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 554,002 people, this is an increase of 2,408 people from the previous year. The rate of growth in Warwickshire is below that experienced nationally (0.80%), and at county level the growth rate has decreased from 0.52% for 2013 to 2014, to 0.44% for 2014 to 2015. When looking at population change across the five districts and boroughs, we can see there is some variation.
In line with previous trends, Rugby once again experienced the highest rate of population growth in the county, a rate higher than that seen nationally. Between 2014 and 2015 the borough gained an additional 943 people, meaning that population growth in Rugby accounted for 39.2% of Warwickshire’s population growth as a whole. Whilst population growth in Rugby remains the highest in the county, the borough grew at a smaller rate (0.92%) than it had done the previous year (1.11%).
According to the mid-2014 population estimates, Warwick District experienced the second highest rate of growth, increasing by 0.67% between 2013 and 2014, however the latest figures show North Warwickshire experienced the second highest rate of growth between 2014 and 2015, increasing by 0.51% compared to 0.38% in Warwick. Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough once again experienced the lowest rate of population growth at county level (0.11%).
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.
What are the big issues?
The ONS 2014-based projections suggest Warwickshire is projected to be home to 618,456 people by 2039. This is a 12.1% increase or 66,912 people in the 25 year period, 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-2014 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 12.1% over the 25 year period, however, this masks considerable variation when looking at broad age bands. The population aged between 0-14 years is expected to grow by 6.7% in the 25 year period; however the population aged between 16-64 years is only expected to grow by 0.1%. The Warwickshire population aged 65 years or over is expected to increase by over half (54.4%) over 25 years and when we consider the population aged 90 years or over, this is expected to increase substantially by 269%.
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?