What Census data tells us about east Suffolk's growing population

An aerial view of Lowestoft, looking north. Picture: Mike Page.

East Suffolk has 68,300 residents over the age of 65, Census data shows - Credit: Mike Page

East Suffolk has one of the highest number of people aged over 65 in the country, as an MP calls for greater funding to support key services.

Data from the 2021 census shows the district remains very attractive to retirees, with 68,300 residents over the age of 65 - a total of 27.8pc of the area's overall population.

The figures, which increased 27.8pc over the past 10 years, are the highest in Suffolk, and 18th out of 331 local authorities in England and Wales.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said the county's aging population will mean increased pressure on services and called for more national funding. 

Waveney MP Peter Aldous

Waveney MP Peter Aldous - Credit: House of Commons

He said: "Population in the East of England has gone up significantly, Suffolk may not have gone up quite as much but I think generally we are getting more people moving to our area. 

"I think when you break it down, we have an aging population and with more people living here, and with more older people, there is increased pressure on public services and infrastructure.

"Something we'll probably be looking at in parliament in the next few months will be funding formulas for local government and if we've got more people living in our area, particularly of an older demographic, that is putting increased pressure on our services. That needs to be reflected in the funding formula. 

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"There is also pressure on things like infrastructure, doctors' surgeries are under the microscope a great deal at the moment, we need more doctors in the area and that in itself is a particular challenge.

"More of the national funding pot does need to be made available to our area.

"We are an area that is increasingly popular to live in and I think that is a trend that has set in and will probably continue over the next couple of decades."

The district also saw the smallest percentage rise in population across Suffolk, with an increase of 2.6pc from 239,552 in 2011 to 245,900 in 2021.

The county's total population grew by 4.4pc - 32,100 people - in the past decade, while the east of England as a whole saw the highest rate of population growth, up 8.3pc - 488,000 residents - from 2011.

The latest figures also revealed there are 11,400 more women and girls than men and boys in Suffolk, with 50.8% of the county's population female and 49.2% male. 

The 2021 survey, carried out on March 21 last year, came against the backdrop of both Brexit - which has seen restrictions on immigration - and the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Bobby Bennett

Suffolk County Councillor Bobby Bennett - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Bobby Bennett, cabinet member for equality and communities at Suffolk County Council, said: “The data from the census is important to the work we do here at Suffolk County Council.

"It helps us to develop policies and plan services such as schools, health and roads. It also helps us to allocate out funds to where they are needed the most.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the census last year, we will analyse the results and the data will help to inform our work going forward.”

Beccles is to have a new bypass. Picture: MIKE PAGE AERIAL PHOTO LIBRARY

East Suffolk's population rose 2.6pc to 245,900 in the decade to 2021

The census takes place across the UK every 10 years and provides the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in the country.

Its results are used by a range of organisations including governments, councils and businesses, and underpins everything from the calculation of economic growth and unemployment to helping plan schools, health services and transport links.