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New census data reveals scale of population growth across East Herts and Uttlesford

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New census data has revealed startling figures about the rate of population growth in East Herts and Uttlesford.

While some residents may feel there has been excessive development, the Office for National Statistics' first findings from 2021's nationwide count show there is still plenty of space.

On March 21 last year, the size of the usual resident population in England and Wales was 59,597,300 (56,489,800 in England and 3,107,500 in Wales); this was the largest population ever recorded through a census, up 3.5m (6.3%) from 2011, when the total was 56,075,912.

Population growth (57680500)
Population growth (57680500)

The region with the largest increase was the East of England, which grew by around 488,000 (8.3%) residents. The smallest was the North East, growing by around 50,000 (1.9%). In Wales, the population grew by 44,000 (1.4%).

In East Herts district, the population has increased by 9%, from around 137,700 in 2011 to 150,100 in 2021. This is higher than the overall increase for England (6.6%). In Uttlesford, the rise was 14.9%, from around 79,400 in 2011 to 91,300 in 2021.

In Harlow, the population increased by 13.9%, while Broxbourne saw a rise of 5.8% and North Hertfordshire 4.8%.

The largest population increases in the East of England were in Bedford and Cambridge, where the populations grew by 17.7% and 17.6% respectively. At the other end of the scale, North Norfolk saw an increase of just 1.5%.

Nationally, Tower Hamlets in London saw the largest percentage growth in population, increasing 22.1% between 2011 and 2021. Dartford was second, up 20%.

By contrast, Kensington and Chelsea had an estimated population of 143,400 in 2021, around 15,200 fewer than in 2011, a decrease of 9.6%.

In 2021, East Herts ranked 141st for total population out of 309 local authority areas in England, moving up seven places in a decade. Uttlesford was 265th, up 17.

On average, there were three people for every football pitch-sized piece of land in England – or 434 residents per square kilometre – in 2021, up from 407 in 2011.

As of 2021, East Herts is the 17th least densely populated of the East of England's 45 local authority areas, with around two people living on each football pitch-sized area of land – a density of 316 people per square km, up from 289.

Uttlesford is the sixth least densely populated district in the region with around one person per pitch - up 14.5% from 124 to 142 per square km.

By contrast, Tower Hamlets has become the most densely populated local authority area in England (overtaking Islington) with the equivalent of around 112 people per pitch. At the other end of the scale, Eden in Cumbria has five pitches per resident.

There were 24,782,800 households in England and Wales on Census Day 2021; the number increased by more than 1.4m since 2011 (6.1%), when there were 23,366,044.

In East Herts, there was a 9.6% increase from 56,577 to 62,000 – compared to an 18.2% hike in Uttlesford, increasing from 31,316 to 37,000.

The population continues to age. Across England, more than one in six people (18.4%) were aged 65 and over on Census Day 2021 – higher than ever before.

Overall, in England, there have been increases of 20.1% in people aged 65-plus, 3.6% in those aged 15-64 and 5.0% in children under 15.

In East Herts, the corresponding rises were 28.5% in over-65s (18.2% of the total population), 5.5% in those aged 15-64 (63.8%) and 5.3% in under-15s (18%).

In Uttlesford, the increases were 36.3% in people aged 65-plus (20.3%), 10.5% in those aged 15-64 years (61.7%) and 11.3% in under-15s (18.2%).

In 32 of the 309 local authority areas of England, the total number of people aged 65 and over rose by at least 30% between 2011 and 2021. This compares with a 20.1% rise across England.

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