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2. Summary Results, 2012-based National Population Projections This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 06 November 2013 Download PDF

Introduction

This report provides a brief summary of the results of the 2012-based national population projections and provides additional charts and summary tables illustrating the results of the projections. For discussion of the results see the statistical bulletin.

Included are sections on:

  • Results, which can also be examined using the following tools:
    - The interactive population pyramids, which allow comparisons of the projected age structure up to mid-2087.
    - The interactive graphs, which can be used to visualise the projected population and components of population change by country, age and sex up to mid-2037.
    - The interactive table download tool, which allows easy access to the detailed reference tables.

  • The role of migration in population growth.

  • Comparison with the results of the 2010-based national population projections.

  • Charts for the UK and constituent countries are available in the appendices showing:
    - actual and projected total population, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087,
    - actual and projected births and deaths, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087,
    - percentage age distribution for the period, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087,
    - actual and projected total population for the principal and key variant projections, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087,
    - change in the projected population at 2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections.

Summary of Results

Results

The UK population is projected to increase gradually from an estimated 63.7 million in mid-2012 to reach 73.3 million by mid-2037. Of the projected 9.6 million increase between mid-2012 and mid-2037, approximately 5.4 million (57 per cent) is due to projected natural increase (more births than deaths) while the remaining 4.2 million (43 per cent) is the assumed total number of net migrants.

Summary results tables


Table 2-1 presents a summary of the projection results by components of change from mid-2012 to mid-2037, for the UK. The equivalent tables for the constituent countries of the UK, England & Wales and Great Britain can be found in the data download of this table.

Table 2-1: Components of change: summary (annual average), United Kingdom, mid-2012 to mid-2037

Thousands
    2012-13 2013-18 2018-23 2023-28 2028-33 2033-37
Population at start 63,705 64,087 66,266 68,382 70,325 72,037
  Births 799 812 815 805 798 805
  Deaths 582 548 556 581 620 661
  Natural change 218 264 258 224 177 144
  Migration 165 172 165 165 165 165
  Total change 382 436 423 389 342 309
Population at end 64,087 66,266 68,382 70,325 72,037 73,272
               

Table notes:

  1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

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Charts of summary results

This section presents charts for the UK for the year ending mid-1971 to the year ending mid-2087. The equivalent charts for the constituent countries of the UK are available in the appendices A to D.

Figure 2-1 presents the estimated and projected total population in the UK between mid-1971 and mid-2087 and shows that the population is projected to continue to rise gradually over the period to mid-2087.

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland and the UK for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-2 shows the estimated and projected number of births and deaths in the UK since the year ending mid-1971.

 

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland and the UK for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-3 shows how the age distribution of the UK is projected to change, illustrating how the median age of the population increases through the projection period.

 

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland and the UK for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Variant projections

Table 2-2 presents projections of the total population under the principal projection, standard variant projections and special case scenarios for the UK and its constituent countries in mid-2037, mid-2062, mid-2087 and mid-2112. Three additional measures available in the data download include the percentage of the population under 16, percentage of population 65 and over and dependants per 100 persons of working age.

A further seven variant projections (two standard variants and five special case scenarios) are due to be released on 10 December 2013.

Table 2-2: Measures of population structure under the principal projection, standard variant projections and special case scenarios, UK, mid-2037, mid-2062, mid-2087 and mid-2112

Projection 2037 2062 2087 2112
Principal projection   73,272   79,904   86,463   93,332
SINGLE COMPONENT VARIANTS
High fertility 75,200 85,554 97,723 111,873
Low fertility 71,390 74,645 76,467 77,688
High life expectancy 74,068 83,162 92,545 102,715
Low life expectancy 72,443 76,529 80,176 83,639
High migration 74,952 83,882 92,856 102,010
Low migration   71,606   75,942   80,083   84,666
COMBINATION VARIANTS
Largest/smallest total population size
High fertility, High life expectancy, High migration 77,717 93,012 110,958 131,871
Low fertility, Low life expectancy, Low migration 68,935 67,540 64,639 61,543
SPECIAL CASE SCENARIOS
Zero migration (natural change only) 67,477 66,248 63,755 61,776

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Figure 2-4 shows the actual and projected population for the UK between mid-1981 and mid-2087, by principal projection and selected standard variants.

