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Demographic trends in Wales: how migration influences Wales’ current and future population

November 30th 2018

With the UK Government due to publish its White Paper on the future immigration system after Brexit, the Bevan Foundation highlights how Wales relies on migration to maintain and grow its population.

Wales’ population has undergone rapid and striking changes in the last twenty years. Future changes are much less certain, having to take into account not only possible different rates of fertility and mortality and varying levels of movement of people into and out of Wales from elsewhere in the UK, but also unknown effects of changes in immigration policy following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

This briefing paper gives an outline of the past, current and future demographic trends in Wales. It looks at the current population and reasons for recent trends, paying particular attention to the role migration has played and may continue to play in the future. The main findings include:

  • Without migration Wales’ population will drop;
  • In 20 years’ time, Wales’ working age population, those aged 16-64, will be lower than it was last year and will drop more with less migration;
  • At the same time Wales’ ageing population will increase by as much as 34 percent in 20 years.

All of this could put strains on health and social care as well as on the economy. Migration is a complex issue, but if Wales wants to continue growing its population and minimise the reduction in the numbers of people of working age, it will need to look to immigration, both from in and outside of the UK.

This briefing highlights some of the important debates that need to take place about immigration and immigration policy in Wales, and raises important questions about how decisions on immigration are made and who they are made by.

Format: PDF

Language: English

Pages: 17

Cost: Free



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