1. Main points

  • The population of the UK at 30 June 2014 is estimated to be 64,596,800
  • Over the year to mid-2014 the number of people resident in the UK increased by 491,100 (up 0.77%), which is above the average annual increase (0.75%) seen over the last decade
  • The population increase in the year to mid-2014 included natural growth of 226,200 people (777,400 births minus 551,200 deaths)
  • Net international migration of 259,700 people in the year to mid-2014 (582,600 international migrants arrived in the UK and 322,900 migrants left the UK to live abroad) also added to population growth
  • An increase to the population in the year to mid-2014 of 5,200 was due to other changes and adjustments; mainly in the armed forces
  • The number of births occurring in the year to mid-2014 is down on that seen in the previous year (down 1.9%), continuing the downward movement seen in births since the recent peak in the year to mid-2012
  • Net international migration in the year to mid-2014 is the highest since the year to mid-2011 and up by 76,300 from 183,400 since last year
  • The median age of the population (the age at which half the population is younger and half the population is older) at mid-2014 was 40 years - the highest ever estimated
  • The number and proportion of older people continues to rise, with over 11.4 million (17.7% of the population) aged 65 and over in mid-2014, up from 11.1 million (17.4%) last year
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2. 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 and counties of England, and local authorities and their equivalents. This publication relates to the first release of the mid-2014 estimates of the UK and the revised mid-2013 estimates (background note 2 refers).

The UK mid-year estimates series brings together population estimates that are produced annually for England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), for Scotland by National Records of Scotland (NRS) and for Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The timetables for population outputs are available for each country on their respective websites.

The official 2014 mid-year estimates for the UK referred to in this bulletin, build on the mid-2013 estimates, which are updated to account for population change during the period between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014 to give the mid-2014 estimates. A combination of registration, survey and administrative data are used to estimate the different components of population change and as such there will be a level of uncertainty associated with the estimated population.

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). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

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 of 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.

The estimates are also used as denominators for rates or ratios, for example in health and economic indicators; the mid-year reference date population estimate for example providing a simple estimate of the “population at risk” for health data collected on a calendar year basis.

The mid-year population estimates 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 to support users on the mid-year population estimates covering methodology, quality and data sources are available in the:

  • Quality Management Information (236.8 Kb Pdf) document that details a range of information about the background, quality, methods and quality assurance of the mid-year estimates. This includes additional information on concepts, user needs and links to users wanting further advice about the output

  • UK Comparisons (181.9 Kb Pdf) note that provides a comparison of data sources and methods used by the statistical bodies across the UK to produce mid-year population estimates

  • Population Estimates Metholdogy document that details the data sources and methodology applied to producing the England and Wales mid-year population estimates

  • ONS Revisions Policy on population statistics including the mid-year estimates, which explains how revisions to statistics are categorised and implemented by ONS including following a census

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3. What do the mid-2014 UK population estimates show?

This section describes the latest UK population estimates. It shows the latest available estimates for mid-2014 together with the components of population change estimated for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.

The population of the UK almost reached 64.6 million in mid-2014 with the total UK population standing at 64,596,800, with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.2%.

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for the UK mid-2014

Figure 1: Mid-year population estimates for the UK mid-2014

Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Notes:
  1. Figures may not add exactly due to rounding

Comparing the latest population estimates for mid-2014 with the mid-2013 estimates shows that:

  • the population of England increased by 450,800 (up 0.84%) to 54,316,600 accounting for 84% of the UK’s population; England’s population grew more quickly than any other UK country during the year

  • the population of Scotland increased by 19,900 (up 0.37%) to 5,347,600 and accounts for 8% of the UK’s population

  • the population of Wales increased by 9,600 (up 0.31%) to 3,092,000 and accounts for 5% of the UK’s population

  • the population of Northern Ireland increased by 10,800 (up 0.59%) to 1,840,500 and accounts for 3% of the UK’s population

How has the UK’s population changed?

In the year to mid-2014 the population of the UK increased by 491,100 (up 0.77%).

