Small area population estimates, England and Wales: Mid-2014 and Mid-2013

National population estimates broken down into small geographical areas (Super Output Areas, health geographies, wards, Parliamentary constituencies and National Parks).

This is not the latest release. View latest release

Corrections

31 March 2016 12:56

An error was identified in the number of CCGs with population increases or decreases of less than 1% in the year to mid-2014. This was corrected on 25 November at 17:30.

Errors were identified in the National Parks in proportion of the population aged 65 and over and the percentage increase in population over the decade in England and Wales. This was corrected on 25 November at 17:30.

Table 3: MSOAs with highest population density mid-2014 in the Statistical Bulletin contained an incorrect figure for Westminster 014F. This was corrected on 26 November 2015 at 15.15.

View superseded version

Notices

25 May 2016

Small Area Population Estimates have recently been subject to an internal ONS quality assurance review. This review recommended that the LSOA data at single year of age should be considered as supporting information and data by five year age band should be further reviewed through the internal quality assurance process. An overview of the recommendations from this review and plans to address these is available on our website.

The more detailed estimates by single year of age provided enable the creation of population estimates for bespoke age groups and encourage further analysis and use of the estimates. Particular caution should be exercised in using estimates at LSOA level for individual single year of age groups as these include patterns of variance and bias that vary by age, sex and geography and would not be expected to have the same level of accuracy as aggregated estimates. Population estimates at MSOA level (5 year age groups) and LSOA (broad age groups) were designated as National Statistics in 2011.

This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email Amanda Sharfman

Release date:
25 November 2015

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • This release includes estimates for lower and middle layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs and MSOAs), Westminster parliamentary constituencies, electoral wards and National Parks in England and Wales and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England.
  • In mid-2014 there were 34,753 LSOAs in England and Wales with a mean population of 1,650 and 7,201 MSOAs with a mean population of 7,970. The LSOA with the highest median age in mid-2014 was Eastbourne 012B at 71.5 years, with 17.2 years being the lowest in Bury 026E.
  • There were 211 CCGs in England with a mean population size of 257,400 in mid-2014. The CCG with the largest proportion of the population aged 75 and over continues to be NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford at 13.4% (13.3% in mid-2013).
  • The 573 Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies in England and Wales had a mean population of 100,200 in mid-2014. On average English constituencies tend to have larger populations than Welsh constituencies (means of 101,900 and 77,300 respectively).
  • In mid-2014 electoral wards in England and Wales had a mean population of 6,750, although population sizes ranged from 150 in St. Martin’s ward in the Isles of Scilly to 40,530 in Central ward in Sheffield.
  • The population of National Parks have an older age structure than England and Wales as a whole. More than 32% of the population of Exmoor and The Broads were aged 65 years or over.
  • Small area population estimates are of particular use to central and local government for planning and monitoring services and for the calculation of a range of rates and indicators.
Back to table of contents

2. Summary

This release includes:

  • population estimates for lower and middle layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs and MSOAs) in England and Wales – these products are classified as National Statistics

  • population estimates for electoral wards, Westminster parliamentary constituencies and National Parks in England and Wales – these products are classified as experimental statistics

  • population estimates for health geographies in England (clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS Area Teams and NHS Commissioning Regions) – these products are also classified as experimental statistics

These estimates are consistent with the results of the 2011 Census and are provided for the latest official geographic boundaries in place at the reference date.

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 and as denominators for the calculation of various rates and indicators. Population estimates for LSOAs and MSOAs are often used for research and analysis as, unlike other small area geographies, such as electoral wards, they are specifically designed for statistical purposes. Electoral ward population estimates are of particular interest to local government organisations. Parliamentary constituency estimates are of importance to parliamentary organisations, researchers and MPs. Population estimates for health geographies are widely used within the health sector; and information on National Parks is valuable to both local government and the various National Park authorities.

Back to table of contents

3. Introduction

Mid-year population estimates for 2014 for England and Wales, regions within England, and local authorities within England and Wales, were published on 25 June 2015. The estimates refer to the usually resident population on 30 June of the reference year and are published annually. In mid-2014 the population of England and Wales was 57,408,654, an increase of 0.8% since mid-2013 and 8.0% over the ten years since mid-2004.

