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Southampton’s population size and structure


PopulationUnderstanding 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.

Southampton population dashboard
Visualisation

Resident population estimates

Percentage of population by ages and sex Southampton 2022The 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.

In May 2023, there was a ward boundary review, which has resulted in an additional ward being added, covering Banister & Polygon. This gives Southampton 17 wards. Other ward boundaries have changed to accommodate this new ward and Bitterne has been renamed Thornhill.

Data presented in this page, where possible, are to these new ward boundaries and totals are a sum of the male and female population of the wards.

Detailed SAPF data, wards map and methodology 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 2022, the resident population of Southampton was estimated to be 263,769, of which 129,191 (49.0%) were female and 134,578 (51.0%) were male
  • Children between the ages 0 to 5 make up 6.5% (17,032) of the population, which is similar to the England average of 6.9% (MYE 2020)
  • 18.5% (48,818) of Southampton’s resident population is aged between 16 and 24 years compared to just 10.5% in England. This is largely due to Southampton being a university city and home to approximately 37,800 students
  • 14.3% of the population are aged 65 and over (37,768 people) which is lower than the national average of 18.5%
  • Bargate ward has a population of 18,821 people or 7.1% of Southampton’s total population
  • The new ward of Banister & Polygon has a population of 17,009 people or 6.4% of Southampton’s total population
  • The smallest ward, in population terms, is Coxford with a population of 14,321 people or 5.4% of Southampton’s population
  • Swaythling (34.3%), Banister &Polygon (33.1%) and Bargate (32.7%) have the largest populations aged 16-24 years reflecting the large student population in Southampton
  • The overall resident population is projected to increase by 7.5% between 2022 and 2029
  • The number of dwellings is forecast to increase from 108,775 in 2022 to 118,267 in 2029; an increase of 8.7% (9,492 extra dwellings)
  • The largest growth in dwellings is predicted to be in the new ward boundaries is Bargate (5,245 extra dwellings; 65.8%), followed by Bevois (928 extra dwellings; 15.4%) and Banister and Polygon (558 extra dwellings; 7.9%)
  • The smallest growth in dwellings is predicted to be in Harefield (53 extra dwellings 0.9%) between 2022 and 2029

More information can be found in the population dashboard below and the resources section.

Southampton 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 2021), taking into account natural change (births and deaths) and internal and international migration between 1 July and 30 June each year.

In November 2023, the Office for National Statistics released a rebased population estimate based on 2021 Census data. This data set takes the MYE from 2012 to 2022 and readjusts it to include changes seen since the previous Census in 2011.

The latest MYE (2022) suggests that Southampton’s population is 252,689 residents of which 126,277 (49.97%) were female and 126,412 (50.03%) were male. It also shows that the resident population of the city is estimated to have grown by 7.1% since 2011; that is an extra 16,819 people. The population estimate tool includes rebased mid-year estimates from mid-2012 to mid-2021.

More information on the ONS MYE can be found in the population estimate tool below and the resources section.

ONS - Analysis of population estimates tool for UK
Dataset

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 dashboard below and resources section.

Southampton 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 England collates the registered population at GP surgery and Primary Care Network (PCN). The data is available by age and gender and is released monthly. In February 2024, there were 332,462 people registered at a Southampton GP, of which 161,444 (48.6%) were female and 171,018 (51.4%) were male. This is 26.0% higher than the estimated resident population (263,769 people).

More information on GP surgeries and PCN is available in the population dashboard in the resources section below.

Resources

Population interactive 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.

Southampton population dashboard
Visualisation

Census 2021 interactive dashboard

Users can access a range of Census data across different topic areas including population, education, identity, housing, health and work. With the ability to view benchmarking between Southampton and ONS comparators and mapping of data by Census geographies; such as lower layer super output areas (LSOA) a neighbourhood of around 1,500 residents.

Census 2021 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 (SAPF)
Dataset

ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates (MYE) 2022

The 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 2021 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. Data for sub-city wards and Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) will be available in early 2024. The population estimate tool includes rebased mid-year estimates from mid-2012 to mid-2020.

ONS - Mid-year Population estimates for England and Wales: mid-2022
Dataset
ONS - Analysis of population estimates tool for UK
Visualisation
ONS - Population estimates by output areas, electoral, health and other geographies, England and Wales: mid-2021 and mid-2022
Dataset

NHS England - Patients registered at a GP practice

The number of patients registered at a GP on the first day of each month. Presented at practice, PCN, ICB sub-location, ICB and NHS England Commissioning Region level. LSOA data are published quarterly. Data is released in single year of age and 5-year age bands, split by gender.

NHS England - Patients Registered at a GP Practice
Dataset

NOMIS – 2021 Census data

The 2021 Census was taken on 21st March 2021. The 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 Census NOMIS website. Data from the 2001 and 2011 Census is also available on Nomis. A link to NOMIS is provided below.

Nomis - 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.

ONS - 2021 Census
Report
ONS – Census 2021 - create a custom table
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 for England: 2018-based
Dataset

ONS - Create a population group profile

The Office for National statistics has produced a new tool that allows for customised population groups. Select one or more identity characteristics to define a population group, for example people whose main language is Spanish or people born in the UK who are disabled under the Equality Act. Once selected, you will see how your selected group compares to the whole population of England and Wales, based on Census 2021 data.

ONS - Create a population group profile
Dataset

ONS - Population estimates by marital status and living arrangements, England and Wales: 2022

Information from the Office for National Statistics on marital status and living arrangements.

ONS - Population estimates by marital status and living arrangements, England and Wales: 2022
Report

ONS - Explore local statistics

Compare a local authority and the UK average (median) local authority by different indicators, such as weekly pay and healthy life expectancy. You can also add and compare up to three other local authorities.

ONS - Explore local statistics
Visualisation

Last updated: 26 March 2024