The revised mid-2018 population estimate for Wakefield District is 345,083 people.
As is typical nationally, the Wakefield District age profile shows the effect of baby-boom years of the 1950s and 1960s and greater numbers of women in older age than men. Overall numbers are projected to keep on increasing, albeit more slowly than elsewhere in the region, with improved life expectancy resulting in a greater proportion of the population being made up of people in older age groups.
When compared with many other metropolitan districts Wakefield’s age profile has smaller than average proportions of people in the late-teen, early 20’s age bands. This reflects the absence of any sizeable university presence within Wakefield district. In large university cities such as Leeds, by contrast, increasing levels of participation in higher education in recent decades have created a population where 9.8% of people are aged 20-24, compared to 6.0% in Wakefield District.
The total population of Wakefield District is expected to rise by approximately 6,000 persons (332,000 in 2015 to 338,000 in 2018). Compared to other regional Health & Wellbeing Board areas with more urbanised populations, the growth is quite marginal.
What do things look like locally?[sc:tableau_respop]
Resident Population Projections
Population projections are produced every two years and are important for planning community services provision and ensuring that the needs of the local population are met. The tables below illustrate that the population of Wakefield is projected to change differentially according to particular age groups.
As nationally, the population age profile in Wakefield District is becoming older. The implications of an ageing population are many and varied and will include increased demand for health and well-being services; more people reliant on pension income (usually considerably lower than income from work); and increased human resources for care services (paid and unpaid carers). The number of people of working age is projected to increase slightly, solely due to phased increases in the state pension age to 66, 67 and then 68 (between 2037 and 2039 under current plans).
What can we expect in the future?[sc:tableau_respop_project]
There will be a major shift in the population structure over the next 5 to 10 years as the proportion of the population aged over 65 increases. The pyramids above demonstrate how the Wakefield population is projected to become flatter across the age ranges.
In terms of sheer numbers and percentage changes, this can be awkward to present in a concise and engaging manner. However, using ONS projections based on 2008 estimates, we can show how the broad age groups are likely to alter over time.
According to this data, Wakefield is expected to encounter a large population structure change within the next five years, with the older persons grouping growing by over 11% by 2016 (73,000 persons), and over 22% by 2021 (80,900 persons). By 2025 we are going to see a doubling of men aged 85 and over. By 2031, the older persons population is expected to have grown by over 50%, representing a population close to 100,000 persons.
While this is happening, the working age population is not predicted to grow at anywhere near the same level, approximately 1.6% by 2031 (about 3,300 additional persons in the theoretical workforce). Similarly, the children’s age band will grow by about 7% over the same time period.
Health and wellbeing needs increase with age, with a higher burden of chronic disease, susceptibility to the negative impacts of social isolation and an associated raised need for health and social care services and carers. Local plans should reflect this anticipated demographic shift.