Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Big slowdown in Wales’ population growth to just 1.4% in 10 years, first census figures reveal

28 Jun 2022 4 minute read
A busy Queen Street in Cardiff. Picture by Jon Candy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The population of Wales has grown just 1.4% in ten years, the first census results show.

The first tranche of data published today show the population increased from 3,063,456 to just 3,107,500 people.

There were 1,586,600 women (51.1% of the population) and 1,521,000 men (48.9%) in Wales.

The population in Ceredigion fell 5.8% in ten years, and there were also falls in Blaenau Gwent, Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, Swansea and Caerphilly.

The population of Wales and England taken together was up 6.3% to 59.6 million from 56.1 million a decade earlier.

The slow growth in population in Wales marks a significant slowdown on an increase of 5.3% between 2001 and 2011. That was the largest growth in the population since 1921.

The joint Wales and England figure also signals a slowdown in population growth over the last 10 years, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The previous census in 2011 showed the number of people living in England and Wales rose by a record 7.1% in a decade.

The ONS figures show 51.0% of the population across Wales and England is female, and 49.0% is male. This is a change from 50.8% female and 49.2% male in 2011.

“The rate of population growth in Wales was considerably lower than in England,” the ONS said.

“Population growth was also lower in Wales than in all English regions. The rate of growth in Wales was nearly six times lower than the East of England, the English region with the highest percentage change in the size of the population (8.3%).

“It was also lower than the English region with the lowest population growth, the North East (1.9%).”

Newport saw the highest rate of population growth since 2011 (at 9.5%). This is higher than the population growth rates for both Wales (1.4%) and England (6.6%). The next highest rate of population growth was in Cardiff (4.7%), followed by Bridgend (4.5%).

Several local authorities had lower populations in 2021 than in 2011. The greatest rates of population decline since 2011 were in Ceredigion (5.8%), Blaenau Gwent (4.2%) and Gwynedd (3.7%).

Older

There were also more people than ever before in the older age groups in Wales; the proportion of the population who were aged 65 years and over was 21.3% (up from 18.4% in 2011).

The new figures showed nearly one-in-five people across Wales and England (18.6%) is aged 65 and over, up from 16.4% in 2011.

“Wales had a larger percentage of the population aged 65 years and over than all English regions except the South West, where 22.3% of the population were in this age group,” the ONS said.

“The areas of Wales with the highest percentages of people aged 65 years and over were Powys (27.8%), Conwy (27.4%) and the Isle of Anglesey (26.4%), and the area with the highest percentage of people aged 90 years and over was Conwy (1.5%).

“The percentage of the population aged 15 to 64 years was larger in England (64.2%) than in Wales (62.2%). The only English region with a lower percentage of people in this age group than Wales was the South West (61.8%). The areas of Wales with the highest percentages of people aged 15 to 64 years were Cardiff (68.4%) and Newport (64.2%).

“Finally, the percentage of the population aged below 15 years was also larger in England (17.4%) than in Wales (16.5%). Once more, the South West (15.9%) was the only English region with a lower percentage of people in this age group than Wales.

“The Welsh local authorities with the highest percentages of the population aged under 15 years were Newport (19.0%) and Merthyr Tydfil (18.0%), whereas Ceredigion (13.1%) and Powys (14.4%) had the lowest.”

The 2021 survey, carried out on March 21 last year, came against the backdrop of both Brexit – which has seen restrictions on immigration – and the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 20 million households across England and Wales filled in census questionnaires in spring last year, with a record 89% of responses completed online.

Separate figures for Northern Ireland published last month showed that the population on census day was a record 1,903,100, up by 92,200 or 5% since 2011.

Scotland’s census data is not expected until next year.

Restrictions

The census takes place across the UK every 10 years and provides the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in the country.

Its results are used by a range of organisations including governments, councils and businesses, and underpins everything from the calculation of economic growth and unemployment to helping plan schools, health services and transport links.

Data from the 2021 census for England and Wales will be published in stages over the next two years, the ONS said.

