Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the UK has seen the largest growth in population to mid-2016 as a result of immigration, the birth rate and a lower death rate.
ONS data show that, while the population in England grew faster than the rest of the UK, population growth at regional level varied from 1.3% in London to 0.5% in the northeast.
However, the mid-2016 and mid-2015 population estimates at local authority level demonstrate that population trends vary across the UK, with the total population growing in 364 local authorities (LAs) in the year to mid-2016, compared with 350 LAs to mid-2015.
Of the 26 local authorities showing population decreases to mid-2016, these were spread throughout England, Wales and Scotland – and 17 of these were in coastal areas.
Of the 14 authorities showing population increases of 2% or above, eight of these were in London, with five local authorities in Inner London – Westminster, Camden, City of London, Islington and Haringey – and three others in East London (Tower Hamlets, Newham, and Barking and Dagenham).
ONS analysts say this growth pattern is consistent with the Office for National Statistics’ Analysis of City Regions, based on mid-2015 population estimates.
While city regions have grown faster than the rest of the UK since 2011, the drivers of growth in each city region vary – London is growing faster than the others because of its young age structure and attractiveness to international migrants.
The composition of the UK population overall is determined by the pattern of births, deaths and migration that have taken place in previous years – the proportion of the population aged 65 and over reached 18.0% in mid-2016, representing a rise of 0.1 percentage points on mid-2015.
The data suggests that this may mean the rapid ageing of the population seen between 2009 and 2015 may be temporarily slowing as relatively smaller cohorts attain the age of 65.
By contrast, the large peak of people born in the post-war year to mid-1947 means that there is a large cohort of people now aged 69.
The median age in the UK has remained unchanged for two years at 40 years – ONS data show that age structures vary across the UK, with Northern Ireland having a relatively young age structure, with 16.0% of the population being aged 65 and over and a median age of 38.3 years.
London has a young age structure, however, with 11.6% of its population aged 65 and over (Tower Hamlets showing the lowest proportion at 6.0%) and a median age of 34.8 years.
The southwest of England has 21.6% of its population aged 65 and over (33.3% in West Somerset), however, and a median age of 43.6 years.
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