approximately 500 to 1,000 household residents. These areas are approximately equivalent to lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England and Wales but are smaller in terms of average population size. NRS use a cohort component based method to produce estimates for Data Zones by age and sex, further information on this methodology and the latest estimates (for mid-2010) can be found  on the General Register Office for Scotland website.

NRS aggregate population estimates for Scottish Data Zones to produce population estimates for special areas. Data Zones do not always fit exactly with the boundaries of other geographical areas so they are allocated using a best-fit approach. This method differs from the PBF method used in England and Wales which produces population estimates for the exact area boundaries by aggregating postcode level estimates.

Geographies for which Scottish special area population estimates are available annually by age and sex include:

  • Westminster parliamentary constituencies (equivalent geography to parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales) 

  • Scottish parliamentary constituencies 

  • Scottish Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) areas

NRS also produce population estimates for settlements and localities using an alternative methodology which allocates Data Zone population estimates to postcode level using a number of sources including information on the number of delivery points per postcode from the Royal Mail. This method also differs from the PBF method used in England and Wales as different data sources are used to distribute population estimates to postcode level. Settlement and locality population estimates for Scotland are usually updated every two years, and only total population is published.

Further information on Scottish special area population estimates are available on the General Register Office for Scotland website.

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) publish population estimates for small areas in Northern Ireland using a mixed methodology based on both cohort component and ratio change approaches.

Geographies for which Northern Ireland small area population estimates are available include:

  • Super Output Areas (approximately equivalent to LSOAs in England and Wales)

  • Electoral Wards (approximately equivalent to electoral wards in England and Wales)

  • District Electoral Areas 

  • Neighbourhood Renewal areas

Further information and the latest estimates (for mid-2010) can be found on the NISRA website.

NISRA also publish population estimates for Westminster parliamentary constituencies (which are also 2011 Northern Ireland Assembly Areas) which are equivalent to the Westminster parliamentary constituencies used in England and Wales. Although parliamentary constituencies are not categorised as small area population estimates in Northern Ireland, estimates for mid-2009 and mid-2010 have been produced by aggregating the small area population estimates of their constituent electoral wards and sub-divisions of wards.

Further information and the latest estimates (for mid-2010) can be found on the NISRA website.

Product Development

Small area population estimates are produced using the best methods and data sources currently available. However, assessing the accuracy of the estimates during the intercensal period has been difficult due to a lack of comparable small area population data. The 2011 Census provides an opportunity to benchmark the small area population estimates against census data and to analyse the level of accuracy that has been achieved.

Mid-year population estimates for 2011 will be rebased on 2011 Census data. In order to maintain a consistent time series, mid-2002 to mid-2010 population estimates for all levels of geography, including National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards, will be revised following the publication of mid-2011 estimates.

Improvements to migration and population statistics

In May 2010 a package of improvements for mid-year population estimates for England and Wales was introduced as part of a cross-government programme to improve migration statistics. These improvements led to revisions to the mid-2002 to mid-2008 local authority population estimates for England and Wales. The improved methods have also been used to calculate mid-2009 and mid-2010 population estimates. Details of this improvements package can be found on the ONS website.

National Park, parliamentary constituency and ward population estimates for mid-2002 to mid-2007 were also revised to maintain consistency with local authority estimates; estimates for mid-2008 and mid-2009 were originally published using the improved methods. A list of past revisions made to small area population estimates produced using the PBF method is included in the methodology document available fromthe ONS website.

Further improvements to the population estimates methodology have been developed. More information on these improvements is expected to be published in November 2011. These have been made as the result of user feedback and improved access to, and understanding of, a range of administrative sources.

Background notes

  1. Mid-2010 population estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards in England and Wales can be found on the ONS website.

  2. Published tables include population estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies, 2010 electoral wards and Census Area Statistics (CAS) wards by five-year age groups and sex.

  3. A report describing the methodology used to create the estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards can be found on the ONS website.

  4. This is the first release of mid-2010 population estimates for National Parks, parliamentary constituencies and wards in England and Wales. No revisions of these datasets have been made.

  5. Population estimates for selected former parliamentary constituency and ward boundaries are available on request from: sape@ons.gov.uk

  6. Mid-2010 population estimates for the UK, constituent countries, the regions of England and Wales and for local authorities can be found on the ONS website.

  7. Mid-2010 population estimates for lower and middle layer Super Output Areas in England and Wales can be found on the ONS website.

  8. Next publication:
    Winter 2012/Spring 2013

    Issued by:
    Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG

    Media contact:
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    Email: media.relations@ ons.gsi.gov.uk

  9. 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 2011.

    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.

    View the Open Governemnt License or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU
    Email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

  10. 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: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Pete Large +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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