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Population

Current (mid-2022) population of Herefordshire: 188,700 residents

96,200 (51%) females and 92,600 (49%) males

30,100 aged under 16 (16%); 108,700 aged 16 to 64 (58%) and 49,800 aged 65 and over (26%)

Herefordshire is a predominantly rural county, with the fourth lowest population density in England (87 people per square kilometre).

The latest official population estimates show that Herefordshire's population had increased to 188,700 in mid-2022, with around 1,200 additional residents since mid-2021; a growth of 0.6% compared to 1.0% in England and Wales overall. This is the highest annual growth since the years immediately following the eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) in 2004, and builds on the relatively large increase of 2,800 people (0.9%) seen between mid-2020 and mid-2021. Migration has been the sole driver of population growth in Herefordshire since the early 1990s, as there have been fewer births than deaths.

Revised mid-year estimates dating back to mid-2012 show that, following several decades of year-on-year growth, the county’s population fell by 800 people between mid-2016 and mid-2020 following the EU referendum vote in 2016. The relatively large increase of around 2,800 people between mid-2020 and mid-2022 was largely driven by migration into the county from elsewhere in the UK. Without further details on where in the UK these additional people came from, it is not possible to say with any certainty what the reasons for this larger influx were. However, there is some national evidence of increased migration flows from urban to rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1]

The downward revisions to past mid-year estimates of Herefordshire’s resident population has implications for projections of future populations. The ONS will be taking the revised figures into account in sub-national population projections, planned for release by early 2025.

Migration patterns across the whole of England and Wales have been affected by a range of factors in the last few years, including -

  • A reaction to the EU referendum vote in 2016
  • Free movement ending for EU nationals as part of the introduction of the new immigration system in 2021
  • The easing of travel restrictions in July 2021 following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • An increase in non-EU students and workers as well as their dependents
  • Humanitarian developments such as the war in Ukraine.

Herefordshire still has an older population than nationally, with around a quarter (26%) of the resident population aged 65 or over, compared with 19% in England & Wales and a lower proportion (16%) of children compared with nationally (19%). The county also has higher proportions (28% vs 26%) of older working age adults (mid-forties to the age of 64) but lower proportions (30% vs 37%) of younger working age adults (from the age of 16 to mid-forties).

See related documents for data and charts.

[1] Wang, Y. et al. (Nov 2022). Urban Informatics. Understanding internal migration in the UK before and during the COVID-19 pandemic using twitter data.

Ageing population

Herefordshire has higher proportions of residents in their early fifties and above than England and Wales as a whole and numbers continue to grow at a relatively higher rate.

Herefordshire's ageing population

Changing population

Since the early 90s Herefordshire’s population growth has been driven entirely by migration, since there have been fewer births than deaths over this period.

Herefordshire's changing population

Growing population

Herefordshire has seen an overall growth of nine per cent, over the last 16 years (from 2001 to 2017), this is lower than the 12 per cent seen in England and Wales as a whole.

Herefordshire's growing population

Population around the county

Herefordshire is one of the least densely populated areas of the country, with residents scattered across its 842 square miles.  Two-fifths of our residents live in the most rural areas of the county.  Hereford city has relatively high proportions of young adults (aged 20-34), whilst the market towns have the highest proportions of people aged 80 and over.

Population around Herefordshire