The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the results of the 2021 national (England and Wales) Census on 28 June. The public survey collects information which shapes both public and private institutions’ understanding of our ever-changing population: all UK residents are required to take the survey every ten years. It tracks changes such as population density and changing age groups across local areas.
The ONS stated “Census 2021 exceeded all expectations, with 97% of households responding. The results will give us the richest picture of society across England and Wales.” The population was the largest ever recorded, with a combined total “usual resident” (defined as anyone who was in the UK or intended to stay in the UK for at least 12 months, or who had a permanent UK address and only intended to be outside the UK for less than 12 months) population of 59,597,300 on Census Day.
Of particular interest are the results pertaining to Norfolk which showed that we remain one of the least densely populated counties in England, at 170 “usual residents” per square kilometre. This is compared to the English national average of 434. Essentially, this means we have lots of non-populated green space in our county (which is great news if you like unspoiled countryside views and the smell of fresh, non-polluted air). In Norwich, however, this figure jumps to 3,690 “usual residents” per square kilometre- to be expected from a city, though perhaps an indication of the need for additional city-centre infrastructure, as the population has risen by 8.7% since 2011.
The average undergraduate student age bracket (18-23) also yields interesting population results. With 10,300 out of all 46,900 15-19-year-olds in Norfolk living in Norwich, and 16,500 20-24-year-olds in the city compared to 50,800 in the county as a whole. In our county’s ageing population, this shows that the city centre is an increasingly attractive location for our young people.
In a statement explaining the delayed results, the ONS explained “For the first time, we are also drawing on the unique insight and expertise of local authorities across England and Wales to ensure we produce the best possible statistics for every area. The extremely positive response has resulted in more than 250 organisations being involved.”
The remaining results, including figures on sexual orientation and gender identity, and education will become publicly available in March 2023.