Thursday, June 18

The Havant Borough population myth

Most people are aware that the number of people in the UK is increasing every year right? And of course the population of Havant Borough is increasing.

Well no, it isn't. According to Havant Borough Council, the boroughs population has dropped by about 3,000 people since 1996. The prediction is that by 2011 the population will have fallen to 116,289, a total drop of 3,480.

Is this the full story?? Absolutely not. That figure of 3,480 is not actually the true reduction, what it doesn't take into account is the fact that the population should be growing! The reason for a growth in population is partly due to the number of births per year being greater than the number of deaths, but also due to immigration.

So how much bigger should the population really be? Well government statistics for the population in the South East are 7,817,000 (2011) and 7,800,000 (1996). This gives a growth rate of 1.13/1000 per annum (maths time! ... (7817 - 7800)/15= 1.13) which is a similar figure to the national/regional growth rates over the same 15 year period.

So lets use this growth rate to predict where the Havant Borough population should be. We have to start at 1996 and calculate the growth over 15 years given the 1.13 growth figure. The easiest way to do that is to used a compound interest calculator, commonly used to calculate interest on savings in a bank (the 'interest' rate will be 0.113%). It won't give a precise figure, but it will be close enough. Using such a method you get a population figure of 121,760 for 2011. Now compare that with Havant Borough Councils predictions for 2011 which is 116,289. This gives a 'real' population difference (reduction) of 5,471.

But that isn't the end of it. The reduction of 3,480 in population that is in the councils figures, includes the growth caused by births/deaths. So in reality the number of people that have left the borough is much greater than just 3,480!

What does all this mean? Well a lot of homes are being left empty, or are being used for temporary accommodation, investment, second homes etc. Secondly, it puts into question why we need 3,000 extra homes in Waterlooville. HBC reckon we need more because people will be living on their own or as single parents. Does every single person really need their own place? What about the population reduction freeing up homes? What about homes being built on smaller plots?

What about the council and central government wanting to encourage population growth to keep their 'machine' going despite the environmental cost to us all? Hence the creation of homes, support for business etc. to fund tax revenues and keep the machine going.

I am of course in favour of a continued population reduction and do not advocate population growth to maintain pensions, businesses, tax revenue etc.


Population reduction HBC predict between 1996 and 2011: 3,480 Population growth that should happen between 1996 and 2011 given some encouragement: 5,471

HBC (location and setting)
National Statistics (population trends)

Update 15/06/13: Unfortunately the links to the data at HBC and ONS are now dead. HBC currently no longer show population statistics on their (our) web site, the reasons could be due to politics, management issues or technology. However Hampshire County Council still have similar data available for Havant Borough.
Click on the 'Data' tab on the page to download the Excel files.

Update 16/06/13
Found an archive of the original Havant Borough web page with the population info on Wayback Machine:


Anonymous said...

I see no reason why population in the area is shrinking.
As you said, th population in the south-east has been increasing so why a reverse in Havant.

I do wonder if these figures are 'tweaked' in favour of council reports at the time.

In terms of the waterlooville houseing situation there is a bit of a problem with supply and demand but i am biased as im young and trying to get on the property ladder!


TheVille said...

I think the figures are probably correct. The population has dropped by about 3,000 in 13 years, so it isn't a great deal per year.

2001 was a census year, 2011 will be, although I don't think 2006 was.
I think the 2006 population info was a result of the 'neighbourhood statistics' system.

So i think they are accurate.

But what the stats show, is that birthrates are falling, the ages 0 to 15 are -12%.
Also at the same time the number of pensioners are up dramatically, as much as 37%.

I just can't see how they can justify building 3000 homes, to me it seems they want to try and deliberately increase the population in the borough.
But also they are assuming there will be more single people that can afford a property.
An awful lot of people will only be able to afford a property if prices drop to a third of what they are today!