Historically, Herefordshire has had an older age structure than England and Wales as a whole and this remained the case in 2017, with 24% of the population aged 65+ (45,800 people), compared to 18% nationally. This includes 6,100 people aged 85+. There were 36% more people aged 65+ than there were in 2001, compared with a 28% increase nationally. The number aged 65 to 84 is projected to grow at a similar rate as during the last decade, but the number aged 85+ will rise even more rapidly.
Figure 1. The age structure of the mid-2017 population for Herefordshire compared with the equivalent for England & Wales.
There remains a similar proportion of under-16s (17%) as nationally (19%). A fall in the numbers of children throughout the previous decade (2000 to 2009) bottomed out at the beginning of the current decade and is expected to increase slightly until 2026.
Herefordshire has a lower proportion of younger working age adults (from the age of 16 to mid-forties) compared with England and 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 previous decade (2000 to 2009), largely due to international migration. However, since 2008 numbers have remained fairly level. 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 take account of any planned economic growth.