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Population Change

Introduction

Census data from 2001 and 2011 indicate there has been an increase of 11,300 people in the population of Reading Borough. During that time period annual estimates have indicated continued population growth. Statistical information suggests that the main drivers for population growth are international migration and 'natural change' (the number of births minus the number of deaths in an area). The high number of births and patterns of international immigration have implications for the health needs of the population.

What do we know?

Office for National Statistics (ONS) annual mid-year estimates of population change consider a number of common contributing factors known as the 'components of change'. The sum of these components provides an overall number.

The components, which can be positive or negative, are broadly described as:

  • 'natural change' (the number of births minus the number of deaths in an area);
  • Net migration (the number of people moving into the area minus the number of people moving out - for more information about migration patterns in Reading, see Migration section below); and
  • other changes.

Overall, the population increase in the UK in the year to June 2014 was driven by both international migration (accounting for 53% of the increase) and natural change (46%). Local authority level data for Reading suggest similar trends locally, with population increase split almost equally between international migration (49.5%) and natural change (50.5%).

Net international migration into Reading in the year 2013 to mid-2014 was 1583 (1583 more people moved to Reading from outside of the UK, than moved out of Reading to areas outside of the UK). These additional people accounted for 0.98% of the total population in mid-2014. This compares to 0.38% in the South East and 0.4% in the UK.

By contrast, net internal migration for the South East indicates that almost 20,000 additional people were living in areas of the South East in 2014 after moving from other areas of the UK. This accounts for almost a quarter of the annual increase in total population. In the same period Reading saw a net decrease in internal migration of 1,493 people, indicating that more people left Reading for other parts of the UK that came to Reading.

This is similar to trends seen in London, which saw a net decrease of 55,000 people to June 2013. Like London, Reading saw a high inflow into the area but an even higher outflow (Table 1).

Table 1: Internal Migration Inflows and Outflows in Reading and South-East

Area

In-flow

Out-flow

Number

% of mid-2013 pop

Number

% of mid-2013 pop

Reading

11,847

7.44%

13,340

8.38%

South East

242,323

2.76%

222,328

2.53%

Source: ONS (MYE for Population Change for local authorities)

ONS analysis into London moves suggests that:

  • Young people move out of London for education
  • Graduates move into London for work
  • From their 30's onwards, more people leave London (for more affordable housing, or for social or environmental reasons, such as social and educational environment for children).

As Reading has a strong economy and low unemployment, as well as a large university, it is possible to infer that Reading may be experiencing similar trends, with young people moving into Reading for work or graduates remaining in the town after their studies are complete (ONS, 2014). In contrast to the trends seen in London, however, Reading has seen an increase in the number of children in the population, suggesting that those moving to improve their children's social and environmental conditions may remain within the Borough.

The number of live births registered in Reading in 2013/14 (2627) was more than double the number of deaths registered in Reading in the same period (1013), giving a total of 1614 for 'natural change'. The additional number of people in the population as a result of natural change accounts for 1% of the total population in 2014, compared to 0.49% in the South East and 0.35% in the UK. (ONS, 2015a)

Taken together, these figures suggest that, to date, population increases in Reading have been more closely linked to a high rate of births and international migration than elsewhere in the South East and UK, and that Reading has seen a low net internal migration compared to the rest of the South East.

Those migrating to the UK are likely to be in the 25-44 age group (ONS, 2015b; Cooper, Campbell, Patel and Simmonds, 2014). These trends are consistent with the changes in the age of population that have been observed in census data shown in Table 2 below. Data indicates that the largest increase by age group has been amongst the 30-59 age group, accounting for an additional 6,200 people, or more than half of the total population increase. This group accounted for 39.7% of Reading's population in 2001 and 40.8% in 2011 (Figure 1).

Table 2: Population change by age group, census data 2001 and 2011.

Age Groups

Reading 2011

Reading 2001

Reading % change 2001-2011

Reading % change 1991 - 2002

All Ages

155,700

144,400

8.8

7.1

0-14

28,500

25,100

13.5

0.8

15-19

9,800

9,000

8.8

3.4

20-29

29,700

29,700

0

-3.6

30-59

63,500

57,300

10.8

23.0

60-74

15,500

14,300

8.3

-7.7

75+

8,700

8,800

-1.2

4.8

Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census Table KS102EW

Figure 1: % of each age group in total population (Reading)

image1

Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census Table KS102EW

Increases also occurred amongst those aged 0-14 (13.5% increase), 15-19 (8.8% increase) and 60-74 (8.3% increase). There was no change or decline in the numbers aged 20-29 (no change) and 75+ (1.2% decrease).

