The first results from the 2021 Census of England and Wales are now becoming available, via the ONS website.
The data shows that population continues to grow – in 2021, resident the population of England and Wales was 59.6m, the highest ever recorded.
Population grew by 3.5m (+6.5%) since the previous Census in 2011, with positive net migration contributing the majority of change.
Growth was noted across all regions, with the East of England seeing fastest growth and Wales the slowest.
The number of households present rose from 23.4m in 2011 to 24.8m in 2022.
Population ageing continues, with 19% of the population aged over 65 years in 2022, compared with 16% in 2011.
IGD Viewpoint – Food businesses have an interest in population – the higher the population, the more food and drink is required.
The latest ONS projections suggest that population will continue to grow for at least the last 10 years, which will help to support food industry performance. This assumption is incorporated in IGD’s latest retail forecasts.
However, rising population also suggests that the burden on resources and environmental quality will likewise grow, increasing the need for better sustainability at every stage in the supply chain from agriculture to waste disposal.
The ageing of the population raises challenges for government, which must provide the necessary healthcare and pension provision – much of this is currently unfunded in the UK.
Ageing may also have implications for economic performance overall, since material consumption typically peaks in the “family / childraising” life-stage, falling in later stages.
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