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Population Overview

The information here pertains to total population figures for Somerset, including its historic and project growth.

The chart above shows the growth of Somerset's total population between 1981 and 2041. The vertical line at 2016 represents the point at which the figures stop being 'actual' (as reported in successive Annual Population Surveys) and become projected.

About the data

In 2017, Somerset’s total population was 555,195, an increase of 3,749 (0.7%) on the previous year. This compares with growth rates of 0.6% for the UK and 0.8% for the South West over the same period.

By 2026, Somerset’s total population is projected to grow by a further 5.6% to 586,747. Between 2017 and 2036, Somerset’s population is expected to increase by 10.6% to a total of 613,823. This is faster than the growth that is anticipated nationally. Between 2017 and 2036, England’s population is expected to increase by 9.5%, from its current level of 55,619,430 to a total of 60,905,483.

Between 2015 and 2016 the UK population grew by 538,020, of which 177,629 was the result of natural change (births minus deaths). The remainder is accounted for by internal migration. Net migration has been the main driver of UK population growth since 1998, unlike for the majority of the 20th century during which natural change was the main driver.

During the same period natural change in Somerset accounted for a net decrease of 574 people, despite the total population having grown by 4,980. This means that growth in Somerset’s population was entirely accounted for by internal migration from elsewhere in the UK as well as abroad. Projections suggest that over the next 20+ years, the rate of decline through natural change is set to accelerate with deaths further outstripping births, and yet, as we have seen, the total population is set to steadily increase, all due to inward migration.

The majority of inward migration is accounted for by people moving to Somerset from elsewhere in the UK as opposed to long-term international migration.  Between 2012 and 2017 there was a net increase of 4,741 people due to international migration, compared to a net increase of 16,234 people from elsewhere in the UK. Projections show this trend is set to continue. 

In 2017, 17.6% of Somerset’s population were under 16 years of age, 58.3% were between 16 and 64 and 24.2% were aged 65 and over.

Source: ONS, Population projections (2016 based) and Mid Year Estimates.