The increase was driven primarily by net international migration of 259,700 accounting for 53% of the change, followed by natural change (the balance of births minus deaths) of 226,200 accounting for 46% of the change, with other changes of 5,200 making up the remaining increase of 1%.

Compared to the last 10 year period, the population change for the year to mid-2014 has some notable features:

  • international migration inflow is at its highest since the year to mid-2011, though both international migration inflow and outflow are still below the average for the period

  • net migration shows an increase of 76,300 from 183,400 last year, being at its highest since the year to mid-2011 making it above average for the period

  • the number of births is down on last year’s figure and is slightly below the average for the period

  • the number of deaths has fallen since last year, being slightly lower than in the year to mid-2010 and the lowest seen for over 50 years

In addition to the direct impact of migration on the size of the population, current and past international migration also has indirect effects on the size of the population as it changes the numbers of births and deaths in the UK. For example, statistics on the number of births by the country of birth of the mother show that 197,000 live births (25% of total live births) in the UK in 2013 were to mothers born outside the UK. However, this figure should not be interpreted as an estimate of the indirect effect of migration on the size of the population - it is only one aspect of this. A fuller assessment would consider:

  • deaths of people who had migrated to the UK

  • births to, and deaths of, people who emigrated from the UK (and who would have given birth, or died, in the UK had they not emigrated)

  • how to account for births to, and deaths of, UK-born people who had emigrated and subsequently returned to the UK

  • how to account for births to, and deaths of, UK-born people who had parents (or grandparents etc) who were themselves immigrants

Additional background information on the UK population, its size, characteristics and the causes of population change is available in the Overview of the UK Population.

How has the population changed across the UK?

Population growth in the year to mid-2014 was greatest in southern and eastern England. London had the highest population growth, with population up 1.45%. The East and South East regions of England increased by 1.08% and 0.92% respectively.

The lowest regional population increases in the year were seen in Wales, North East of England and Scotland growing by 0.31%, 0.32% and 0.37% respectively. The population of Northern Ireland grew by 0.59%. No country of the UK or region of England experienced a population decrease.

Detailed data on population change at local authority level for this release are available in the data section of this publication (10.22 Mb ZIP) . ONS also produces population estimates for other geographies such as parliamentary constituencies, national parks, wards, and health areas for England and Wales. Population estimates for subnational population estimates in Scotland are produced by NRS, and NISRA produces subnational population estimates for Northern Ireland.

London had the largest natural change of all regions with 82,400 more births than deaths; the North East of England and Wales both had the lowest natural change, each with just 3,300 more births than deaths.

London was the destination of more than a third of international migrants arriving in the UK - contributing to it having the highest net international migration of all regions at 107,400 - up by 27,900 from last year; Northern Ireland had the lowest net international migration with 2,200 more people arriving to stay from abroad than emigrating.

The South West of England received more people from other parts of the UK than any other region leading to a 25,700 population increase; and London continued its pattern of having the greatest outflow of people to other parts of the UK of any region, with a net loss of more than 68,600 people. More people of every age left London for other parts of the UK than arrived, except for people aged 21-28, more of whom arrived in London from other parts of the UK than left.

Approximately two-thirds (64%) of the people moving out of London went to the South East and East of England, a similar picture to last year.

Detailed data on population change is available as part of the population estimates analysis tool (13.46 Mb ZIP) accompanying this release. The latest information on internal migration is available in the 2014 Internal Migration by Local Authorities in England and Wales release.

What are the key population stories at a local level?

There are presently 391 local authorities in the UK; 326 in England, 32 in Scotland, 22 in Wales and 11 in Northern Ireland. In mid-2014, the local authority with the smallest population size at 2,300 was Isles of Scilly and the largest population at 1,101,400 was Birmingham.

The total population grew in 357 local authorities in the year to mid-2014. In total, 13 local authorities had growth of more than 2% in their population. Table 2 shows the top 10 local authorities which had the greatest percentage population growth in the year to mid-2014.

