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This Population and Migration summary has been produced as part of the Compendium of UK Statistics and this page presents some more detailed analysis for some of the main statistics within this theme. The statistics provided are the latest comparable figures as available on 5 June 2014. The population estimates figures were updated to the mid-2013 figures when they were published in June.

The full data catalogue provides web links to the statistical releases and assessments of the comparability of the statistics. The figures presented here have been assessed as fully comparable.

Population change between mid-2003 and mid-2013

The population of the UK was 64.1 million at mid-2013, an increase of 4.5 million (7.5%) since mid-2003. England had the highest population growth rate (7.9%) amongst the four constituent countries during this time, followed by Northern Ireland (7.3%), Scotland (5.1%) and Wales (4.9%). London was the only region to see an increase of more than 10%, while in general, the population increases in the South and East of England were greater than those seen in Northern England, Wales and Scotland.

Map 1 shows the overall population change in more detail for the countries of the UK and English Regions during the period.

Map 1: Change in mid-year population estimates for constituent countries and regions of the United Kingdom, mid-2003 to mid-2013

Population growth rate was highest in London, at 13.8% from mid-2003 to mid-2013

Source: Office for National Statistics

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Age structure of mid-2013 population

The age structure for each of the four countries of the UK is very similar. In mid-2013, Northern Ireland had the youngest population as it had the highest proportion of young people aged under 16 (20.9%), and the lowest proportion of people aged 65 to 74 (8.5%) and 75 and over (6.8%). Scotland had a marginally higher proportion (65.1%) of people of working age (16 to 64 year olds), compared to 63.8% in England and Northern Ireland, and 62.5% in Wales.

Figure 1: Population by age band, mid-2013

Northern Ireland had the youngest population as it had the highest proportion of people aged under 16 and the lowest proportion of people aged 65 and over

Source: Office for National Statistics

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Projections of the dependency ratio of the number of people of working age to the number of people of state pension age

In the UK, the number of people of state pension age is projected to increase between mid-2012 and mid-2037 by 31% (despite increases in the state pension age), which equates to an average annual growth rate of 1.1%. On the other hand, the number of people of working age is projected to rise by 12% (an average annual growth rate of 0.5%).

The dependency ratio is calculated as the number of people of working age divided by the number of people of state pension age. There were 3.21 people of working age for every person of state pension age in mid-2012. By mid-2022, allowing for the change in state pension age, this dependency ratio is projected to rise slightly to 3.39. However, it fluctuates over this period as the population ages and further changes in state pension age are enacted between 2034 and 2036. It is projected to fall to 2.74 by mid-2037. In mid-2037 for the constituent counties, this figure is projected to be 2.77 for England, 2.71 for Northern Ireland, 2.61 for Scotland and 2.44 for Wales.

Figure 2: Dependency ratios – number of working age population to each person of state pension age, 2012 to 2037(1)

Figure 2: Dependency ratios - number of working age population to each person of state pension age, 2012 to 2037

Source: Office for National Statistics (Table A1-4, Table A1-5, Table A1-6 and Table A1-7)

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Notes

1. Population projections are uncertain and become increasingly so the further they are carried forward in time. They do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour. For example, the projections of the state pension age population take into changes to the state pension age set out in the Pensions Act 2011, but do not take into account proposed future changes to the state pension age which are yet to become law.

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Life expectancy at birth

The following commentary compares life expectancy at birth for the period 1980-82 with life expectancy at birth for the period 2010-12. The data is based on the population estimates and death registration data for a period of three consecutive years. This helps to reduce the effects of annual fluctuations in the number of deaths caused by seasonal events such as flu.

Life expectancy in all four countries of the UK has risen since 1980-1982. In England life expectancy at birth has risen to 79.0 years for males and 82.8 years for females, the highest of all constituent countries in 2010-2012. Life expectancy for 2010-2012 in Wales has reached 78.1 years for males and 82.1 years for females, while in Northern Ireland it has reached 77.7 years for males and 82.1 years for females. Males in Scotland have a life expectancy at birth of 76.5 years and for females it is 80.7 years, the lowest of all constituent countries in 2010-2012.