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland and the UK for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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The equivalent charts for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the relevant appendices.

 

Migration and Population Growth

The population of the UK is projected to rise both because of positive natural change, that is, more births than deaths and because of positive net migration. However, the components of population change are not independent of each other. In particular, the projected numbers of future births and deaths are themselves partly dependent on the assumed level of net migration.  

An understanding of the overall effect of migration on population growth can be obtained by comparing the results of the principal and main variant projections with those of the zero net migration (‘natural change only’) variant projection. The zero net migration variant assumes that net migration will be zero at all ages in future, but makes the same assumptions about fertility and mortality as the principal projection. The effect of net migration on population growth in the period to mid-2037 is considered. 

If annual net inward migration to the UK was to average 165,000 a year (the long-term assumption in the principal projection) this would lead to a total net inflow of 4.125 million migrants in the period between mid-2012 (the base year of the projections) and mid-2037. In fact, the projected total number of net migrants during this period in the principal projection is slightly higher (4.158 million) due to the higher migration assumptions for the first few years of the projection.

The assumed fertility and mortality rates are the same in the principal projection, the zero net migration variant projection and the high and low migration variants. However, because migration is concentrated at young adult ages, the different assumed numbers of migrants affect the number of women of childbearing age and hence the future number of births. 

There is no comparable effect on deaths, at least in the period to mid-2037. At ages over 45, assumed net migration flows are close to zero in the principal projection and the high and low migration variants. Indeed, small net migration outflows are assumed at some older ages. This results in the projected number of deaths over the period to mid-2037 being similar under all the migration variants.

Table 2-3 shows the projected components of population change in the period to mid-2037 in the principal projection, the high and low migration variants (which assume long-term annual net inward flows of 225,000 and 105,000 a year respectively), and the zero net migration variant projection.

Table 2-3: Projected population change, United Kingdom, mid-2012 to mid-2037

Thousands
      High migration variant   Principal projection   Low migration variant   Zero net migration variant
                   
Population at mid-2012   63,705   63,705   63,705   63,705
                   
Population change (2012-37)                
  Births   20,546   20,165   19,788   18,474
  Deaths   14,782   14,756   14,730   14,702
  Natural change   5,764   5,409   5,058   3,772
  Net migration   5,483   4,158   2,843   0
  Total change   11,247   9,567   7,901   3,772
                   
Population at mid-2037   74,952   73,272   71,606   67,477

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Table 2-4 shows how the projected population growth is broken down between the assumed level of net migration and projected natural change.

Table 2-4: Projected population growth by component, United Kingdom, mid-2012 to mid-2037

Thousands
    High migration variant   Principal projection   Low migration variant
             
Total population increase between 2012 and 2037   11,247   9,567   7,901
             
Resulting from:            
Assumed net migration   5,483   4,158   2,843
Natural change assuming zero net migration   3,772   3,772   3,772
Additional natural change from assumed level of net migration   1,992   1,638   1,287

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In the principal projection, the population of the UK is projected to grow by 9.6 million between mid-2012 and mid-2037. Some 4.2 million of this increase is directly due to the assumed number of net migrants. Natural change accounts for a further 5.4 million - the difference between 20.2 million births and 14.8 million deaths. Some 3.8 million of this natural change (increase) would occur with zero net migration. The remaining 1.6 million is the net effect of the assumed annual level of net migration on natural change (almost entirely the effect on births).

Some 43 per cent of population growth in the principal projection is therefore directly attributable to the assumed number of net migrants. The remaining 57 per cent is attributable to projected natural change (of which 39 per cent would occur with zero net migration and 17 per cent arises from the effect of net migration on natural change). In total, therefore, some 60 per cent of population growth in the period to mid-2037 in the principal projection is attributable, directly or indirectly, to future net migration. 

It should be emphasised that these calculations are based on comparing alternative projections which make the same assumptions about future fertility and mortality rates irrespective of the assumed level of net migration. In practice, fertility and mortality rates for new migrants are likely to differ, to some extent, from those for the existing population.

