About the data
In 2018, Somerset’s total population was 559,399, an increase of 4,204 (0.8%) on the previous year. This compares with growth rates of 0.6% for the UK and 0.7% for the South West over the same period.
By 2026, Somerset’s total population is projected to grow by a further 4.9% to 586,747. Between 2018 and 2036, Somerset’s population is expected to increase by 9.7% to a total of 613,823. This is faster than the growth that is anticipated nationally. Between 2018 and 2036, England’s population is expected to increase by 8.8%, from its current level of 55,977,178 to a total of 60,905,483.
Between 2017 and 2018 population of England grew by 357,748, of which 119,792 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 963 people, despite the total population having grown by 4,204. 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 2013 and 2018 there was a net increase of 5,466 people due to international migration, compared to a net increase of 17,208 people from elsewhere in the UK. Projections show this trend is set to continue.
In 2018, 17.7% of Somerset’s population were under 16 years of age, 57.9% were between 16 and 64 and 24.5% were aged 65 and over.
Source: ONS, Population projections (2016 based) and Mid Year Estimates.