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Group of five peopleSouthampton's population size and structure

Understanding the size and structure of Southampton’s population and how it is changing is vital in estimating population need and for the planning and commissioning of services across the city. Data on Southampton’s population comes from a range of sources, using different methodologies for estimating the size and structure of the population and how this is projected to change in the future. These are summarised below, whilst links to the data and visualisation tools can be found in the resources section at the end of this page.

Residential population estimates

SAPF population pyramid 2021. Click or tap for a larger imageThe Small Area Population Forecasts (SAPF) are produced annually by Hampshire County Council and estimate the size of the local resident population for Hampshire districts as well as Portsmouth and Southampton. These estimates are considered to provide the most robust local estimate of the current and future resident population as they take account of natural change (births and deaths), internal and international migration and known and planned dwelling completions. They also include future dwellings supply based on residential planning applications. Current forecasts run from 2021 to 2028. The SAPF data is available for Local Authorities, wards and Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOAs), allowing the creation of defined smaller areas or community data. Detailed SAPF data and methodology documents can be found in the Population dashboard or in the resources section the end of the page. A summary of the main points is provided below:

  • In 2021, the resident population of Southampton was estimated to be 261,729, of which 128,372 (49.0%) were female and 133,357 (51.0%) were male
  • Children between the ages 0 to 5 make up 6.5% (17,008) of the population, which is similar to the national average of 6.9%
  • 18.4% (48,216) of Southampton’s resident population is aged between 16 and 24 years compared to just 10.5% nationally. This is largely due to Southampton being a university city and home to approximately 43,000 students
  • 14.6% of the population are aged over 65 (38,169 people) which is lower than the national average of 18.5%.
  • Bargate ward has the largest population of 25,873 people or 9.9% of Southampton’s total population
  • The smallest ward is Coxford with a population of 14,224 people or 5.4% of Southampton’s population
  • Bargate (34.9%) and Swaythling (34.0%) have the largest populations aged 16-24 reflecting the large student population in Southampton
  • The overall resident population is projected to increase by 6.3% between 2021 and 2028
  • Bargate ward is forecast to increase by 23.7% between 2021 and 2028, but Bitterne ward is forecast to decrease by -1.1% in the same period
  • There were an estimated 108,332 dwellings in Southampton in 2021
Population dashboard
Visualisation

Mid-year population estimates (MYE)

Alternative resident population estimates are produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). These are known as the ONS Mid-year population estimates (MYE) and are useful as they provide comparable trend data across the whole country. These estimates are produced annually and are calculated by rolling forward the previous Census results (currently 2011), taking into account natural change (births and deaths) and internal and international migration between 1 July and 30 June each year.

The latest MYE (2020) suggests that Southampton’s population is 252,872 residents of which 123,203 (48.7%) were female and 129,669 (51.3%) were male. It also shows that the resident population of the city is estimated to have grown by 8.5% since 2010; that is an extra 19,787 people. More information on the ONS MYE can be found in the population dashboard and resources section below.

Population dashboard
Visualisation

Subnational population projections (SNPP)

These projections take the mid-2018 population estimates, published on 26 June 2019, as their starting point and project the population to 2043. The projected local authority populations for each year are calculated by ageing on the population from the previous year, applying local fertility and mortality rates to calculate the number of projected births and deaths, and then adjusting for migration into and out of each local authority.

The latest SNPP data runs from 2018 to 2043 and suggests that Southampton’s population is estimated to be 270,834 in 2043, an increase of 7.1% or 18,038 people. More details can be found in the population change section and in the population dashboard and resources section below.

Population dashboard
Visualisation

GP registered population

An alternative source of population data comes from GP practice registers; these provide the number of patients registered with a Southampton GP practice. The registered population differs from the resident population as a person can be registered with a Southampton GP practice but live outside the city, or may live in the city, but be registered with a GP practice outside of Southampton. For this reason, the registered population can be quite different to the resident populations. However, this information is particularly useful for the planning of health services.

