Each year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes ‘mid-year estimates’ of populations for national and local areas. These are based on Census data, updated with information from a variety of sources.
Key Facts for Somerset
- In mid-2018 the population of Somerset was estimated to be 559,400, a rise of 4,200 from 2017 and 25,400 more than at the 2011 Census.
- 24.5% of the Somerset population are aged 65 and over, an increase of about 3% since the 2011 Census and 7% higher than the UK proportion
- Nearly 90% of the population growth in Somerset between 2011 and 2018 has been in the 65 and over age group.
2018 Mid-Year Population Estimates
* Taunton Deane and West Somerset were replaced by Somerset West & Taunton in 2019 but we have provided informationfor the old District areas for reference
Use our population pyramid dashboard for more detail and to select an age range you are interested in. The pyramid will filter based on the area, year and age range you select and the total population will also be filtered by the selected gender.
Population change since 2010
Since 2010 the population of Somerset is estimated to have risen by just over 30,000 people at the same rate of growth as the UK as a whole.
The former West Somerset area has seen no population growth and is estimated to have shrunk very slightly in that time.
Town & Village populations
There are no official population estimates for towns and villages however there are estimates of 'built-up areas'. Built-up areas were calculated for the 2011 Census using a 'bricks and mortar' approach. Due to the way they are calculated they may not match expectations of town boundaries and where there is little to no gap between towns/villages they are merged. For example, in Somerset, Burnham-on-Sea, Highbridge, Berrow and Brean are all classed as one built-up area because there is not a large enough gap between them. It also means that locations like RNAS Yeovilton are listed with their own population.
The 'built-up area' (BUA) boundaries have not been updated since the census so house building on the outskirts of towns since 2011 might not be included in the estimates.
The table below lists all of the built-up areas identified in Somerset with their latest population estimate.
Taunton is around 50% larger than any other town in Somerset and appears to be growing the fastest however there have been houses built on the outskirts of Taunton, Yeovil and Bridgwater that are outside the BUAs included in these figures. Therefore population estimates for these towns are likely to be underestimates.
Wellington is one the 4th fastest growing town in the County, with a larger population increase since 2011 than the larger Frome.
For a map and age profiles of Built-up Area locations see our BUA Population Dashboard
Components of population change
The main component of population growth in Somerset is a net inflow of people migrating from other parts of the country, in 2018 this was about 3,900 people and accounts for 75% of the gross population increases. There is also a net inflow of people migrating to Somerset from outside of the UK, in 2018 this was about 1,300 people.
Conversely, over the last few years more people have died than have been born in Somerset. In 2018 about 1,000 more people died than were born in Somerset. This continues a downward trend as the 4th consecutive year this component has seen a decrease in population.
You can see is the chart below that these components change over time with both internal and international net migration dropping considerably in 2009 before rising again. Internal migration has had the biggest effect on population growth since at least 2001 and there had been a negative natural change in 12 of the 17 years.
At a District level the different authorities can be affected by these components differently. Despite having the largest overall population, South Somerset experiences relatively low net internal and international migration while Somerset West and Taunton has the largest natural change deficit and highest net internal and international migration.
In 2018 Somerset was estimated to have a population density of 162 people per square kilometer, having risen from 145 people per sq. km in 2001.
Somerset as a whole and all 4 current districts have a lower population density than the UK and less than half of the population density of England.
The former West Somerset area (48 people per sq. km) is one of the most sparsely populated areas in England. The former Taunton Deane area (257 people per sq. km) had a similar density to the UK as a whole (274 people per sq. km) but the new Somerset West and Taunton District (130 people per sq. km) now has the lowest population density in Somerset and less than half the density of the UK.
The Components of change and population density data comes from the ONS Mid-Year Estimates, components of change are in table MYE3 and population density in table MYE5.