International migration is also likely to have an effect on patterns of ethnicity, and census data from 2001 and 2011 indicate that Reading's population has become more ethnically diverse, with the largest increases occurring amongst those identifying themselves as Other White, Black African, Other Asian and Indian (See Table 3 below and also JSNA Ethnicity section).

Table 3: Ethnicity in Reading - Census data 2001 and 2011

Ethnicity Group

Reading 2001

Reading 2011

England 2011

White British

86.8%

66.9%

80.9%

Other White

4.2%

7.9%

4.6%

Mixed

2.4%

3.9%

2.2%

Indian

1.7%

4.2%

2.6%

Pakistani

2.7%

4.5%

2.1%

Other Asian

0.8%

3.9%

2.3%

Black Caribbean

2.2%

2.1%

1.1%

Black African

1.6%

4.9%

1.8%

Black Other

0.4%

0.7%

0.5%

Chinese

0.7%

1.0%

0.7%

Other ethnic group

0.7%

0.9%

1.0%

Source: Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census KS06. SASPAC Version 6. 2011 Table KS201EW

While we might expect population changes in Reading in the short term to continue to be driven by a high rate of international migration and high birth rate, longer term predictions highlight even more significant changes amongst older age groups.

While the increase in the number of working age people living in Reading is likely to continue, with the 20-64 age group predicted to increase from 100,000 to 103,800 by 2037, by far the largest long term growth is predicted in the number aged over 65 years, estimated to increase from 18,400 to 31,300 in the same period (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Population projections by broad age group (Reading)

image2

Source: Office for National Statistics

The rate of deaths in the UK has been declining steadily as people live longer as a result of better healthier lifestyles and better healthcare. Therefore, although the rate of deaths in Reading is not exceptional and is similar to the national rate, the number of people living to older age can still be expected to increase over time.

National & Local Strategies (Current best practices)

Local Authorities are required to consider wider factors that will impact on their communities' health and wellbeing, and this includes examining needs of residents born outside of the UK (Department of Health (DH) (2013). Statutory Guidance on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies).

What is this telling us?

  • Population growth in Reading is driven by international migration and high birth rate, leading to an expanding and increasingly diverse working age population and a growing number of children.
  • Net internal migration is low, as high numbers moving to Reading are exceeded by high numbers moving away from the area.
  • As mortality rates decline in future the number of older adults can be expected to increase.

What are the unmet needs / service gaps?

All of these changes to population composition have implications for the way in which health services are likely be utilized in Reading.

  • In the immediate and short term, population increases are likely to increase demand for neonatal and infancy care and healthcare related to fertile years for women. Reading has a high rate of births (see JSNA section on Birth Predictions) and a high proportion of population growth attributable to natural change, this is likely to mean high demand for neonatal and maternity health services for young children and expectant mothers. In addition, patterns of migration into the UK suggest that roughly half of the increase in population is likely to be accountable to females and most are aged between 25 and 44.
  • Similarly, as the population becomes more ethnically diverse, the provision of culturally competent and culturally sensitive services will become more important to ensure that health services remain accessible and responsive to the people who need them.
  • In the longer term, predicted population increases in older age groups as mortality rates decline are likely to dramatically increase demand for health care services for older people in future.

This section links to the following sections in the JSNA:

Migration

Ethnicity

References

Cooper, J, Campbell, S, Patel, D and Simmons J. (2014). The reason for migration and labour market characteristics of UK residents born abroad. Home Office, London.

Office of National Statistics (ONS) (2015a). MYE3: Components of Population Change for Local Authorities in the UK, mid-2014. ONS, London.

ONS (2015b). Long-Term International Migration Estimates 1991-2014 (table 2.07). ONS, London.

Reading Borough Council (2012). Census 2011 - Summary for Reading. RBC, Reading.

Department of Health (DH) (2013). Statutory Guidance on Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies. Department of Health, London.

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