The population increase since mid-2013 is driven by migration and natural change (births and deaths). Migration has had an impact on the working age population and on areas such as London. There is also an ageing population that results in an increase in the number of people in old age groups such as those aged 75 and over. Changes in the population of England and Wales are reflected in the changes at small area levels outlined throughout this bulletin.

Further information to support small area population estimates, covering methodology, quality and data sources are available:

Small area population estimates

There are 2 broad types of small area population estimates, both of which are included in this release.

The main products are the estimates for Super Output Areas (SOAs), which are based on the 2011 Census and rolled forward annually using a ratio change methodology. This approach uses the change in the population recorded in administrative sources as an indicator of the change in the true population. These products hold National Statistics status.

The remainder of small area population estimates products relate to a range of different geographic areas and are derived directly from the SOA figures. Firstly, estimates for lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) are broken down to Output Area (OA) level using an apportionment approach. These OA estimates are then aggregated to produce estimates for electoral wards and Westminster parliamentary constituencies on a best-fit basis. Estimates for health geographies are aggregated directly from LSOAs and estimates for National Parks are also calculated from the OA level data. These products hold experimental statistics status.

More information on the types of area for which small area population estimates are produced is given in, Small area population estimates: an explanation, accompanying this release.

The mid-2014 small area population estimates covered by this bulletin are fully consistent with population estimates for higher levels of geography including local authorities, regions and the national total for England and Wales. A full description of the methods used to calculate all small area population estimates is available in the methodology guide published on our website.

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 and as denominators for the calculation of various rates and indicators. The Quality and Methodology Information has further information on the quality and use of these statistics.

Back to table of contents

4. Super Output Area population estimates

Super Output Areas (SOAs) are statistical geographies designed to improve the reporting of small area statistics. They are built from groups of census Output Areas, are of a consistent population size and are not subject to boundary changes between censuses. Where possible they are formed from groups of socially similar households and align with local features such as roads and railway lines. The comparability and stability of the geography, which cannot be provided by other small area administrative geographies such as wards or parishes, is one of the main benefits to users of statistics.

At mid-2014, the mean population of lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in England and Wales was 1,650, with population sizes ranging from 820 in Bexley 008A to 8,570 in Oxford 008A. Bexley 008A is located in the north west of central Dartford, while Oxford 008A includes many colleges belonging to Oxford University. Oxford 008A has remained the LSOA with the largest population since 2002 and had a population of 8,600 in the 2011 Census. After the 2011 Census a number of LSOAs that exceeded the upper population threshold of 3,000 were split. However, there were a few exceptional circumstances where splitting an LSOA was not possible, so the population remained above this upper population threshold, as explained in Changes to Output Areas and Super Output Areas in England and Wales, 2001 to 2011.

The mean population of middle layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) was 7,970 in mid-2014. Excluding the Isles of Scilly, the smallest MSOA (Pendle 004) had a population of 4,960 whilst the MSOA with the largest population at mid-2014 was Milton Keynes 017, with approximately 17,710 usual residents. This area includes an Open University campus.

As shown in Figure 1, annual population change was less than 1% in 41.5% of LSOAs and less than 5% in 95.4% of LSOAs. Lower rates of change were seen in the larger MSOA areas. This compares to the annual change of 0.8% for England and Wales.

Age distribution

The median age of the population of England and Wales in mid-2014 was 40 years.

The median age for LSOAs within England and Wales varies widely between different areas. In mid-2014 the highest median age was 71.5 in Eastbourne 012B. As shown in Table 1, 7 of the top 10 LSOAs with the highest median ages are located close to the south coast of England in areas that are known for their large populations of people of retirement age. The exceptions are South Lakeland 013D located next to Morecambe Bay in Cumbria, Wealden 018A, which is a rural area located close to the South Downs National Park and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 017D, which is located in the town of Downham Market. The top 10 LSOAs with the highest median ages are the same as mid-2013, but the rankings differ slightly.

The lowest median age in an LSOA was 17.2 in Bury 026E, an area to the north-east of central Salford. Of the top 10 areas with the lowest median age 7 contain boarding schools, such as Wellington College (Bracknell Forest 012D), Christ’s Hospital (Horsham 008E) and Harrow School (Harrow 029D).

Population density

LSOAs are designed to have similar levels of population. Population density, that is the number of people living per square kilometre, can be used to highlight how different LSOAs are in terms of the geographic size of population settlements they include.