NHS Digital collates the registered population at GP practice, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level. The data is available by age and gender and is released monthly. In June 2022, there were 309,091 people registered at a Southampton GP, of which 149,515 (48.4%) were female and 159,576 (51.6%) were male. This is 18.1% higher than the estimated resident population (261,729 people). More information is available in the population dashboard and the resources section below.

Population dashboard
Visualisation

Household composition

The 2011 Census revealed lots about the way people live in Southampton; as expected from the large student population, Southampton has a higher proportion of single (never married) residents than nationally (33% compared to 26%). Southampton has 10,249 widowed residents and 17,184 residents who are single through separation or divorce. There are 11,283 households in Southampton consisting of older people living alone and 416 people in a registered same-sex civil partnership. Living alone is a key risk factor for loneliness and social isolation, which can have impacts on health and wellbeing and on demand for services. More information can be found on the loneliness and social isolation page.

In 2011, there were 6,918 lone parent families in Southampton with dependent children. Of these, 47% were not in employment (compared to 41% nationally) and the vast majority were female (over 91%). To access more detailed data from the 2011 Census, see the NOMIS website.

Data from the 2021 Census is due to be released from March 2022, when the latest range of population figures will be available.

Population dashboard
Visualisation

Resources

Population dashboard

The dashboard presents a range of population data to provide intelligence on Southampton's resident and GP registered population to help drive strategic decision making. Data in this dashboard is compiled from a range of publicly available sources. Including Small Area Population Forecasts (SAPF), Mid-Year Population Estimates (MYE), Subnational Population Projections (SNPP) and GP Registered Populations. Please note that SAPF figures in the dashboard are the sum of all Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOA) and may not be the same as other published figures.

Population dashboard
Visualisation

Hampshire County Council - Small Area Population Forecasts (SAPF)

The Small Area Population Forecasts (SAPF) are produced by Hampshire County Council and cover Hampshire, the local districts, Portsmouth and Southampton. These figures are based on natural change (births and deaths), internal and international migration and known dwelling completions. They also include future dwellings supply based on residential planning applications. The SAPF data is available for Local Authorities, wards and Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOA), allowing the creation of defined smaller areas or community data.

Hampshire County Council small area population forecasts
Dataset

ONS - Mid-Year Population Estimates (MYE)

The ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates (MYE) are produced by the Office for National Statistics, and provide comparable resident population data across the whole country by quinary (5 year) and single age year bands. The estimates are calculated by rolling forward the 2011 Census results, taking into account natural change (births and deaths) and internal and international migration between 1 July and 30 June each year. Data is produced annually and is available at various geographies including local authorities, wards and Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA).

ONS - population estimates for the UK
Report
ONS - analysis of population estimates tool
Dataset

ONS - Subnational Population Projections (SNPP)

The projections take the mid-2018 population estimates, published on 26 June 2019, as their starting point and project the population to 2043. The projected local authority populations for each year are calculated by ageing on the population from the previous year, applying local fertility and mortality rates to calculate the number of projected births and deaths, and then adjusting for migration into and out of each local authority.

ONS - Subnational population projections (SNPP)
Dataset

NHS Digital - Patients registered at a GP practice

NHS Digital collates the registered population at GP practice, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level. The data is available by age and gender and is released monthly.

NHS Digital - Patients registered at a GP practice
Dataset

NOMIS - ONS 2011 Census data

The 2011 Census was taken on 27th March 2011. The full data from this census are available in several hundred separate datasets (or tables), covering the whole range of population characteristics and subject areas. These data tables can be queried through the 2011 Census NOMIS website. A link to NOMIS is provided below.

NOMIS - ONS 2011 Census data
Dataset

ONS - 2021 Census

The census takes place every 10 years. It gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. Home of the first releases of the latest Census.

ONS - 2021 Census
Dataset

Last updated: 23 June 2022