28 June 2022
The population of England and Wales has increased by more than 3.5 million in the 10 years leading up to Census 2021. Using the first results from this census, we look at which places have seen the biggest increases and decreases, which areas had the largest growth in different age groups, and how local authority areas like Merthyr Tydfil compare with others.
In Wales, the population grew by 1.4% or 44,000 people. The English region with the largest population increase was the East of England, which grew by around 8.3% or 488,000 more residents. The English region with the smallest increase was the North East, growing by 1.9% or around 50,000 people.
A map shows the English regions and Wales.
In Merthyr Tydfil, the population size has changed very little since 2011, remaining around 58,800 in 2021. The total population of Wales grew by 1.4%, increasing by 44,000 to 3,107,500.
A map of local authority areas in Wales is coloured to indicate the percentage change in population of each area. The data used in this article are available to download at the end.
Nearby areas like Rhondda Cynon Taf and Powys have seen their populations increase by around 1.4% and 0.2%, respectively, while others such as Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly have seen decreases of 4.2% and 1.6%, respectively.
The map then zooms to centre on Merthyr Tydfil and show neighbouring areas.
The largest population increases in Wales have been seen in Newport and Cardiff, where the populations have grown by 9.5% and 4.7%, respectively.
At the other end of the scale, Ceredigion has seen a fall of 5.8%.
The local authority areas displayed on the map change form and position to create a bar chart that orders selected areas of Wales by percentage change in total population.
As of 2021, Merthyr Tydfil is the ninth most densely populated of Wales' 22 local authority areas, with around four people living on each football pitch-sized area of land.
A drawing of a football pitch is displayed. The number of people on the pitch, or the number of pitches for one person, changes as described in the text content.
Cardiff is the most densely populated local authority area in Wales with the equivalent of around 18 people per pitch. In England, Tower Hamlets in London has the equivalent of 112 people per pitch.
At the other end of the population density scale for Wales, the amount of land in Powys works out at around five pitches per resident.
This population pyramid shows the population of males and females in each five-year age group at the time of the 2011 Census.
The largest age group in Wales back then was those aged 45 to 49 years.
A population pyramid is displayed. It shows males and females in each age group as a percentage of the total population for Merthyr Tydfil in 2011. The age group with the largest number of people is highlighted.
More recently, in 2021, the largest age group in Wales was those aged 55 to 59 years.
A population pyramid is displayed. It shows the number males and females in each age group as a percentage of the total population for Wales in 2021. The age group with the largest number of people is highlighted.
Overall, in Wales, there has been an increase of 17.7% in people aged 65 years and over, a decrease of 2.5% in people aged 15 to 64 years, and a decrease of 1.0% in children aged under 15 years.
The population pyramid turns into a horizontal bar chart, with bars representing the percentage change in the number of people of any sex in each five-year age group in Wales.
This is how Merthyr Tydfil compares. There has been an increase of 13.3% in people aged 65 years and over, a decrease of 4.3% in people aged 15 to 64 years, and an increase of 3.7% in children aged under 15 years.
The horizontal bar chart now shows the percentage change in the number of people of any sex in each five-year age group in Merthyr Tydfil.
The places that have seen the largest increases in the population aged 65 years and over are Monmouthshire, which has seen 26.0% growth, and Vale of Glamorgan (24.9%).
A map of Wales appears, highlighting the areas with the largest increases in people aged 65 years and over.
The places that have seen the largest percentage decreases in children aged under 15 years are Ceredigion (10.1%), Powys (9.3%) and Monmouthshire (8.6%).
The map now highlights the areas with the largest decreases in children aged under 15 years.
Population change in certain areas may reflect how the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic affected people's choice of usual residence on Census
Day, for example, students and in some urban areas.
These changes might have been temporary for some and more long-lasting for others.
First results from Census 2021 are rounded to the nearest 100 so may not add exactly.
Changes over time have been calculated with rounded estimates for Census 2021 and unrounded estimates from the 2011 Census.
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