In mid-2014, the population density of England and Wales was 380 persons per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of LSOAs had a population density higher than that of England and Wales as a whole. The remaining 15% of LSOAs tend to be much larger and more sparsely populated. Population density was less than 1,000 persons per square kilometre in approximately 23% of LSOAs, while approximately 8% had a population density of 10,000 or more persons per square kilometre.

The 10 LSOAs with the highest levels of population density are all in London. The LSOA with the highest population density in mid-2014 was Tower Hamlets 032D. This is an area where approximately 3,100 people live in 0.03 square kilometres, resulting in a density of 92,700 persons per square kilometre. It is located on the western side of Millwall Inner Dock on the Isle of Dogs. Tower Hamlets 032D became the LSOA with the highest population density in mid-2013 (80,300). The population density of Tower Hamlets 032D has increased from 47,100 people per square kilometre in 2011. In both 2011 and 2012, Kensington and Chelsea 021C had the highest population density. The most densely populated LSOA outside of London was Sheffield 074E (an area of Sheffield city centre) at 35,400 persons per square kilometre (ranked 21st overall). Of the 10 least densely populated LSOAs in mid-2014, 9 are in either North East England or Wales, with the top 4 all being in Northumberland. The least densely populated LSOA in England and Wales is Northumberland 019C with a population density of approximately 2.5 persons per square kilometre in mid-2014. This LSOA includes approximately 670 square kilometres of the area surrounding Kielder Water and some central parts of the Northumberland National Park. This LSOA has remained the least densely populated since 2011. Of the top 10 least densely populated areas 7 are either wholly or partly contained within a National Park area.

Notes for Super Output Area population estimates

  1. Population density is calculated as the population estimate of each SOA divided by its land area in square kilometres. Land area is measured to the mean high water mark for coastal areas and excludes areas of inland water. This is the Eurostat recommended method for compiling population density figures. Land area is obtained from the Standard Area Measurements published on the ONS Geography Portal.
Back to table of contents

5. Clinical commissioning group population estimates

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for deciding how NHS funds are spent in their local area. They were introduced, for England only, by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 as part of a new structure for NHS organisation, which came into force on 1 April 2013. The 211 CCGs are organised into 25 NHS Area Teams, which in turn are grouped into 4 NHS Commissioning Regions. The data tables included in this release also provide population estimates for these higher health geography areas.

CCGs replaced the former health geography areas, known as Primary Care Organisations (PCOs). Following a formal consultation, we discontinued the production of population estimates for PCOs.

The mid-2014 CCG population estimates, referred to in this bulletin, are direct aggregations of mid-2014 lower layer Super Output Area (LSOA) estimates. They are consistent with population estimates for higher levels of geography, including local authorities and the national total for England. These estimates are classified as experimental statistics.

At mid-2014, the mean population of CCGs was 257,400 with population sizes ranging from 65,400 in NHS Corby to 882,800 in NHS North, East and West Devon.

Annual population change

Table 5 shows the 10 CCGs with the largest percentage increases in population, 8 of which are in London. The CCG with the largest percentage increase in population between mid-2013 and mid-2014 was NHS Tower Hamlets at 4.1%. As CCGs were only established in 2013, further comparisons are not available.

In total, 12 CCGs (5.7%) had a population decrease between mid-2013 and mid-2014, with the greatest percentage decrease in population being 1.0% in NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby. The remaining CCGs all had decreases of less than 0.7% and, with the exceptions of NHS Hammersmith and Fulham (0.2%) and NHS Ealing (0.1%), were all in the North of England commissioning region.

Age distribution

The age distribution of the resident population in a CCG is likely to impact on both the overall level of demand for health services, and the type of health services required. Areas with a large percentage of older people (particularly ages 75 and over) in their population are likely to have different demands on health services than those with a predominantly younger population. In 2015, the Government pledged that pensioners over the age of 75 would be guaranteed same-day access to a family doctor.

In mid-2014, 8.1% of the population of England were aged 75 or over. By comparison, over 13% of the population in NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford were aged 75 or over. All of the CCGs shown in table 6 are coastal areas.

The percentage of the population who are children may also impact on requirements for health service provision. In mid-2014, 19.0% of the population of England were aged 0 to 15. By comparison, nearly 28.1% of the population in NHS Bradford City were aged 0 to 15, as shown in Table 7. The CCGs with the largest proportions of children are in city areas. As shown in Figure 2, the large majority of CCGs (95.7%) had an annual population change of less than 2%, with 138 (65.4%) increasing or decreasing by less than 1% in the year to mid-2014.

