Our Regional Market Report series examines the trends of each local planning authority (LPA) in the East of England.
In this report, we look at the demographic changes of each LPA, and the forecast ahead.
East of England Region Population Change & Population Density
Over a decade (2011 to 2021), the East of England grew by 8.07% from a population of 5,862,418 to 6,335,335. This outpaces England's population growth in the same time period – 6.37% (from 53,107,169 to 56,490,645).
Over the next decade (2021 to 2031), the ONS forecasts the East of England's growth to accelerate to 3.87%, rising from 12,670,670 to 13,160,989. England is forecasted to grow by 5.13%, rising from 56,490,645 to 59,389,102.
The East of England has a population density of 1,122.19 people per sq km, which is less dense than England's overall 433.86 people per sq km.
Below you can view the data for each LPA in both column chart format and in choropleth maps (heatmaps). If you're viewing this on the web, you can hover each bar in the chart to get more data for the LPA, and filter by county.
In Suffolk, Mid Suffolk leads with a 10-year growth of 5.89%, while East Suffolk trails at 2.51%. Future-wise, Mid Suffolk is set to grow by 7.74%, but East Suffolk faces decline.
Essex sees Uttlesford at the top with a 14.32% decade growth and Castle Point at the bottom at 1.85%. Colchester is projected to lead with 11.79%, while Harlow is expected to decline by 3.39%.
In Bedfordshire, Bedford boasts a 10-year growth of 17.34%, outpacing Luton's 10.61%. Central Bedfordshire is forecasted to grow by 6.34%, but Luton could decline by 9.11%.
Norfolk's, South Norfolk has grown by 13.98%, dwarfing North Norfolk's 1.26%. South Norfolk is projected to lead further with 14.75%, while King's Lynn and West Norfolk lag behind at 1.15%.
In Suffolk, Ipswich holds the highest population density, with approximately 3,534 people per sq km. In contrast, Mid Suffolk has a much lower density of 119 people per sq km.
In Essex, Southend-on-Sea is the most dense, with about 4,334 people per sq km, while Uttlesford is less populated, having a density of 143 people per sq km.
Bedfordshire sees Luton with the highest population density, around 5,186 people per sq km, whereas Bedford has a significantly lower density of 390 people per sq km.
In Norfolk, Norwich is the most urban, with approximately 3,668 people per sq km. North Norfolk has the lowest density, with just 107 people per sq km.
Hertfordshire has Watford as the most dense area, with 4,781 people per sq km, while East Hertfordshire has a much lower density of 317 people per sq km.
Lastly, in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge is the most densely populated, with 3,556 people per sq km, and East Cambridgeshire is the least dense, with 135 people per sq km.
East of England Migration Patterns & Population Change Components
Please note: The Census took place on 21st March 2021, and the latest data for population change estimates from the ONS is 30th June 2021. In the Census year, the ONS estimate population change not on a year on year basis, but between the mid-year estimate of that year and the Census date. This means that the following figures are for the roughly three-month span between 21st March 2021 and 30th June 2021. More on this from the ONS here.
England saw a net population increase of 45,774 people in that time span. If we were to extrapolate this to a 12 month period – we would get a 165,421 increase. However, this is a crude extrapolation and doesn't take into account variables such as seasonality.
East of England saw a net population increase of 12,761 people in that time span. If we were to extrapolate this to a 12-month period, we would get an increase of 46,116 people. This would make up 27.8% of England’s net population change.
Most of this change was driven by domestic migration, contributing to 8,368 of the net increase. International migration added 178 people, and there was a net positive of 4,215 people from births minus deaths.
Overall, the net increase made up 0.2% percentage of the East of England's population (this is with the extrapolated figure).
Net population change takes into account net internal migration, net international migration, and births minus deaths. The next chart shows the overall net change, and the chart after that shows the components of this change.
Suffolk contributed 2,600 people (yearly extrapolation of 9,396) to East of England’s growth. This was driven by domestic migration (net internal migration of 2,663 people, offset by a net of -68 of births minus deaths).
Essex also played a big contributor – net increase of 2,553 people (yearly extrapolation of 9,226). Births minus deaths and internal migration both played a big role – 1,265, and 1,277 people, respectively.
Cambridgeshire saw a net increase of 2,216 people (yearly extrapolation of 8,008). Internal, or domestic, migration contributed 1,370 people, and a growing population (births minus deaths yielded 826 people).
Norfolk contributed a net increase of 2,179 people (yearly extrapolation of 7,875) to the East of England’s growth. Most of this came from a domestic migration of 2,496 people.
