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Changing population

Drivers of change

There are two primary drivers of population change in an area - migration and natural change (the number of births minus the number of deaths). 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.

Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, population growth has been predominantly driven by net inward migration from outside the UK. However, the last three years have seen a return to pre-recession levels of net migration from elsewhere in the UK. Reduced net overall migration over the last two years has led to a slowing in growth.

Although the numbers of births within the county began rising at the beginning of the last decade, there have been fewer births over the last six years, reflecting national trends in declining birth rates.

Over most of the last two decades there have been a similar number of deaths recorded each year. However, the last three years has seen a stepped increase in the number of deaths per year, potentially a result of the post war baby boom cohort shifting into the older age groups with higher mortality rates.


In 2011, 6% of the county’s total population in 2011 was of BAME origin, of which people of ‘white: other’ origin (i.e. not British; Irish; Gypsy or Irish Traveller) made up the largest single minority group: 3.9% of the population, and this group grew the most rapidly over the decade due to the eastward expansion of the European Union (EU) in 2004.

Of the 12,250 county residents who were born outside the UK, 53% arrived after the expansion of the EU in 2004, compared with 40% nationally.

Note that these estimates are based on the resident population, meaning that people who come to Herefordshire from outside the UK for less than a year will not be included in the figures - including the several thousand seasonal workers from overseas that come to work on Herefordshire farms over the spring and summer.