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Week 43, 2011: UK Population Projections

Summary: As the world faces the prospect of the seven billionth inhabitant, and the possibility of reaching ten billion by 2100, we look at what the ONS predicts will happen to the population in the UK over the next 90 years.

What does the chart show? The blue line shows the projected total UK population, while the red line shows the "working age" population projection (those aged between 16 and 64), both in thousands of people and measured against the left hand axis. The green line represents the number of dependants (both children and pensioners) per person of working age, measured against the right hand axis.

Why is the chart interesting? As we race past another milestone, global discussion has concentrated on whether the world will be able to support the growing population, with some forecasts reaching 10 billion by 2100.

In the UK, the population is forecast to reach almost 94 million by the end of the century - a daunting prospect for the urban planners of the future. With the "working age" population growing at a slower rate (almost reaching 55m by 2100), the number of dependants each of us will have to support is predicted to grow considerably. Of course, the definition of working age is likely to change as the retirement age creeps upwards over the period.

As an aside, the proportion of the world's population represented by the British is projected to increase very slightly - from 0.90% to 0.94%!