This page provides an overview of the total population of Herefordshire using figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS); including information about recent and predicted total population growth and age structure. Data and further details are available to download at the bottom of the page.
Herefordshire's resident population was 188,100 in mid-2015; an increase of 900 people (0.5 per cent) since mid-2014. This latest increase is largely due to immigration1, with 1,200 people from overseas taking up residence in the county. Special population groups, such as Armed Forces personnel and schoolchildren studying away from home accounted for a further 100 people. There were 1,700 births and 2,100 deaths in the year; this represents a natural decrease in the population of 400 people.
Annual growth has been gradually declining over the last four years, but remains higher than seen between mid-2008 and mid-2011; and lower than during the three years immediately following the eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) in 2004.
Herefordshire's population grew by eight per cent between 2001 and 2015, which is less than the 11 per cent growth in the population of England and Wales as a whole.
The chart below shows the factors affecting population change in Herefordshire since the turn of the century.
*Other changes comprise further population adjustments, including those to Armed Forces personnel and school borders. This chart and associated data can be downloaded below. Source: Annual Mid-Year Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2016
As there have been fewer births than deaths over the period, growth in Herefordshire's population has been entirely due to net in-migration (i.e. more people moving into the county than moving out). Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, the majority (around 70 per cent) of annual net migration has been from outside the UK.
Throughout the nineties and the following decade there had been more births than deaths in Herefordshire up until mid-2009, when births reached the same level as deaths. However, there was an unusually high number of deaths, both locally and nationally, during the year to mid-2015; partly attributed to a higher than average number deaths due to respiratory diseases, including flu and pneumonia, in those aged 75 and over (as reported by ONS, April 2016).
The chart below shows the age structure of the mid-2015 population for Herefordshire compared with the equivalent for England & Wales.
This chart and associated data can be downloaded below.
Source: Annual Mid-Year Population Estimates for the UK, Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2016
As shown in the population pyramid above, the county still had an older age structure than England & Wales as a whole in 2015, with 23 per cent of the population aged 65+ (43,900 people), compared to 18 per cent nationally. This includes 5,900 people aged 85+. There were 30 per cent more people aged 65+ than there were in 2001, compared with a 24 per cent increase nationally. The number aged 65-84 is projected to grow at a similar rate as during the last decade, but the number aged 85+ will rise even more rapidly.
There remains a similar proportion of under-16s (17 per cent) as nationally (19 per cent). Numbers of children had been declining in Herefordshire throughout the whole of the last decade, levelling out over the last five years. However, the number of under-fives and births has been rising for the best part of the last decade. The next 10 years are expected to yield a gradual increase in the numbers of children.
Herefordshire has a lower proportion of younger working age adults (from the age of 16 to mid-forties) compared with England & Wales as a whole, but has a higher proportion of older working age adults (mid-forties to the age of 64). There was a sharp increase in the number of 16 to 64 year olds during the middle of the decade, largely due to international migration. However, since 2008 numbers have been gradually declining due to relatively lower migration levels and since 2010 by the post-war 'baby-boomers' moving into retirement age. If recent trends in migration were to continue, natural ageing would see Herefordshire’s working age population gradually fall over the next 20 years, although this does not factor in economic growth.
 The flows of people moving between the county and other parts of the UK are larger than those between the county and abroad. However, in the year to mid-2015, the within-UK in and out flows cancelled each other out to leave immigration as the sole component of net migration.
The population of Herefordshire
Underlying data & charts
Last updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016