All of the local authorities with the greatest percentage growth in population in the year to mid-2014 are in England; 6 of these areas are London boroughs. Growth in these local authorities in the year to mid-2014 was generally due to net international migration, with high rates of natural change - (births minus deaths) in Hackney and an increase in the number of armed forces in Forest Heath. The greatest percentage growth in population in Scotland was 1.8% in Midlothian (ranked 20th); in Wales it was 0.7% in Cardiff (ranked 175th); and in Northern Ireland it was 1.3% in Lisburn and Castlereagh (ranked 53rd).

The total population fell in just 34 local authorities in the year to mid-2014; only Richmondshire had a fall of more than 1% in their population. Table 3 shows the top 10 local authorities which had the greatest percentage population fall in the period.

The local authorities with the greatest percentage fall in population in the year to mid-2014 are spread across England, Scotland and Wales. No local authority in Northern Ireland had a fall in population in the year to mid-2014.

Population falls in these local authorities were generally due to outflow of people due to internal migration to somewhere else in the UK and negative natural change (more deaths than births). The fall in Richmondshire can be attributed to a sizeable outflow of armed forces personnel during the year to mid-2014, whilst the greatest contributor to the population fall in Harrogate was emigration overseas.

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4. How does the population structure of the UK compare to 10 years ago?

In mid-2014, the population of the UK consisted of 31,793,600 males (49.2%) and 32,803,100 females (50.8%).

Figure 3: Population pyramid for the UK, mid-2014

Figure 3: Population pyramid for the UK, mid-2014

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

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-2014 UK population estimates, more detailed estimates by single year of age are available in the Estimates of the Very Old (including Centenarians) for the United Kingdom.

The size and composition of the population shown in the pyramid is determined by the pattern of births, deaths and migration which have taken place in previous years. The pyramid shows some important trends in the demographics of the UK.

The number of males aged 85 and over in the UK has increased by 61.8% since mid-2004. This compares to an increase of 25.9% 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. Detailed explanation of this theme is available in the National Life Tables release from September 2014.

The effects of international immigration to the UK that has happened since mid-2004 are clear to see. For most ages the peaks and troughs present in the pyramid in mid-2004 are visible in the mid-2014 data shifted by 10 years, demonstrating the cohort ageing of the population. The mid-2014 pyramid however, shows some difference in this pattern: the profile of the pyramid for the age group 10-46, and especially for ages 20 to 35 is much wider and flatter than in the mid-2004 pyramid. Such a change can only be generated by new population being added through immigration.

The number of births increased year on year since mid-2004, with a small dip in mid-2009, until mid-2012, and has fallen in the year to mid-2013 and the current year. There are 619,000 more 0 to 4 year olds in mid-2014 (up 18.2%) than there were in mid-2004. The number of children aged 5 to 16 is 205,000 fewer (down 2.3%) than in mid-2004 – a result of the lower births around the turn of the century.

The population of the UK is ageing. Ageing of the population refers to both the increase in the average (median) age of the population and the increase in the number and proportion of older people in the population. The median age of the UK population (that is the age at which half the population is younger and half the population is older) at mid-2014 was at its highest ever at 40.0. This is a slight increase from last year, caused by the growth in population at older ages. Over the 40 year period 1974 to 2014, the median age of the UK population has increased from 33.9 years to 40.0 years.

At country level, estimated median ages range from 38.0 in Northern Ireland to 42.1 in Wales. An interactive population pyramid showing the age structure of the population of the UK by country, English region and county or UK local area is available as part of the population estimates analysis tool (13.46 Mb ZIP).

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5. Other population estimate releases and user engagement

This release of population estimates for the UK is the eighth ONS population estimates product to be published based on the results of the 2011 Census. Corresponding estimates for Super Output Areas, Wards, Parliamentary Constituencies, Health Areas and National Parks will be released later in 2015. Estimates of the Very Old (including centenarians) will be released in September 2015.

Publication dates for these will be confirmed on the UK statistics GOV.UK. release calendar.

Birth and death figures for the 2014 calendar year in England and Wales will be published by ONS on 15 July 2015.

The ONS Census Transformation Programme will be publishing an administrative data research update in the autumn of 2015. Part of this update will include a set of research outputs, derived from administrative data, covering numbers in the population by age and sex for each local authority in England and Wales.

