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Population

Introduction

Bedford Borough covers an area of 476 sq. km and is home to an estimated 163,900 people (2014).

A detailed breakdown of the Borough's 2014 population by age and sex is available here

Almost two-thirds of the population (64%) lives in the urban area of Bedford and Kempston, and 36% in the surrounding rural area which comprises 45 parishes.

The Borough’s population rose from 148,100 in mid 2001 to 163,900 in mid 2014, an average annual increase of approximately 0.7%. 

 

Age Structure

Bedford Borough has a similar age profile to England, with the same median age of 39.7 (2014), but has a much younger profile than the East of England which has a median age of 41.3. 

The proportion of older people in the Borough is also lower, with 17.0% of the population aged 65+ in 2014 compared to 17.6% in England and 19.0% in the region:

 

Age Profile by Sex 2014, Bedford Borough compared to England

2014 BB Population Pyramid

  Source: ONS, 2014 Mid Year Population Estimates

 

Population Change 2001 - 2014

While the Borough’s total population rose by 11% between 2001 and 2014, older age groups increased at a much higher rate. 

Most significantly, the population aged 85+ increased by 45% between 2001 and 2014, more than four times the rate of overall population growth:

 

Population Change by Age, Bedford Borough, 2001-2014

Age      

   2001

   2014

2001-14 Change

2001-14 % Change

0-15    30,700     33,100   2,400  7.8
16-29    27,100     27,900      700  2.7
30-44    33,400     33,000    -400 -1.2
45-64    34,800     42,100   7,200 20.8
65-74           11,700     14,800   3,200 27.2
75-84      7,700       9,200   1,500 19.3
85+     2,700       3,900   1,200 45.0
Total 148,100  163,900   15,800 10.7

Source:  ONS, Mid Year Population Estimates

Numbers may not add due to rounding.

 

Population Projections 2013-2037

The most recent population projections for the Borough are the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2012-based Subnational Population Projections for 2013-2037.  These are being further refined as part of the Local Plan update.

ONS projects that the Borough’s population will rise to approximately 174,700 in 2021, an increase of 7% between 2014 and 2021. 

However, the older population is forecast to increase at a much higher rate, with the 65+ population rising by 16% between 2014 and 2021.  The 85+ population is forecast to increase by an even higher level of 32%1.

Longer term, the Borough's population is projected to reach 199,000 by 2037.  This would represent a 21% increase between 2014 and 2037.

Again, however, older age groups are projected to rise by much greater levels, with those aged 65+ increasing by 67%, and those aged 85+ by 156% (from 3,910 in 2014 to 10,010 in 2037).

 

1 To clarify, the 65+ population refers to All People aged 65 or more, and the 85+ population to All People aged 85 and over
 

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