Back to table of contents

6. Westminster Parliamentary Constituency population estimates

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 include 533 constituencies in England and 40 in Wales. Parliamentary Constituency estimates are classified as experimental statistics.

At mid-2014, the mean population of parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales was 100,200 with population sizes ranging from 56,800 in Aberconwy to 166,400 in West Ham. On average, English constituencies have larger populations than Welsh constituencies with mean populations of 101,900 and 77,300 respectively.

Annual population change

Population change at parliamentary constituency level between mid-2013 and mid-2014 varies across the country, as shown in Map 1 below.

Parliamentary constituencies with the greatest increases in population over the one-year period tend to be concentrated in London, the South East of England, and city areas in the midlands and north of England. The area with the greatest increase was Poplar and Limehouse constituency in London at 5.3%, while the area with the greatest increase outside of London was Leeds Central 3.3%.

Population decreases at parliamentary constituency level occur across the country, but are generally concentrated in the north of England and Wales, with the largest decrease (1.3%) in Leeds North West constituency.

Parliamentary constituencies are classified into 2 broad types of area: borough constituencies, which are defined as predominantly urban areas and county constituencies, which are partly or mostly rural areas. The designation of a constituency as either borough or county is made by the relevant Boundary Commission. Overall, 55% of constituencies are classified as county constituencies and 45% are classified as borough constituencies.

As shown in figure 3, borough constituencies account for the majority of areas where the population has increased by more than 1% in the year to mid-2014. The mean percentage population change for county constituencies is 0.6% compared with 0.9% for borough constituencies.

Voting age

In England and Wales in mid-2014 there were 45,187,300 persons aged 18 and over, making up 79% of the total usual resident population. In mid-2014, at parliamentary constituency level, the percentage of the population aged 18 and over varied from 66% in Birmingham, Hodge Hill to 86% in Liverpool, Riverside.

The population of voting age in a parliamentary constituency is not the same as the population who are entitled to vote, as it includes people who are not eligible to vote. For example, European Union citizens (excluding British citizens; and Irish, Cypriot and Maltese citizens who are qualifying Commonwealth citizens) are not entitled to vote in Westminster parliamentary elections, but are included in the population estimates if they are resident in the UK for 12 months or more.

Electoral statistics, providing counts of the number of persons registered to vote in each parliamentary constituency, are available on our website.

Back to table of contents

7. Electoral Ward population estimates

Electoral wards are an important building block of UK administrative geography. They are the spatial units used to elect local government councillors in metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts, unitary authorities and London boroughs in England; and unitary authorities in Wales. In some unitary authorities in England they are legally termed as “electoral divisions”, however they are frequently referred to as wards and are referenced as such throughout this article. The 5 parishes of the Isles of Scilly are also treated as electoral wards for statistical purposes.

Electoral wards are subject to annual updates and boundary changes that make comparisons over longer periods more difficult. Mid-2014 population estimates are provided for the 8,503 electoral wards in England and Wales as at 31 December 2014, excluding the 18 wards that do not meet the minimum population requirements for data confidentiality (40 resident households and 100 resident people in the 2011 Census).

At mid-2014, the mean population of wards in England and Wales was 6,750. However, population sizes vary widely across the country ranging from 150 in St. Martin’s ward in the Isles of Scilly to 40,530 in Central ward in Sheffield. On average, wards in England have larger populations than those in Wales with mean populations of 7,100 and 3,630 respectively.

Annual population change

Figure 4 presents the distribution of the percentage change in electoral ward populations, from mid-2013 to mid-2014.

The large majority of wards (84%) had an annual population change of less than 2%, with around 4,700 (56%) increasing or decreasing by less than 1% in the year to mid-2014. There were 129 wards which had an annual population change of more than 5% over the same period.

In particular, the wards with the highest percentage increases in population between mid-2013 and mid-2014 tend to be areas which include new housing developments, or areas with large populations of students or armed forces.

Back to table of contents

8. National Park population estimates

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 it is part of the National Parks family. The Broads has similar responsibilities to NPAs, but with additional powers relating to navigation. In total there are 13 National Parks in England and Wales (including the Broads).

