Data blog: New population projections in three charts

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published new population projections, which show that the UK population is forecast to increase by 9.7 million over the next 25 years.

Numbers of older people set to grow sharply (picture by Haymarket Medical/UNP)
Numbers of older people set to grow sharply (picture by Haymarket Medical/UNP)

The 2014-based national population projections provide the base for other sets of data, such as sub-national population projections and household projections, which inform plan-making and planning decisions by local authorities. Here are three charts highlighting three key messages to emerge from the data.

1. UK population to hit 74.3 million in mid-2039

The figures show that the UK population is projected to increase by 4.4 million over the next decade, rising from 64.6 million in 2014 to 69 million by mid-2024.

Over the full 25-year period of the projection, the UK population is projected to increase by 15 per cent to 74.3 million by mid-2039, with an annual average growth rate of 0.6 per cent.

The population of England is projected to grow by 7.5 per cent by mid-2024, according to the forecasts. They show that the populations of the other UK countries are also projected to increase, but at a slower rate (see infographic below).

Of the 9.7 million projected increase in population over the period to mid-2039, 4.7 million (49 per cent) is due to projected natural increase (more births than deaths), while 5 million is due to assumed net migration, according to ONS.

2. Growth projected to be higher than previous estimates

According to the new 2014-based forecasts, the population of the UK is projected to grow to 69 million by 2024. This is 249,000 higher than the previous 2012-based projection for 2024 (see infographic, below).

Changed assumptions include around 141,000 fewer births, 198,000 more deaths, and 502,000 more net migrants. The ONS says that these changes result in a projected growth of 6.9 per cent between 2014 and 2024, compared to 6.6 per cent in the 2012-based projections.

3. Numbers of older people set to grow sharply

According to the forecasts, the number of people aged 75 and over is projected to rise by 89.3 per cent, to 9.9 million, by mid-2039. The number of people aged 85 and over is projected to more than double, to reach 3.6 million by mid-2039.

"This increase in the numbers of older people means that by mid-2039 more than one in 12 of the population is projected to be aged 80 or over," the statistical release says.

The faster growth in the older age groups can be seen in the infographic below.

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