Note: The principal projection and the zero net migration variant projection for the UK are calculated by aggregating equivalent projections for the four constituent countries of the UK. The resulting UK level fertility and mortality rates are therefore effectively weighted averages of those for the individual countries. This leads to some very small differences at UK level between the effective fertility and mortality rates used in the principal projection and the zero net migration variant. This has no significant effect on the analysis in this section.

 

Comparisons with Previous Projections

Base population


Overall, the published mid-2012 population estimate for the UK is 460,000 (0.7 per cent) higher than the 2010-based projection of the population at mid-2012.  The new base population for mid-2012 takes into account the 2011 Census results which found approximately 500,000 more people compared with the rolled forward mid year estimates based on the 2001 Census.

Projected future population

The projected population of the UK at mid-2037 is about 639,000 (0.9 per cent) lower than in the 2010-based projections. This is because the population of the UK is projected to grow at a slower rate in the 2012-based projections than the 2010-based projections. This is due to the change in the assumptions made for the 2012-based projections, with the assumptions for migration being lower and those for fertility being higher in the long term, but lower in the short term than the 2010-based.

At mid-2037, populations are projected to be lower than in the 2010-based projections for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland but slightly higher for Scotland. The percentage difference by mid-2037 is greatest for Wales (2 per cent) where the projected levels of births and net migration have fallen.  The projected populations of England and Northern Ireland are 0.9 per cent and 0.4 per cent lower respectively than in the 2010-based projections. The population of Scotland is projected to be 0.01 per cent higher than previously projected.

Compared with the previous projections, the UK population at mid-2037 is lower in the age groups from 15 to 59 and higher for the 14 and under and 60 and over age groups.

Comparisons with the previous (2010-based) projections are given in Tables 2-5 and 2-6 and illustrated in Figure 2-5.

Table 2-5: Changes in projected births, deaths and net migration compared with the 2010-based projections, United Kingdom

2012-2013 2013-2023 2023-2033 2033-2037
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Births -41 -4.9 -200 -2.4 5 0.1 -35 -1.1
Deaths 23 4.2 -82 -1.5 -44 -0.7 6 0.2
Net migration -68 -366 -350 -140
Total change -132 -484 -301 -181

Table notes:

  1. Net migration and total change can be positive or negative and hence it is not possible to express change in percentage terms.

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Table 2-6: Changes in projected population by age compared with 2010-based projections, United Kingdom

mid-2012 mid-2023 mid-2033 mid-2037
000s % 000s % 000s % 000s %
Age group
0-14 156 1.4 -174 -1.4 38 0.3 51 0.4
15 - 29 -56 -0.4 56 0.5 -315 -2.4 -371 -2.7
30 - 44 291 2.3 -394 -2.9 -433 -3.1 -414 -3.1
45 - 59 77 0.6 130 1.0 -161 -1.3 -401 -3.0
60 - 74 55 0.6 221 2.1 266 2.2 295 2.5
75 & over -64 -1.3 4 0.1 147 1.7 201 2.2
All ages 459 0.7 -157 -0.2 -458 -0.6 -639 -0.9

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The equivalent tables for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the Excel download

Figure 2-5 shows change in the projected population for the UK at mid-2037, compared with the 2010-based projections.

 

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, United Kingdom

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, United Kingdom

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The equivalent charts for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the relevant appendices. 
 

Background notes

  1. 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

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Appendix A: England Charts

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, England, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, England, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, England, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, England

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, England

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Appendix B: Wales Charts

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Wales, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Wales, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Wales, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Wales

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Wales

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Appendix C: Scotland Charts

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Scotland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Scotland, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Scotland, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Notes:

  1. Mid year estimates for 2002-2010 are due to be revised to take account of the 2011 Census for Scotland. Revised population estimates for Scotland for 2002–2010 were not available at the time of projection.

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Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Scotland

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Scotland

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Appendix D: Northern Ireland Charts

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-1: Estimated and projected total population, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-2: Estimated and projected births and deaths, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-3: Percentage age distribution, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1971 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

Figure 2-4: Estimated and projected total population, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1981 to year ending mid-2087

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Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Northern Ireland

Figure 2-5: Change in projected population at mid-2037 by age and sex compared with the 2010-based projections, Northern Ireland

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Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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