In November last year, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Research Group published some forecasts for population changes in the county up to the year 2031. These forecasts include predictions for age groups in each ward, so they give quite a lot of detail about the county’s population, and how it might change in the coming decades. There’s a lot of information about the methodology in the notes. One important point is that there’s a good deal of uncertainty; amongst other things, the model assumes development on Cambridge airport, which now seems a lot less likely than it once did.
Here’s what the model predicts for the population of Cambridge city, from the 2001 census up to 2031:
The figures are all for University term-time, so include students. The forecast predicts a large increase in the city’s population; if the model is right, Cambridge’s population has already risen 12% since 2001, and will rise by another 23% in the next twenty years. It’s interesting that most of the growth is expected over the next ten years; after that, the graph levels off and the population ages a bit.
The data also includes population forecasts for each of Cambridge’s wards:
The thing that really jumps out of this graph is that most of the population growth is expected in just three wards, Abbey, Castle and Trumpington – though a lot of the Abbey growth forecast is based on building on the airport, so may not happen. Castle ward covers the north-west fringe development, and Trumpington the southern fringe. Council candidates in those areas will have a lot more doors to knock on in the future.
Another way to break down the data is to look at the age distribution in each ward. Here are the figures for 2011:
As you can see, Cambridge is a young city; nearly 70% of the population are under 45. I’ve listed the wards in order of their population in the 15-24 age group. The last two bars give comparative figures for the whole of Cambridge, and the whole of England. Market, Newnham and Castle are the most studenty wards; at the other end of the list, Cherry Hinton is much more typical of England.
Data from Cambridgeshire County Council Research Group 2009-based ward level population and dwelling stock forecasts.