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Population around the county

Download small area population estimates.

The Population of Herefordshire report can be downloaded from the resource box at the bottom of the page.  It includes further detail about population around Herefordshire.

Key issues

  • Herefordshire remains one of the least densely populated areas of the country, with residents scattered across its 842 square miles.  Two-fifths of residents live in the most rural areas of the county.  Providing services to people over this large area presents a challenge.

  • There are differences in age structure around the county; most notably Hereford city has relatively high proportions of young adults (aged 20-34), whilst rural Herefordshire has relatively high proportions of older adults (aged 45-79).  The market towns have the highest proportions of people aged 80+.

Distribution around the county

Herefordshire has the 4th lowest overall population density in England (the 9th lowest of all ‘top tier’ local authorities in England and Wales) at 87 people per square kilometre (or 0.87 per hectare; 225 per square mile), and the population is scattered across the 842 square miles of the county.

Nearly half of the population lives in villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings in the surrounding rural areas. In total, 53% of the population live in areas classified as 'rural'; 42% in the most rural type ('rural village or dispersed').

According to measures based on the 2001 Census used in the calculation of the Local Government Finance Settlement, no other English county-level authority has a greater proportion of its population living in areas with a density of 50 people per square kilometre or below (described as ‘very sparse’ areas) than Herefordshire (25 per cent). This presents particular challenges for service delivery in the county.

Growth around the county

Almost a third of the county’s residents (61,400) live in Hereford city itself, this proportion has increased slightly since 2001 due to a 12 per cent growth in the city’s population. Almost one-fifth of the population live in the three largest market towns – including Ross (currently 11,400 people) which increased by 13 per cent, Leominster (12,200) and Ledbury (10,100) both increased by ten per cent. Just over half of all residents (100,500) live in areas classified as rural, with around two in five (80,300) living in the most rural ‘village and dispersed’. In general, the population of rural areas  has grown less than urban areas.

Age structure around the county

Hereford city has a much younger profile, with relatively high proportions of young adults.  ‘Rural village and dispersed’ areas have relatively more people of older working and early retirement age. The market towns and other areas (which include larger villages like Colwall and Credenhill) have a profile more similar to the county overall.

Table: Population by age in different areas of Herefordshire, mid-2017 Population Estimate

Source: Annual Mid-Year Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics  © Crown Copyright 2018.
* E.g. built up areas not within city boundary, such as Holmer; larger villages like Colwall and Credenhill. Sources: ONS small area population estimates mid-2017 & Defra’s rural-urban classifications 2011.

Mid-year population estimates for areas of Herefordshire


The population of Herefordshire


Last updated: Monday, January 28, 2019