The greatest gains in life expectancy have been seen in Northern Ireland where male life expectancy has increased by 8.5 years and female life expectancy by 6.6 years since 1980-1982. The lowest gains in life expectancy at birth have been seen in Scotland, where since 1980-82 male life expectancy at birth has increased by 7.4 years and females have seen an increase of 5.4 years. In England and in Wales the increase in life expectancy at birth since 1980-1982 has been just under eight years for males and six years for females.

The gap in life expectancy between England and Scotland has increased slightly between 1980-82 and 2010-12. For males the gap has increased from 2.0 years to 2.5 years while for females the gap has increased by a smaller amount from 1.7 years to 2.1 years.

As shown in Figure 3, the gap in life expectancy at birth between males and females has decreased in all countries within the UK between the period 1980-82 and the period 2010-12. In the latter period Northern Ireland had the largest difference between male and female life expectancy at birth at 4.4 years followed by Scotland at 4.2 years, Wales at 4.0 years and England at 3.8 years.

Figure 3: Life expectancy at birth: by sex, 1980–82 to 2010–12

 
Figure 3: Life expectancy at birth by sex

Source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 3.1 shows life expectancy at birth for the four constituent countries of the UK and selected European countries for males in 2010-12. Iceland had the highest male life expectancy at birth of 80.8 years in 2012, while Latvia had the lowest at 69.1 years. Life expectancy at birth for males in England was 79.0 years in 2010-2012, higher than France at 78.4 and Germany at 77.7 years. Male life expectancy at birth in Wales was just below France at 78.1 years. Males in Northern Ireland and Scotland had life expectancies at birth of 77.7 years and 76.5 years respectively, which were considerably above Poland (72.7 years) and Latvia (69.1 years).

Figure 3.1: Life expectancy at birth for selected countries, males, 2010-12

Figure 3.1: Life expectancy at birth for selected countries, males, 2010-12

Source: Statistics Iceland; Swiss Federal Statistical Office; Statistics Sweden; National Statistics Institute of Spain; Statistics Netherlands; Office for National Statistics; National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies - France; Statistics Denmark; Federal Statistical Office of Germany; Central Statistical Office of Poland and Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

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Notes

1. Countries have been selected based on the availability of data for the selected years.

 

Figure 3.2 shows life expectancy at birth for the four constituent countries of the UK and selected European countries for females in 2010-12. Of the countries shown, Spain had the highest life expectancy at 85.1 years, whilst Latvia had the lowest life expectancy at 78.9 years. Life expectancy at birth for females in England was 82.8 years, 2.3 years lower than Spain. Life expectancy at birth for females in England is higher than in Germany and Denmark. Similarly to male life expectancy patterns shown in Figure 3.1, females in Northern Ireland and Wales have a life expectancy at birth below that of the Netherlands and Germany but above Denmark, both at 82.1 years. Females in Scotland have a life expectancy 4.4 years below Spain, and in general rank lower in Figure 3.2 compared to the ranking of their male counterparts in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.2: Life expectancy at birth for selected countries, females, 2010-12

Figure 3.2: Life expectancy at birth for selected countries, females, 2010-12

Source: National Statistics Institute of Spain; National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies - France; Swiss Federal Statistical Office; Statistics Iceland; Statistics Sweden; Office for National Statistics; Statistics Netherlands; Federal Statistical Office of Germany; Statistics Denmark; Central Statistical Office of Poland and Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

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Notes

1. Countries have been selected based on the availability of data for the selected years

 

The Social Indicators theme of this compendium includes a comparison of life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for 2008-2010.

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Perceptions of national identity across England, Wales and Scotland

Three-fifths (60%) of the population of England stated their national identity in the 2011 Census as English only, whilst 9% identified themselves as English and British (not combined with any other national identity) and 1% identified themselves as English combined with another national identity. The proportion of people living in Wales who identified themselves as Welsh only was 58%, with a further 7% who felt Welsh and British (not combined with any other national identity) and 1% felt Welsh combined with another national identity. The proportion of people living in Scotland with a Scottish only national identity was 62%, whilst an additional 18% felt Scottish and British (not combined with any other national identity), and a further 2% considered themselves to be Scottish in combination with another national identity.

