1. Main points

  • London, the East of England and the South East regions are all projected to grow at a faster rate than England.

  • London is projected to grow the fastest (13.7%), followed by the East (8.9%) and the South East (8.1%) over the 10 year period to mid-2024, compared with the projected growth for England of 7.5% over the same time period.

  • The North East is projected to grow at the slowest rate, by 3.1% over 10 years.

  • Projected change in population for local authorities ranges from a fall of 4.3% in Barrow-in-Furness to growth of 25.1% for Tower Hamlets over the 10 years to mid-2024.

  • The population aged 65 and over is projected to grow at the fastest rate compared with other age groups in every region of England.

  • The number of local authorities in England where more than a quarter of the population are aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 28 out of 326 in mid-2014 to 84 areas in mid-2024.

Back to table of contents

2. Statistician’s quote

“All regions of England are projected to see an increase in their population size over the next decade, with London, the East of England and South East projected to grow faster than the country as a whole. The population is also ageing with all regions seeing a faster growth in those aged 65 and over than in younger age groups.”

Suzie Dunsmith, Population Projections Unit, Office for National Statistics

Back to table of contents

3. Things you need to know

The subnational population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government or local policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. We publish these projections every 2 years. Links to a wide range of information supporting the projections are provided in Section 7 of this bulletin.

The subnational population projections take the 2014 mid-year population estimates, which were published on 25 June 2015, as their starting point. The projected local authority population for each year is initially calculated by ageing on the population for the previous year, applying assumed local fertility and mortality rates to calculate the number of projected births and deaths, and then adjusting for migration into and out of each local authority (definitions of fertility, mortality and migration are provided in the background notes). Assumed levels of fertility, mortality and migration for each local authority are derived from observed values during the previous 5 or 6 years. The projections are then constrained to the 2014-based national population projections for England.

Other than the indirect effect of a change in the national projections’ method for projecting migration between UK countries, the methods for producing the subnational projections are unchanged from the previous release. A full description of the methodology used to produce the subnational population projections, including details of changes in methods over time, is provided in the methodology report.

The primary purpose of the subnational projections is to provide an estimate of the future size and age structure of the population for regions, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups in England. These are used as a common framework for informing local-level policy and planning in a number of different fields as they are produced in a consistent way.

Examples of uses made of the population projections include:

This bulletin focuses on the first 10 years of the projections. Projections become increasingly uncertain the further they are carried forward due to the inherent uncertainty of demographic behaviour. This is particularly so for smaller geographical areas and detailed age and sex breakdowns. A subnational population projections accuracy report, published in August 2015, assesses the accuracy of previous subnational population projections against the mid-year estimates for 2011.

The projections described in this bulletin are for local authorities and regions in England as at 30 June 2014. The small local authorities of Isles of Scilly and City of London are excluded from the local authority analyses in this bulletin, but are included in higher level analyses, and in the datasets accompanying this release. These also include projections for counties, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS Area Teams. More information on all these areas is provided in our guide to UK geographies.

For more information on how our population projections meet your needs, along with information on their fitness for purpose, including strengths and limitations, please see the report on Quality and Methodology.

Back to table of contents

4. Projections for regions: London region is projected to grow the fastest

The 2014-based national population projections for England published in October 2015 projected the population of England to grow by 4.1 million (7.5%) by mid-2024. All regions of England are projected to see population growth over the 10 year period to mid-2024 but the rate of that growth varies.

Three regions are projected to grow faster than the national average with London projected to grow the fastest, by 13.7% over the 10 year period. The East of England is projected to grow by 8.9% and the South East by 8.1%. The region projected to grow at the slowest rate over the next 10 years is the North East at 3.1% (Table 1).

The general pattern of faster projected growth in London, and the south and east of England; and slower growth in the north of England is similar to that in the previous set of projections.

Table 2 sets out the total percentage population change between 2014 and 2024 for each region (taken from Table 1) together with the direct contribution of each component of change to the overall change. This shows, for example, that of the 13.7% projected growth in London, 10.4 percentage points are attributable to natural change (that is, that there are more births than deaths) while the remaining 3.2 percentage points are attributable to migration. Migration is further split down to show migration within the UK and international migration separately. This shows that the 3.2 percentage point growth in London directly attributable to migration is the result of 10.2 percentage point growth from international migration and -7.0 percentage point change (that is, a fall) due to migration within the UK.

