A detailed understanding of the local population is vital to needs assessment. Population size and structure is a fundamental driver of need and demand. It also forms the basis against which other data can be analysed, helps to identify inequalities and is a key building block in modelling service requirements. JSNA data should paint a picture of the local area, its characteristics and the diversity within it.
The latest population estimates reveal that Warwickshire is home to an estimated 556,750 people, this is an increase of 2,748 people from the previous year. The rate of growth in Warwickshire is below that experienced nationally (0.83%), but at county level the growth rate has increased from 0.44% for 2014 to 2015, to 0.50% for 2015 to 2016. When looking at population change across the five districts and boroughs, we can see there is some variation.
Going against previous trends, Rugby Borough no longer experiences the highest rate of population growth in the county and now has the second lowest growth (just 0.36% growth between 2015 and 2016 compared to 0.92% growth between 2014 and 2015). Indeed, North Warwickshire Borough has the highest population growth having gained an additional 442 people, and the borough grew at a larger rate (0.70%) than it had done the previous year (0.51%).
Both Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough and Stratford-on-Avon District experienced a higher rate of population growth (0.55% and 0.62% respectively) than the previous year (0.11% and 0.36% respectively). Warwick District experienced the lowest rate of population growth in the county at 0.34%
Population change results from a combination of births, deaths and migration (both internal and international) flows. 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 Borough, 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 Borough 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 the borough.
• Population change in Rugby Borough was largely due to net migration; however natural change also played a significant role.
• Stratford-on-Avon District also saw deaths exceed births, resulting in a loss of 346 residents. However, 825 residents were gained through migration. As Stratford-on-Avon District 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 District, closely followed by natural change.
What are the big issues?
The ONS 2014-based projections suggest Warwickshire is projected to be home to 618,456 people by 2039. This would be an 11.1% increase in population from 2016 to 2039 or 61,706 people, lower than the equivalent national increase of 15.0%.
How a population is projected to change locally depends on a number of factors that can interact and produce very different growth rates to England as a whole. The size and age structure of the population at mid-2016 is a big indicator of the future population.
Warwickshire’s population as a whole is projected to be more heavily influenced by migration than natural change (births-deaths) into the future and particularly in later years of the projection, internal migration (between local authorities) plays a larger role in influencing the figures.
Some local planning needs are directly relevant to specific age groups and therefore it is important to understand the possible changes to the age structure of an area when planning for the future.
Overall Warwickshire is expected to grow by 11.1% between 2016 and 2039, however, this masks considerable variation when looking at broad age bands. The population aged between 0-14 years is expected to grow by 4.9% between 2016 and 2039; however the population aged between 16-64 years is only expected to grow by 2.1%. The Warwickshire population aged 65 years or over is expected to increase by almost half (49.0%) between 2016 and 2039 and when we consider the population aged 90 years or over, this is expected to increase substantially by 226%.
A report released by the Department of Work & Pensions has examined life expectancy for different generations, and highlighted some striking findings. For example, 20-year-olds are three times more likely to reach 100 than their grandparents, and twice as likely as their parents. Furthermore, a girl born in 2011 has a one in three chance of living to 100; for a boy the chance is one in four. To put these findings into a Warwickshire context, in 2011 we had fewer than 50 residents turning 100 each year. In the year 2030, more than 250 local residents will become centenarians each year and by the year 2060 Warwickshire will have around 5,000 residents aged 100 or more, equivalent to the entire population of Shipston-on-Stour.
What do we need to do?
Whilst living longer is a cause for celebration, from a public sector point of view, the two key impacts of this trend are the additional pressures that will be placed upon our services (particularly health and social care) and the quality of life experienced by our residents as their life expectancy increases. We all need to plan for this accordingly.
Who needs to know?