Users should be aware that the mid-year population estimates will continue to remain the official population estimates for England and Wales, carrying the National Statistics accreditation. Benefits delivered from ongoing administrative data research will be used to better understand the current population estimates process and drive potential improvements wherever possible.

We would welcome your comments on the usefulness and presentation of the population estimates in this release. Please contact the Population Estimates team using the email address pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

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6 .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. The mid-2013 population estimates data presented in this release are corrected 2013 estimates that address the previously announced error in the distribution of the foreign armed forces (FAF) special population presented in the last release published 26 June 2014. The original error had a significant impact on the estimate for Forest Heath, and smaller impacts in other affected local authorities. The existing 2013 estimates remain on the ONS website but are superseded by this new release. Note that the national population estimates of the UK and its constituent countries have not been revised and remain valid. Further detail on the error, together with a list of affected local authorities and the size of the error in each area, is available in the Quality Management Information (236.8 Kb Pdf) document available on the ONS website.

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

  4. Mid-2014 population estimates data for England and Wales are available on the ONS website. Published tables for mid-2014 include summary population of the UK by quinary age; detailed population by single year of age and sex; region, county and local authority areas for England; local authority areas for Wales; council areas for Scotland; local government districts for Northern Ireland. Aggregate components of population change estimates are provided for all geographies.

  5. Mid-2014 population estimates data for Scotland are available on the NRS website.

  6. Mid-2014 population estimates data for Northern Ireland are available on the NISRA website.

  7. On 1st April 2015, the number of Local Government Districts in Northern Ireland was reduced from 26 to 11. Some of these new Districts are exact aggregates of the former Districts. Guidance on production of official statistics for the 11 new Local Government Districts (LGD2014) is available for users from NISRA. Population estimates for the former 26 Local Government Districts for mid-2014 are also available on the NISRA website.

  8. A population estimates analysis tool (13.46 Mb ZIP) is available for users to produce simple reports on the mid-2014 UK population data. This tool also provides access to detailed components of change by single year of age and sex by region, county and local authority areas for England; local authority areas for Wales.

  9. A UK Comparisons note (181.9 Kb Pdf) describing the methodology used to create the UK population estimates and differences in approach within the UK is available.

  10. Net international migration estimates quoted in this report include net flows of asylum seekers where applicable. Other changes include moves of armed forces personnel at home and overseas.

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

    • estimates of births and deaths used in the mid-year estimates are based on births and deaths that occur during the year to the mid-year reference point that have been registered by a particular point in time. This definition is different to that used in ONS, NRS and NISRA publications on births and deaths. The majority of UK mortality statistics are based on deaths registered in a particular calendar year rather than the year the death occurred. This allows for more timely publication of complete statistics. Birth statistics for England and Wales are based on the number of births occurring in a calendar year while Scotland and Northern Ireland statistics relate to the number of births registered in a calendar year
    • estimates of international migration used in the mid-year estimates are based partly on provisional Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) data rather than final, and will therefore not tally exactly with the final year-to-end June figures published in the Long-Term International Migration series or alternative reporting periods (for example calendar year)

    More information is provided in the Quality Management Information (236.8 Kb Pdf) document on the ONS website.

  12. Confidence Interval: As the national population estimates rely on Census estimates of the population in 2011 and survey estimates of international migration since then, the population estimate will be affected by sampling error. This error is summarised as a confidence interval. More information is provided in the Quality Management Information (236.8 Kb Pdf) document.

  13. This is the first release of mid-2014 population estimates for the UK. No revisions of this dataset have been made. Mid-2013 population estimates are released for the second time to correct a previously announced error; background note 2 provides further information on this.

  14. A list of those people that have pre-release access can be found on the ONS website.

  15. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

    © Crown copyright 2015.

    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.

    To view this licence, go to: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU Email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

    Release number: MYE8BL1

    Next publication: June 2016

    Issued by:

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

    Media contact: Tel: Media Relations Office 0845 6041858
    Emergency on-call 07867 906553 Email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    Statistical contact: Tel: Pete Large 01329 444661 Email: pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    Website: www.ons.gov.uk

  16. 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

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods; and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Pete Large
pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444661