Past international migration also has an indirect impact on the population through its effect on the numbers of births and deaths – for example, women who were born overseas but who give birth after migrating to England will increase the numbers of births, while the numbers will be decreased by women born in England but who migrate overseas before giving birth. Assumed future fertility and mortality are based on past trends of all residents irrespective of where they were born.

We published an overview of the impact of migration on the number of births as part of the release of the national population projections in 2015.

Back to table of contents

5. Projections for local authorities: all but 9 local authorities are projected to grow by mid-2024

The population of England is projected to grow by 7.5% over the 10 years to mid-2024. Of 324 local authorities, 315 are projected to see their population increase over the period and 13 local authorities are projected to grow by more than 15%. It should be noted that the projections reflect current trends and do not take into account the ability of an area to accommodate any extra population.

Highest projected population growth

Table 3 shows areas where the population is projected to have the highest percentage growth in the 10 years to mid-2024. Nine of the 10 fastest growing areas are in London with the exception being Corby in Northamptonshire.

Lowest projected population growth

Table 4 shows areas where the population is projected to have the lowest percentage growth in the 10 years to mid-2024. Nine local authorities are projected to fall in size, with Barrow-in-Furness projected to show the largest population decrease of 2,900 (4.3%) over the 10 years to mid-2024. Of these 9 local authorities, 7 are in the North West, 1 in the North East and 1 in Yorkshire and The Humber.

How a population is projected to change locally depends on a number of factors that can interact and produce very different growth rates to England as a whole. The size and age structure of the population at mid-2014 is an important influence on future population change. Fertility and mortality rates have greater impact at certain age groups within the population and therefore affect areas differently depending on their age structures. Some areas also have more people moving in and out of them and will therefore be more affected by migration trends than others.

Interactive population maps are available for viewing the results of the 2014-based population projections for local authorities. They can be used to illustrate how the 3 components (natural change, within UK migration and international migration) affect the projected population change over the 10 years to mid-2024.

To use this interactive tool select a local authority to view the population change, natural change, within UK moves and international migration over the 10 years. All 3 elements will add up to the total population change showing each component’s contribution to the total population change over the 10 years to mid-2024.

Back to table of contents

6. Projected age structure: population aged 65 and over growing fastest

Interactive population pyramids are available for viewing the results of the 2014-based population projections for local authorities, regions and England as a whole. They can be used to illustrate how the size and age structure of the population in an area is projected to change over time, as well as allowing comparison with other areas.

Use this interactive tool to explore how the age structure of the projected population of an area changes over time.

Similar pyramids allowing age structures for two areas to be compared are also available.

Oldest age structure

Some local planning needs are related to specific age groups and therefore it is important to understand the possible changes to the age structure of an area when planning for the future.

Focusing on the older age groups, Figure 1 shows that the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase in all regions by an average of 20% between mid-2014 and mid-2024 as a result of the general ageing of the population as projected in the national population projections. The fastest growth in those aged 65 and over is seen in London where the number is projected to increase by 23.6% from slightly under 1 million to 1.2 million over the 10 year period.

Estimates indicate that in mid-2014 there were 28 local authorities where more than a quarter of residents were aged 65 and over. By mid-2024, it is projected that the number with this proportion will have increased threefold to 84 local authorities. Quantifying these trends is important in order to inform organisations who are interested in the population in this age group. For example, projections can be used to inform organisations involved in planning for health and social care provision, reviewing transport needs and business planning.

Interactive population maps designed for the age group 65 and over are available for viewing the results of the 2014-based population projections for local authorities. They can be used to show the projected proportion of those aged 65 and over in 2024 and illustrate the growth rate in this age group over the 10 years in an area of interest.

To use this interactive tool select a local authority. The projected proportion of those 65 and over in 2024 will be displayed on the left. The projected growth rate of the age group 65 and over from mid-2014 to mid-2024 will be displayed on the right.

Back to table of contents

7. Where can I find more information?

  1. The 2014-based subnational population projections data are published in summary datasets rounded to the nearest 100 persons. Tables contain projections for the full projection period 2014 to 2039.

