Population data is collected in the census by the Office for National Statistics. The census is a count of people living in an area and is conducted once every decade, with the last census having been held in 2011.


In subsequent years after the census the Office for National Statistics estimated the number of people in the area by looking into the different common factors that will influence this.


These are referred to as the ‘components of change’ and the sum of these components will lead to the overall estimate of population increase or decrease. The components are broadly described as; ‘natural change’ which is the number of births minus the number of deaths in an area; Net migration which is the number of people moving into the area minus the number of people moving out; and other changes.  These components can be positive numbers (e.g. if more people are being born then people are dying) or negative numbers (e.g. if more people are leaving an area than are moving in).

The most recent data on national population estimates were published in June 2015 and relate to the year 2014. 

The UK population is estimated to be 64.6 million and to have increased 0.77% from the previous year.  53% of the increase in population is accounted for by international migrations, 46% by natural change (births and deaths), and 1% due to other adjustments.

The estimated population of Wokingham for 2014 is 159,097.

The estimated Wokingham Borough Population can be split down to look at the difference between gender and between age groups.  When compared with the England average (see Figure 1) it is clear that Wokingham has a higher proportion of males between the ages of 5-14 years, and 35-54 years.  There is also a higher proportion of females aged 5-9 years and 35-49 years old when compared with the England average.


Figure 1 – Wokingham Borough population structure 2014 compared to England


Source: ONS, 2015


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces estimates of the number of people who are expected to be living in an area in the future including what age and what gender these people will be. The furthest year that there is data for is 2037. These are national projections based on factors such as births, deaths, and migration into and out of an area. They do not take into account local factors such as the building of new housing developments which could be expected to draw more people into the area.

The national data can be used to look at whether the total population is expected in increase or decrease and which age groups are expected to have the largest increase in numbers. Figure two shows the population projections from the ONS for Wokingham Borough by age grouping.

Figure 2 – Population projection by age groups for Wokingham Borough

Population projections

Source: ONS


After analysing figure two it shows that together with the expected overall population growth there is an increase in the older age group (65+ years) predicted. Despite this increase in numbers the proportion of older people is not expected to change.  This increase in numbers is likely to place a greater demand on the health and social care system in the Borough, as there is a higher likelihood of people living with Long Term conditions, dementia or frailty.


Wokingham Borough is undergoing a large degree of housing developments, in the form of Strategic Development Locations.  There are 13,500 new homes that are aimed to be built by 2026, with this influx in housing the population projections produced by the ONS are likely to under represent the future populations.


Work is ongoing to better understand and plan for the expected increase in population with a wide range of partners across the community.