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Herefordshire is a predominantly rural county, with the fourth lowest population density in England (0.87 persons per hectare).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes mid-year population estimates for local authorities each summer.  In 2017, Herefordshire's resident population was 191,000; an increase of 1,500 people (0.8%) since mid-2016. This was the largest annual growth since 2007/8.  Net migration (largely immigration) was the sole driver of this population growth, since there were fewer births than deaths.

The county has an older age structure than England and Wales as a whole: in 2017,  24% of the population were aged 65 or over compared to 18% nationally.  There is also a lower proportion of younger working age adults (from the age of 16 to mid-forties) and a higher proportion of older working age adults (mid-forties to the age of 64) compared with England and Wales.

Ageing population

Herefordshire has a larger proportion of older people (aged 65 and over) than England and Wales as a whole and currently there are around 45,800 older people living in the county. By 2025, this number is forecast to increase by 19 per cent.

Herefordshire's ageing population

Changing population

Herefordshire has a relatively small but growing, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) population (6.4% in 2011 compared with 19.5% per cent nationally).  The proportion of people of BAME origin, varies by age-group; from 12% of 16 to 29 year-olds and 11% of 30 to 44 year-olds to just 2% of those aged 65 and over.

Herefordshire's changing population

Growing population

Between 2001 and 2016, Herefordshire’s population grew by eight per cent: a relatively slow rate of growth compared to England and Wales as a whole.  The total population is projected to increase to 194,100 by 2021; equivalent to an average annual growth of 0.35 per cent per year.  Since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, migration from outside of the United Kingdom has accounted for around three quarters of net annual migration in Herefordshire.  

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