Gaining an understanding of the local population is vital to any assessment of health. The population of Wales is currently 2.97 million and has remained fairly constant over recent years.

At local authority level, however, there is considerable variation in age structure, ethnic make-up and mobility, which has implications for the planning and provision of public services across Wales. Over the last thirty years or so the population of Wales has grown from 2.74 million in 1971 to 2.97 in 2006, most noticeably in recent years due to net inward migration from England. There is considerable variation, however, as some local authorities in Wales have declining populations due to low birth rates and the outward migration of young people (WAG, 2007).

Population Groups

NHS Wales is working to improve health, to prevent illness and to reduce inequalities in health. This includes giving everyone equal access to health facilities and services. Some groups of people are vunerable and can find access to services difficult for a variety of reasons. Examples include:

In 2009, the Public Health Wales Observatory produced Demography Profiles as the first in a series of products for health boards. The profiles aim to provide information for health boards about the population they are responsible for and to act as a resource to assist with their planning activities.

Population data for Wales

For mid year population estimates and statistics on the components of population change (birth, death, migration), follow the link to StatsWales


Welsh Assembly Government (2007) Wales’s population - A demographic overview 1971-2005. (Cardiff: WAG)