Resident Population

Last updated: 24/11/2023. The Office for National Statistics will release sub-district mid-2022 population estimates in Mar/Apr 2024 and new sub-national population projections in early 2025.

Mid-2022 population estimate

The Office for National Statistics estimate the District’s mid-2022 population was 357,729 people. This represents a 1.1% increase in the size of the population compared to mid-2021.

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Current resident population

The size of the resident population of the Wakefield District is estimated to be in the region of 350,000, making the district the 18th largest Local Authority in England. As is typical nationally, the Wakefield age profile shows the effect of baby-boom years of the 1950s and 1960s and greater numbers of women (48,920) aged 60+ than men (43,645). Total population numbers are projected to keep on increasing, and at a greater rate 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 to other local Health & Wellbeing Board areas, 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. By contrast, in large university cities such as Leeds, 9.5% of the population are aged 20-24, compared to 4.6% in Wakefield District.

Projected resident population

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.

Over the next 3 years, the population is estimated to grow by between 3,200 to 3,700 additional persons per year, equating to a 0.9% – 1.0% growth rate. This growth rate is then predicted to steadily decline to 0.6%, or approximately 2,500 additional residents per year.

When assessing population projections, there are expected to be shifts in the population structure in the medium-to-long term, as the proportion of the population aged over 60 increases.

In the 60-79 age range, the size of this population has been steadily increasing for the last decade and will continue to do so over the next 3 years, with the current figure of 74,857 expected to rise to 78,522 persons in 2025. After which, there is predicted to be continued rise, plateauing in 2032. An increase in the population size is also seen in the 80+ age range, which is predicted to steadily increase from 17,708 in 2022 to 19,761 in 2025. This increase will continue for the foreseeable future.

Implications of an ageing population are wide in terms of people living longer into older age, with an increased demand for health and well-being services, a reduced contribution to the economy and lower incomes, and increased human resources for care services (paid and unpaid carers).

Source: ONS 2018-based subnational principal population projections for local authorities.