The 2021-based projections provide statistics on the potential future size and age structure of the population of the UK and its constituent countries.
Population projections are subject to uncertainty and are based on assumptions on future trends in fertility, mortality and migration. National population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict potential short-term changes in international migration. These projections use the latest provisional estimates of international migration, which will be revised as more data becomes available, and assumptions were developed following the latest expert advice. Further information is available in the ONS headline and methodology documents.
- Between mid-2021 and mid-2031, the population of Wales is projected to increase by 5.8% from 3.11 million to 3.29 million.
- The projected population increase for Wales between 2021 and 2031 is lower than for England, which is projected to increase the most, by 7.9%.
- However, the projected population increase for Wales between 2021 and 2031 is higher than for Northern Ireland, which is projected to increase by 3.6%.
- Projections for Scotland have not been published. Please see the ‘Notes’ section for further information.
Wales population projections by age
- The number of children aged under 16 years old is projected to decrease by 8.1% to 503,000 between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
- The number of people aged 16 to 64 years old is projected to increase by 5.6% to 1,998,000 between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
- The number of people aged 65 years or older is projected to increase by 17.8% to 784,000 between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
- The number of people aged 75 or older is projected to increase by 24.2% to 381,000 between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
Wales population projections by component of change
- It is projected that there will continue to be more deaths than births, with a total of almost 71,000 more deaths than births between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
- The projected growth in the population between mid-2021 and mid-2031 is driven by migration with total net migration of 250,000 between mid-2021 and mid-2031.
The chart below shows how the population of Wales is estimated to have changed since 2011, and how it is projected to change up to 2031. The chart also compares the 2021-based interim projections for Wales with the two previous sets of projections, the 2018-based projections and the 2020-based interim projections.
Figure 1: Estimated and projected population of Wales, 2011 to 2031
Description of Figure 1: This line chart shows that by 2031, the 2021-based interim population projections for Wales are higher than the previous interim 2020-based and 2018-based population projections.
Source: ONS mid-year estimates and national population projections
By 2031, the 2021-based interim population projections for Wales are higher than the previous interim 2020-based population projections.
A full update to national population projections is due to be released in October/November 2024. These will be 2022-based, including data from Census 2021 for Wales, England and Northern Ireland, and Census 2022 for Scotland.
The mid-year population estimate for mid-2021 is used as the start point of the projection. This is the base population which uses census data for Wales, England and Northern Ireland, and rolled-on mid-year estimates for Scotland.
No 2021-based projections have been published for Scotland because reconciliation and rebasing of population statistics, including international migration statistics for 2012 to 2022 incorporating insights from Scotland's Census 2022, are yet to be finalised. These data will be available and incorporated into the 2022-based projections which are planned for release in October to November 2024.
Users requiring national population projections for Scotland should continue to use the 2020-based interim national population projections: estimated international migration variant (ONS).
Datasets and interactive tools
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