Suffolk population rise is ‘above average’

HEALTH and council bosses say they recognise the huge challenges posed by Suffolk's growing population – after latest census figures revealed the number of people living in the county had risen by nearly 60,000 in just 10 years.

According to the 2011 Census, Suffolk's population now stands at 728,200 – an 8.7pc growth that outstrips the national average of 7pc.

The census also reveals a striking increase in Suffolk's ageing population – with a growth of 25pc of people aged 60 and above from 2001.

Other key points include a rise in the number of people between the ages of 20 and 50 living in the county and a slight decline in the average number of people per household.

Since records began in 1801, Suffolk has witnessed a steady growth in population. In 1801 Suffolk's population stood at 210,431.

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The growth over this decade is the second highest, with the greatest peak witnessed between 1961 to 1971.

Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council and cabinet member for finance, said the data is invaluable for future planning.

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'In these times where we are being asked to make more and more cuts to our services, our growing population is considerably challenging,' she said.

'The census information provides us with a unique insight into the way we live now, and how this compares with the past.

'As well as being interesting in itself, this information is crucial for the county council and other organisations when it comes to taking decisions about meeting the needs of Suffolk people.

'We need to know about changes to the population, and how this is likely to affect the way we provide services now and in future.

'In terms of income, the government should give us more money per person.'

She added that it was good news that the census revealed an increase in the number of people aged between 20 and 50.

'As a county we must be doing something right that people want to come and live here, especially of those of working age who can boost our economy,' she said.

Health bosses predict the population will grow by 20pc over the next 20 years.

Tessa Lindfield, NHS Suffolk's director of public health said: 'The NHS in Suffolk has long recognised the future challenges an increasing population presents.

'NHS Suffolk has already developed strategies which will help us deliver the right healthcare in the future, and in particular, focusing on age-related health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and dementia, which will see a big increase in the future.

'We are also working with people to help them stay as healthy as they can be.'

Nationally, the population of England and Wales has leapt by 3.7m over the last decade – the biggest growth between censuses since records began.

The number of people living in England and Wales stands at 56.1m, a rise of just over 7pc on the 52.4m registered in the 2001 census. The growth in population was fuelled by migration, increased life expectancy and a rise in fertility rates, the Office for National Statistics said.

England is now the fifth fastest growing country in the European Union.

The figures also showed an ageing population, with more over-65s than ever before, with one in six now in this age group in England and Wales.

In Suffolk, 196,600 people are over 60 – compared to 157,851 in 2001. Suffolk Coastal has the highest number of ageing population.

The 2011 Census invited 25m households to take part by providing a compelling snapshot of the number of people who live in the UK, and how this compares with previous decades. The census is conducted every 10 years.

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