  2. Unrounded subnational population projection data by single year of age and components of change are also available in open data format to allow you to aggregate data to the age groups that they require. A table of State Pension age factors may be useful for analyses of projected numbers of people of State Pension age.

  3. A methodology document describes the detailed methods and data sources used to produce the 2014-based subnational population projections and any changes in methods introduced since the 2010-based projections.

  4. The projections and supporting information covering their quality and the methodology used to produce them have been designed with the intention of best meeting your requirements. Our understanding of these requirements, together with a description of the strengths and limitations of the projections, is set out in the Quality and Methodology Information document: we welcome any comments or suggestions on these.

  5. A question and answer document contains information specifically about the 2014-based subnational population projections. It also has a table describing the data tables available with links for quick access to the dataset required.

  6. Questions relating to population projections more generally may be addressed in the frequently asked questions document. If you cannot find the answer to your question in these documents, please send your query to projections@ons.gsi.gov.uk or telephone +44 (0)1329 44 4652.

  7. A consultation was held from 18 January 2016 to 26 February 2016 to improve our understanding of what users need and to provide local authority and county council representatives the opportunity to see and comment on the provisional assumptions and projections data for their area. The consultation documentation is available to download from our website. This now includes a report documenting the responses to the consultation, published as part of this release.

  8. These projections supersede the 2012-based subnational population projections for England. Previous releases of the projections are available on the ONS website archive.

  9. A subnational population projections accuracy report was published in August 2015. This assesses the accuracy of previous subnational population projections against the mid-year estimates for 2011.

  10. Population projections are produced for similar small areas in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, it should be noted that these projections are not directly comparable due to differences in methodology and base years. More information on the similarities and differences in these projections is available in subnational population projections across the UK. National Records of Scotland (NRS) produce population projections at council and NHS board areas. The latest Scottish subnational projections are 2012-based and were published on 14 May 2014. The 2014-based projections are provisionally scheduled for July 2016.

    The statistical directorate of the Welsh Government produces population projections for Welsh local authorities, although, unlike the projections for English local authorities, these do not aggregate to equal the national population projections for the country as a whole. The latest Welsh subnational projections are 2011-based and were published on 20 December 2013. 2014-based projections are provisionally scheduled for September 2016.

    The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) produces population projections for areas within Northern Ireland, including local government, health and education geographies. The latest Northern Irish subnational projections are 2014-based and were published on 25 May 2016.

  11. The 2014-based subnational population projections are constrained to the principal 2014-based national population projections which were published on 29 October 2015.

  12. We have published a revisions policy for population, migration and life events statistics.

  13. More information on the range of related statistics is provided on the population and migration theme page.

  14. Subnational populations projections data by single year of age is also available on the NOMIS website

Back to table of contents

8 .Background notes

  1. Projections are made of the usually resident population, as defined for the mid-year population estimates. The population includes all usually resident persons, whatever their nationality. Members of HM Armed Forces in England are included, but members of HM Armed Forces and their families who are abroad are excluded. Members of foreign armed forces in England are also included, as are any accompanying dependants.

  2. In the projections, "fertility" refers to rates based on the number of births and the number of women of childbearing age over a particular year. "Mortality" is taken to mean the propensity to die. This is often expressed as mortality rates – the proportion of a group of a particular age and sex which would die over the year. "Migration" is taken to mean a flow of people who change their area of usual residence for a period of at least a year, and, unless otherwise specified, will include people moving within the UK as well as people moving to or from countries outside the UK.

  3. References in this statistical bulletin to local authorities exclude the Isles of Scilly and the City of London as the results for these areas are considered to be less reliable than for other areas due to their small population sizes. Data are published for these areas in the tables and files accompanying this release.

  4. These projections are produced for local authorities, counties and regions, and for Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS Area Teams, all with boundaries as at mid-2014. More information on all these areas is provided in our guide to UK geographies.

  5. All figures presented in the tables in this release have been rounded independently, so component figures may not add exactly to totals.

  6. We have published a new charging policy on our website.

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

  8. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available on the UK Statistics Authority website.

Back to table of contents

Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Andrew Nash
pop.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0) 1329 44 4661