Population and census

  • By London Councils

London’s population has grown rapidly over the past decade and is set to continue for the next two according to population projections by ONS and the GLA. By the time of the last census in 2011 it had grown to 8.2 million, 14% from 2001. Projections are for it to reach around 9 million by 2021. As well as such growth, the diversity, churn and mobility make estimating population numbers and characteristics profoundly difficult.

Accurate population figures are vitally important for London boroughs and wider public services for both determining central Government funding allocations to local government and for service planning in London.

London Councils’ analysis shows that in 2013/14, London local government received close to £12 billion of revenue funding through methodologies using population as a factor. This represents approximately 77 per cent of total revenue funding.

Similar analysis for 2012/13 shows that authorities lost £580,000 in grant before damping from core local government funding for every 1,000 of uncounted population.

Recent work in the team has included responding to the ONS’ recent consultation on the future of the census.

Beyond 2011: The census and future population statistics consultation

The government published a public consultation on the 23 September 2013 on future approaches to the census in the future. London Councils submitted its response to the consultation on Friday 13 December 2013.

The response highlights the following points:

  • This is a golden opportunity to address shortcomings in census and population statistics for London.
  • A national one-size fits all approach is felt to fail to reflect the unique scale, complexity, growth and churn of London’s population.
  • London local government needs to be worked closely with to improve census and population statistics methodologies.

On the 27 March 2014 the Board of Authority accepted and endorsed the National Statistician’s recommendation for a predominantly online census in 2021 supplemented by further use of administrative and survey data. The Government has been written to with this recommendation.