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Release: National Population Projections Historical Series, 2003-based Projections

Released: 30 September 2004


Suzanne Dunsmith

Population Projections Unit

Telephone: +44(0)1329 444 652

Categories: Population, Population Change, Population Projections, National Population Projections

Frequency of release: Biennially

Language: English

Geographical coverage: UK

Geographical breakdown: Country

  • This Interim set of projections take account of revisions made to the population estimates for England and Wales in September 2004. They also remove the allowance for unattributable population change in England and Wales made in the 2002-based projections.
  • These projections were produced by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) in consultation with the Registrars General and were previously published on the GAD website.
  • On 31 January 2006, the function of producing the national projections transferred from the Government Actuary's Department to the Office for National Statistics.

In this release

National population projections are available by age and sex for the UK and its constituent countries. They are based on the annual mid-year population estimates and a set of underlying assumptions of future levels of fertility, mortality and net migration.

The projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. They provide an indication of the impact that changes in demographic patterns might have on the size and age structure of the population in the future. Projections become increasingly uncertain the further they are carried forward and long-term projections should be used with caution. National population projections are used as a common framework for national planning and policy making in a number of fields such as fiscal sustainability, health, education and state pensions policy. They also provide the base for other products such as subnational population projections and household projections, which are widely used for resource allocation and planning.

Normally, a new set of projections is made every second year, based on a fullscale review of the underlying assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration. However, following consultation with the Registrars General of England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was agreed that the Government Actuary should produce an additional 'interim' set of 2003-based projections. This followed the announcement in July 2004 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that they would be revising their estimate of the mid-2001 population of England & Wales upwards by about 60,000. Accordingly, revised estimates for mid-2001 and mid-2002, together with estimates for mid-2003, were published on 9 September 2004. The interim 2003-based projections take account of these revisions. The allowance for unattributable population change in England and Wales made in the 2002-based projections has also been removed.

The interim 2003-based projections are designated as 'interim' projections as, aside from the allowance for unattributable population change, there has been no change to the long-term assumptions (for fertility, mortality and net migration) underlying the 2002-based projections. Population estimates for Scotland and Northern Ireland were unaffected by the above changes. However, in the interests of producing up to date results at UK level, interim 2003-based projections were produced for all countries. And some short-term changes have been made to the assumptions about fertility and migration between the countries of the UK which affect all four countries. The main focus of these projections is on the period to 2031.

The next full set are based on the estimated population at mid-2004.

Other useful information

Population Trends article discussing the Interim 2003-based national population projections:

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.