Future releases will include figures on ethnicity, religion, the labour market, education and housing plus – for the first time – information on armed forces veterans, sexual orientation and gender identity.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago

Ageing of the native demographic mix, exit of younger working age and learners, influx of older retiring and career changers. Not a good look is it ? And the current pressure on basics like cost of living, let alone cost of housing, will only serve to reinforce this pattern. Our policy makers sit on their hands and fiddle around the edges as though it doesn’t matter because “London will look after us”.

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

Young people leave areas where there is not much opportunity for them. So they raise their families elsewhere. This has been the case for decades if not centuries. We know that 20% of our current population are English.
I would be very interested to know how many of the population of, say, England are Welsh. It has been a belief of mine for some time that there are at least as many 1st – 2nd generation Welsh living outside of Wales as in it. I need to seek out some facts

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

So I checked Wikipedia. Not the definitive source I’ll grant you, but self-identifying as Welsh in:-
WALES – 2 million
USA – 2 million
England 610,000
Canada 475,000
Australia 126,000
Argentina 50,000
Scotland 17,000
New Zealand 10,000

TOTAL PEOPLE SELF IDENTIFYING AS WELSH ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA = 5,288,000

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

Looking further in 1500, the population of England was about 8x larger than Wales.
In 2020 England’s population is 18x larger than Wales.
So it looks like extinction via social deprivation and economic migration for us as a culture then.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

This figure says a lot about all those immigrants flooding into Wales made by Brexiteers. England’s population has risen by 3.5 million whilst Wales has shrank by 100.000. But I noticed how the BBC has lumped Wales in with England on their website & news stating a rise in population of both to a level of 59.9 million. That England by the way not Wales. I noticed today on both the BBC website & news broadcasts like clickbait they boldly announced which is blatantly untrue that the population of England & Wales has risen. As said, Wales population has fallen… Read more »

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Certainly the brain drain, together with holiday homes which have no resident household for census purposes, are a major factor in Playground counties in the coastal west of Wales.

Jones2004
Jones2004
5 months ago

The population of Gwynedd fell 3.7% between the Censuses, but in the same time house prices rose 37% (and have risen an extra 13% since the March 2021). Therefore when politicians talk about building more houses being the key to increased housing affordability, they are to be frank talking nonsense. The main problem isn’t lack of housing (although it clearly is a problem in some areas), it’s that some people have numerous houses (either holiday homes or buy-to-let), while others have none. Sort that out, and housing will become much more affordable.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Jones2004

Exactly!! I wish politicians would wake up to this fact. Supply and demand doesn’t work with houses, for the exact reasons sighted.

George
George
5 months ago

We’re (very slowly) running out of people, running out of young people and (very quickly) making it horrifically expensive to be young or to bring up children.

Part a) is just one reason why Wales needs to be a nation welcoming to immigrants and part b) is why we should never vote for a Tory party or one of their right-wing friends.

Last edited 5 months ago by George
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
5 months ago
Reply to  George

Part a) and b) is why we need independence!

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
5 months ago

So, the number of children and young people in Wales is falling, and the number of retirees moving into the area is increasing.

Wake up Welsh Government. This situation is not sustainable either for our economy or our cultural heritage and identity!

Hell Glibson
Hell Glibson
5 months ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

Which politician would be willing to raise these issues? Can we name one?

Geraint
Geraint
5 months ago

Don’t be surprised when the next review of parliamentary constituencies takes place if even more Welsh seats in the HoC are lost.

Hell Glibson
Hell Glibson
5 months ago

Hence the Welsh Government’s quick-fix policy of supporting the ‘nation of sanctuary’ idea. Immigrant communities are absolutely booming in terms of birthrate, and there is not a single politician in all of Wales, not one mind you, who would be willing to advance the promotion of an increased Welsh birthrate whilst also pointing out the relatively large families of the minority ethnic communities. Whatsmore, nobody who is concerned with these dramatically important issues facing Wales is willing to make their views public. We live in nation of cowards, opportunists, shysters, cretins and welcome guests.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.