Will Cambridge ever stop growing?

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Research Group has recently published some new projections of the future population of Cambridgeshire, up to the year 2031. There are some interesting changes since the previous set of projections, which I looked at back in 2011.

There is always a good deal of uncertainty when you’re trying to predict how a county’s population will change over the next twenty years. There are lots of variables to consider: housing supply and prices, migration patterns, fertility and mortality rates, and all sort of other economic and social factors. The methodology document goes into the detail of how the projections were put together. But let’s have a look at the overall picture for Cambridge:

 

As you might expect from the number of cranes you can see from Castle Hill, in the short term Cambridge is set for a good deal of population growth. According to the projections, the city’s population in 2014 is somewhere around 132,000, and set to carry on rising for at least the next decade, adding about another 20,000 people in that time. However, in the longer term, the projections suggest that the city’s population may start to fall slightly in about twelve years’ time. It’s also interesting to note that it’s the younger age bands that are set to reduce the most.

The figures also contain projections for individual wards within the city. Here’s what the numbers look like:

 

It’s clear from this graph that the bulk of the population growth over the next few years is expected in Castle and Trumpington wards, which each contain major housing developments. The main change from the previous projections is that Abbey ward’s population is no longer expected to grow so dramatically now that Marshalls have decided not to relocate from the airport.

Finally, here are the projected figures for population growth across all the districts of Cambridgeshire:

 

As you can see, unlike Cambridge, the other districts are expected to continue increasing in population for the foreseeable future. By 2031, the county’s total population is projected to be around 770,000, up from about 640,000 today. Let’s hope they can all find somewhere decent to live.

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