North Somerset’s population could swell to unexpected levels

The population could be higher than expected in the next five years.

The population could be higher than expected in the next five years. - Credit: Archant

There may be thousands more people living in North Somerset over the next five years than previously thought, according to new figures.

The population could climb to 228,370 within five years – which amounts to 2,394 more people than previous estimates.

The figures have been revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which used a different formula to calculate levels of migration – including people from overseas and those moving between different regions in England.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “The variant projections produced by the Office for National Statistics are not intended to replace the previous forecasts, rather they are to be considered alongside them, showing what could happen to our population if higher levels of migration take place in future.

“As well as considering the official statistics, we also look at local data to anticipate housing growth and how our services may need to change and grow in future.”

Researchers from ONS looked at migration trends over a 10-year period rather than the five years of data previously studied.

The projections look at past trends and do not attempt to predict the consequences of future events, such as the impact of Brexit on international migration levels.

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The ONS says the figures illustrate an alternative size and age structure of the population, but stresses it should not replace previous estimates.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said local authorities used ONS projects to help them understand how the population in their area may change.

Most councils use their own data alongside the projections.

A spokesman said: “Population projections are an important tool in planning for the delivery of future services, such as education or social care.

“However, councils know that projections are not precise forecasts and that planning for future provision of services always needs to cover a range of scenarios.”

Looking further ahead, the population of North Somerset is projected to be 237,767 in 10 years’ time – which is 3,343 more than the previous analysis.

A total of 25,000 new homes have been earmarked for North Somerset Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) by 2036.