November 29, 2004

West Midland Population to Reach 5.7m By 2028

The West Midlands population is expected to increase by more than six per cent over the next 25 years, according to latest Government statistics.

The region's numbers are expected to swell by 6.6 per cent to 5.7 million by 2028, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The predicted increase follows a national pattern, with the North- east the only region expected to see its population decline. The South will continue to show the greatest population growth, with London expected to increase by 15.4 per cent and the Southwest by 16.5 per cent.

Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Telford and Wrekin are projected to show the greatest population increases - more than ten per cent over 25 years - while single figure percentage growth is projected for Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.

The average age of people in the West Midlands is expected to continue to grow, in line with national projections, with decreases in the younger age groups and increases in the older ages as death rates continue to drop.

Professor Alan Murie, from the University of Birmingham's centre for urban and regional studies, said: 'As long as lifeexpectancy continues to rise the population will continue to grow.

'Britain is a net recipient of national migration which contributes to population rise. London continues to be the most popular area for national migrants, but the West Midlands is also a popular location. But age is still the single most important factor.

'A rising population sets a real policy challenge for the planners and communities as to whether they can accommodate increases and still protect rural areas.'

Prof Murie said: 'A growing population is a good thing for the West Midlands. It creates a stronger economy than a declining population would.'