A detailed understanding of the dynamics of the local population is vital to any needs assessment activity. Migration flows and the changing nature of the population are fundamental drivers of both current and future needs.
What are the big issues?
Population growth in Warwickshire has been rapid, increasing by 9% or over 47,000 people from 2001. The mid-year 2015 estimates state that Warwickshire is home to 554,002 people. Growth has been particularly high in recent years, with continued in-migration from the urban areas of Coventry and Birmingham a key factor behind the trend. However, growth has not been consistent across the five districts of the county. Based on the 2015 mid-year population estimates the combined population of Rugby Borough and South Warwickshire (Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick Districts) was estimated to have increased by 15% since the 2001 Census, compared to 4% in the combined North Warwickshire and Nuneaton & Bedworth Boroughs.
Population change results from a combination of births, deaths and migration (both internal and international) flows. As with the previous year, migration was the driving factor for population change between 2014/15. Of the 2,408 residents gained between 2014/15, 427 (17.7%) residents were gained through natural change (births minus deaths), 966 (40.1%) were gained through internal migration, a further 942 (39.2%) were gained through international migration and 73 (3.0%) were gained due to other adjustments. There was again some variation around the county, when looking at drivers of population change.
- In North Warwickshire, deaths exceeded births, meaning natural change alone would have resulted in a decrease in the size of the population. However, net migration resulted in an additional 413 residents.
- Conversely, in Nuneaton & Bedworth net migration was down, with more people leaving the borough than coming to it. Natural change was therefore the driving factor for population growth in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough.
- Population change in Rugby was largely due to net migration; however natural change also played a significant role.
- Stratford-on-Avon also saw deaths exceed births, resulting in a loss of 346 residents. However, 825 residents were gained through migration. As Stratford-on-Avon has a large older adult population, it is not surprising that deaths would exceed births.
- International migration was once again the driving factor for population growth in Warwick, closely followed by natural change.
The visualisation above shows the projected number of persons gained in 2017, 2027 and 2037, demonstrating how the drivers of change vary over time. Natural change measures the number of births minus the number of deaths, whilst net migration measures the number of people gained through both internal and international migration. The figure calculates the number of people coming in, minus the number of people going out, to give a net total. Internal migration refers to moves within England, and international migration refers to moves between England and the rest of the world.
At County level, the impact of natural change on population growth decreases over time, with deaths exceeding births by 2037. Moreover, it is projected that deaths will exceed births in 2027 and 2037 in North Warwickshire, and from 2017 to 2037 in Stratford-on-Avon. The impact of natural change on population growth also reduces moderately in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough, Rugby Borough and Warwick District.
Conversely, net migration is projected to increase moderately across the three time points, in all of the districts and boroughs. The projections suggest migration will be the leading driver of population growth by 2037. The projections also indicate that it is internal migration, rather than international migration that will cause this increase. Across all of the districts and boroughs, the net international migration rate stays constant across the three time points.
Since the opening up of the UK labour markets to citizens of the new member states of the EU in 2004, a significant number of migrant workers have come to live and/or work in the County. It is not yet clear what impact ‘Brexit’ will have on the Warwickshire population.
What do we need to do?
From a public sector point of view, the projected population increase and population turnover complexities will result in additional pressures being placed on services (particularly health and social care) and the quality of life experienced by our residents as numbers increase hence there is a need to plan for this accordingly.
Who needs to know?
Comprehensive data and analysis on Warwickshire’s current and future population is contained within the Observatory’s latest Quality of Life Report.