In mid-2014 the mean population size of National Parks in England and Wales was approximately 31,100. However, National Park population totals vary greatly, as shown in figure 5. The most populous National Park, the South Downs, has 114,500 people compared to only 2,000 in Northumberland National Park. The majority of National parks have shown minimal population change since mid-2004. The South Downs showed the largest percentage increase in population over the decade, with an increase of 6.2%, compared to the England and Wales increase of 8%. This may partly relate to the National Park Authorities’ responsibility for planning and conservation. Housing costs may also have an influence.

Age distribution

National Parks have an older age structure than the wider population of England and Wales. In mid-2014 the median age of National Parks in England and Wales varied from 47.7 in the South Downs to 55.5 in Exmoor. In contrast, the median age for England and Wales as a whole was 39.9.

Figure 6 shows the percentage of the population of each National Park aged 65 and over, a figure which provides a reasonable proxy for the size of the population who are of retirement age. It shows that all 13 National Parks have a larger population aged 65 and over than England and Wales as a whole. In mid-2014, 18% of the population of England and Wales was aged 65 and over, compared to 22% in Northumberland National Park and over 32% in Exmoor and The Broads. Employment may be an important factor affecting the age distribution of national parks.

National Parks population density

Population density, that is the number of people living per square kilometre, can be used to highlight how sparsely populated National Parks are in comparison to more urban population settlements.

In mid-2014, the population density of England and Wales was 380 persons per square kilometre. Northumberland National Park is the most sparsely populated area with a population density of 2 persons per square kilometre and the South Downs is the most densely populated area with 69 persons per square kilometre.

Back to table of contents

9. Small area population estimates for other UK countries

Population estimates are produced for similar small areas in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, however they are not produced using the same methodology as for small area population estimates in England and Wales.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) produce population estimates for Scottish data zones, which are slightly smaller areas than LSOAs, designed to contain approximately 500 to 1,000 household residents. NRS use a cohort component based method to produce estimates for data zones, further information on this methodology and the latest estimates (for mid-2014) are available from their website.

The Scottish data zones are used to produce population estimates for a range of other geographies including Westminster parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, Scottish parliamentary constituencies, and Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (the statistical geography used by the European Union). These figures are available from the Special Area Population Estimates section of the NRS website.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) publish population estimates for Super Output Areas in Northern Ireland. These are of similar size to English and Welsh LSOAs, with an average population of 2,100. NISRA uses a mixed methodology based on both cohort component and ratio change approaches. Further information and the latest estimates published for mid-2014 are available from the NISRA website. Population estimates for wards, Neighbourhood Renewal Areas and Census Small Areas in Northern Ireland are also available.

A paper, Small Area Population Estimates across the UK which provides a broad description of the different methodologies used to produce small area population estimates in each constituent country of the UK, is also available on the NISRA website.

Back to table of contents

10 .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 small area population estimates data presented in this release are corrected 2013 estimates that address the previously announced error (630.5 Kb Excel sheet) in the distribution of the foreign armed forces (FAF) special population presented in the last release published 23 October 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 are still available on our website, but are superseded by this new release.

  3. An Overview of Population Statistics is available on our website.

  4. Mid-2014 population estimates for small area geographies in England and Wales are available from the data section of this release.

  5. Published tables include population estimates by single year of age and sex. Tables are provided in a simple format designed for ease of input into statistical software packages. Formatted tables are also available for lower and middle layer Super Output Areas (SOAs) and health geographies.

  6. A methodology note on production of small area population estimates, describing the methodology used to create the small area population estimates, is available on our website.

  7. More information on the concepts, strengths and limitations, user needs and links to users wanting further advice about the output is provided in the Quality Management Information report.

  8. This is the first release of mid-2014 small area population estimates in England and Wales. 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.

  9. Mid-2014 population estimates for the UK and its constituent countries, regions and local authorities are also available on our website.

  10. News on our population statistics can be obtained by subscribing to the quarterly newsletter (email your request to population.statistics@ons.gov.uk) or following the Twitter account @paulvickers_ONS.

  11. Release Number: SAPE17BL1

    Next publication:
    October/November 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: Amanda Sharfman 01329 444661
    Email: pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    Website: www.ons.gov.uk

  12. 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

    In 2011, the United Kingdom Statistics Authority designated the SOA 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. These statistics were re-assessed in 2015 and their National Statistics status is subject to confirmation once all the requirements in the assessment report have been met.

    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.

Back to table of contents

Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Amanda Sharfman
pop.info@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444661