19% of residents of England associated themselves with a British-only national identity, compared to 17% of residents of Wales and 8% of residents of Scotland.

Figure 4: National identity across England, Wales and Scotland, 2011(1)

Figure 4: National Identity across England, Wales and Scotland

Source: Office for National Statistics (Table QS214EW) | National Records of Scotland

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Notes  

1. For those living in England, the national identity for their country of residence will be English only, for those living in Wales the national identity will be Welsh only and so on.

 

The proportion of people living in Wales who associated themselves with an English only identity (as their sole national identity) was 11%. The proportion of people living in Scotland who identified themselves as English only (as their sole national identity) was 2%, whilst the proportion of people living in England who associated themselves with a Scottish only identity (as their sole national identity) was 1%.

National Identity statistics for Northern Ireland are not presented here as they are not comparable with those for England, Wales and Scotland. For more information please see the Population and Migration Data Catalogue.

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Long-term International Migration by area of destination within the UK

Within England, 131,000 people immigrated to London from outside the UK in 2012, which is the lowest estimate since 1996 when 125,000 migrants were estimated to have moved to London. After London, the South East (59,000) received the largest numbers of immigrants from outside the UK in 2012. Combined, London and the South East accounted for 38% of all immigrants to the UK in 2012.

In 2012, the inflow of long-term international migrants to Scotland (34,000) was similar to that of the English regions Yorkshire and The Humber (35,000) and the East Midlands (35,000). Scotland and Yorkshire and The Humber both had populations of 5.3 million in mid-2012, whilst the East Midlands had 4.6 million usual residents. Inflows to Wales (16,000) were similar to inflows to the North East region (17,000) which had a usually resident population in mid-2012 of 2.6 million compared to 3.1 million in Wales. Northern Ireland, the least populous region of the UK, had the lowest levels of immigration (12,000) in 2012.

In 2012, Northern Ireland was the only one of the four nations of the UK to have more emigrants than immigrants leading to a net migration figure leading to a net outflow of 2,000. The net migration figures for England, Wales and Scotland were 158,000, 8,000 and 14,000 respectively.

Figure 5: Proportion of long-term international immigrants to the UK who immigrated to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions, 2012

Figure 5: Proportion of long-term international immigrants to the UK who immigrated to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions in 2012

Source: Office for National Statistics (Table 2.06)

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Local level population density

In mid-2013, all of the top 10 local authorities with the highest population densities were in Greater London, with Islington the highest  at 14,517 people per sq km, followed by Tower Hamlets (13,798 people per sq km) and Hackney (13,511 people per sq km). The highest population density outside of London was Portsmouth which was ranked 20th of the 406 local authority districts across the UK with a population density of 5,141 people per sq km.

Figure 1 shows selected population densities for local authorities across the UK compared to the local authority with the highest population density, the London borough of Islington. The highest population densities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in mid-2013 were Glasgow (3,415 people per sq km, ranked 50th), Belfast (2,575 people per sq km, ranked 74th) and Cardiff (2,505 people per sq km, ranked 76th) respectively.

Figure 6: Population density for selected UK local authorities, mid-2013

Figure 6: Population density for selected UK local authorities, mid-12

Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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Notes

1. Population density estimates from the United Nations can be found in Table 8 of the Demographic Yearbook

 

Of the ten local authority districts with the lowest population densities in mid-2013, eight were located in Scotland. The areas with the lowest population density were Highland and Eilean Siar at 9 people per sq km. The areas with the lowest population density outside of Scotland were Eden in Cumbria (25 people per sq km) and Powys in Wales (26 people per sq km).

According to estimates from the UN, the most densely populated local authorities in the UK have a population density similar to that of Tokyo (14,386 people per sq km). Compared to other cities in developed countries, Paris has a high population density (21,277 people per sq km), more than double that of New York (10,430 people per sq km) and over five times that of Berlin (3,926 people per sq km).

A map showing population density across the UK in mid-2013 is included in the interactive content section.

Explore population density across the UK, and population change between 2001 and 2011 using the Census population density interactive map.

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Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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