Reviewed 18/1/2024

Population numbers

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Bolton's population

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Using the latest (mid 2022) population estimates, Bolton's population was 298,903. Of these, 72,458 (24%) were aged under 18; 226,445 (76%) were aged 18+ and 51,415 (17%) were aged 65+.

2018 based population projections are the latest principal projection. According to these figures, Bolton's population is expected to rise by around 2,800 people over the next five years (1.0%). Over the next ten years Bolton’s total population will increase by around 4,700 more people (1.7%), with Bolton expected to have almost 300,000 residents by the year 2043. This is a notably slower increase than we see nationally with England predicted to increase by 4.2% in the next 10 years and the changes predicted for the Greater Manchester conurbation being 3.9%.

Population projections at local authority level are especially subject to any limitations of the source data, as well as annual local fluctuations in those sources. In addition, actual local population change will be strongly influenced by local economic development and housing policies. On that basis you should be cautious when comparing different areas’ exact numbers or growth rates. When using these figures to predict future service need they should be considered alongside other local knowledge such as planning allocations for housing growth and existing patterns of service usage.

Mid 2020 population estimates (Figure 1) illustrates that Bolton has a higher proportion of younger people aged 0-19 than what is observed nationally. Bolton has a lower proportion of working age population (16-64), than what is seen on average in England.

2020 mid-year population estimates

In line with developments across the country, Bolton has an ageing population. Bolton’s older population, ages 70 - 90+, do however make up a lower proportion of the local population than the England average. This population group is projected to increase rapidly by over 5,000 people over the next 10 years.

Population Changes: Projections

There are no official projections by age group available. Estimates can be made, but these do not take into account any population movement. According to estimates, between 2021 and 2026 the number of Older Teens is expected to increase by 1,869 people. The number of individuals in Secondary School and Older Working are projected to increase in number. The largest population increase is expected in the over 75 group (Older Retirement).

Looking further ahead to 2031 estimated projections show that the over 65 population will show a considerable increase in Bolton, rising by almost 8,000 within the Early Post Retirement (65-74) and Older Retirement (75+) age brackets.

In general, over the next 20 years Bolton will see a rise in the number of residents aged 65 and over; whilst other broad age groups are set to remain relatively stable, Bolton will see a growth in the number of people exceeding the current age of retirement.

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