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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 four years have seen a return to pre-recession levels of net migration from elsewhere in the UK. Despite a reduction in migration flows to and from Herefordshire In the year to mid-2020, net migration has risen by 17%, since the outward migration flows have dropped by more than the inward flows.

Although the numbers of births within the county began rising at the beginning of the last decade, the number in the year to mid-2020 was 1,500, a continuation of the trend in fewer births seen both locally and nationally over recent years.

Over most of the last two decades there have been a similar number of deaths recorded each year. However, a step up in the number of deaths occurred in 2015, potentially a result of the post war baby boom cohort shifting into the older age groups with higher mortality rates. In the year to mid-2020, there were 2,300 deaths; 9% higher than in the year to mid-2019 (compared with 13% nationally), reflecting the impact of wave one of the pandemic.


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.