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Growing population

Past trends

Herefordshire has seen an overall growth of 11%, over the last 19 years (from 2001 to 2020), this is lower than the 14% seen in England and Wales as a whole.

As there have been fewer births than deaths, growth in Herefordshire's population has been entirely due to net in-migration (i.e. more people moving into the county than moving out). Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, the majority (around 70 per cent) of annual net migration has been from outside the UK.

Since the turn of the century, migration flows to and from other parts of the UK have declined, out-migration to a lesser degree than in-migration, coinciding with the credit crunch and subsequent recession. However, 2016-17 saw 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 levels have not fallen.

Future trends

Understanding future population growth and changing age structure is important for informing resource allocation and planning.

If recent trends in births, deaths and migration were to continue, the total population of Herefordshire is projected to increase to 201,200 by 2031 - this is equivalent to around 700 additional residents per year. Note that this projection does not attempt to predict the impact of future government or local policies, housing development, changing economic circumstances or other factors that might have an effect on demographic behaviour.

Housing development has a strong influence on population growth and according to local housing growth targets, there is to be a minimum of around 14,500 new homes to be built between 2016 and 2031. However, around a further 1,500 dwellings were incorporated into the dwelling-led forecast to take into account other planning permissions which are granted on speculative sites, taking the total up to around 16,000 new dwellings over this period. Under this scenario, the population of Herefordshire would be expected to increase to 221,000 by 2031 - equivalent to around 2,100 additional residents per year. However, please note that the forecasts do not factor in unmet housing growth targets over the last few years.

Further information

More detailed information about past and future trends in Herefordshire’s population can be found in the Population of Herefordshire and Future Population of Herefordshire reports in the related documents box, top right.