Hertfordshire experienced a net increase of 1,900 people (yearly extrapolation of 6,866). Most of this change came from births minus deaths with a net of 1,455 people and a net internal migration of 426 people.
Finally, Bedfordshire saw a net increase of 1,313 people (yearly extrapolation of 4,745). Most of this change came from births minus deaths with a net of 1,055 people and a net internal migration of 136 people.
East of England Age Demographics
The East of England’s median age of 41.65 years is not too different from England's overall median age of 40.49 years.
While England's median age has gone up by 1.1 years between 2011 and 2021, the East of England’s has gone up by 1.31 years, and Yorkshire and the Humber's by 1.10 years.
East Suffolk has the oldest population with a median age of 49.82 years, while Ipswich is the youngest at 38.48 years.
Babergh has seen the most significant age change, with its median age increasing by 3.8 years. In contrast, West Suffolk has experienced the smallest age shift, with an increase of just 1.36 years.
Tendring holds the title for the oldest area with a median age of 50.98 years. Thurrock is the youngest, with a median age of 36.73 years.
Maldon has experienced the biggest change in age, increasing by 2.99 years, while Harlow has actually seen a decrease in its median age by 0.58 years.
Central Bedfordshire has the oldest population with a median age of 40.99 years. Luton is the youngest area, with a median age of 34.59 years.
Luton has also seen the most significant increase in age, going up by 2.05 years, whereas Central Bedfordshire's age has barely changed, increasing by just 0.01 years.
North Norfolk is the oldest area with a median age of 54.94 years, while Norwich is the youngest at 35.07 years.
North Norfolk has also seen the most significant age increase, with its median age rising by 3.6 years. Norwich has had the smallest age change, increasing by only 0.83 years.
North Hertfordshire has the oldest population with a median age of 42.48 years. Watford is the youngest area, with a median age of 37.05 years.
St Albans has experienced the most significant age change, increasing by 2.16 years, while Broxbourne has had the smallest change, with an increase of 0.36 years.
Fenland is the oldest area, with a median age of 45.01 years. Cambridge is notably the youngest, with a median age of just 31.97 years.
East Cambridgeshire has seen the largest age shift, increasing by 2.7 years, whereas Cambridge has seen the smallest change, with an increase of 0.33 years.
East of England Income Profile
The overall median income for the East of England in 2022 is £34,347. This is a little bit more than England’s overall median income of £33,208.
Compared to 2012, the East of England’s income has risen by 22.8% from £27,968, which is comparative with England’s income rise of 23.8% from £26,826.
Central Bedfordshire, in Bedfordshire, has the strongest median income of £39,532. Luton, on the other hand, has the lowest in the county at £30,419. Yet this still compares well with both the regional and national average. Looking at income growth – Central Bedfordshire is the winner again, with a 36.98% increase. Luton on the other hand, saw a 24.13% – lining up with the regional and national average.
In Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire has the highest median income in the county at £39,958, while Peterborough has the lowest in the county at £30,243 (still compares well to the national average). Looking at how things have changed over the last decade – Fenland saw the most income growth with a 31.15% increase. Huntingdonshire, however, saw growth below the national average, at 13.58%.
Looking at Essex, Brentwood has the strongest income at £41,594, while Harlow reports the lowest median income at £29,599. Uttlesford’s wages grew by 32.29% – the strongest in the county, while Chelmsford’s stayed relatively static at 9.04%.
In Hertfordshire, St Albans, stands out with its high median income of £46,551, the highest in Hertfordshire. Stevenage has the lowest at £32,999, which is almost the same as the national average. East Hertfordshire saw significant income growth over the past ten years at 38.26%, but Watford saw a minor decrease of 0.83%.
Broadland has the highest median income in Norfolk at £31,927, while North Norfolk has the weakest in the county at £29,523, but still compares well to the national average. North Norfolk also saw a substantial increase in wages over the past decade – growth of 40.71%. Broadland saw the least change at 12.52%.
Mid Suffolk leads in Suffolk with a median income of £32,782, while Ipswich falls at the lower end with a median income of £29,523 – but still compares well to the national average. Mid Suffolk also saw the greatest increase in wages in the county – 38.71% over ten years, while Babergh experienced the least at 20.38%.
Overall Local Authority incomes in the East of England compare well to the national average, and have mostly seen double digit percentage growth over the past ten years
If you've enjoyed the data insights about demographics in the East of England, check out our other reports for the region below: