Wales' most innovative and influential think tank

Connect: Twitter Facebook LinkedInTel: 01685 350938

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



In Print

Supporter Magazine

Exchange Issue 12, Winter 2018

Wales’ best policy and politics magazine! The latest edition of Exchange, Wales’ best policy and politics magazine that is exclusively for supporters of the Bevan Foundation brings together a fantastic range of contributors that delve into some of the most Read more »

Exchange Issue 11, Summer 2018

The magazine with its finger on the pulse! The latest edition of our exclusive supporters’ magazine brings together a range of contributors to explore some of the most current and important issues in Welsh public life. New free extract for Read more »

More from the Supporter Magazine »

Other Publications

Human Rights, Equality and Well-being

Following from the last two briefings on incorporation of human rights and accountability and enforcement of human rights, the last in the series discusses the relationship between human rights, equality and well-being. Throughout February the Bevan Foundation has published three Read more »

Human Rights: Accountability and Enforcement

Following last week’s briefing on incorporation of human rights into Welsh law, Dr Simon Hoffman explains how incorporation supports accountability for, and enforcement of human rights. Last week, Associate Professor at Swansea University, Dr Simon Hoffman, discussed incorporation of international Read more »

More from Other Publications »


Stay informed

Keep up to date and gain new insights and inspiration with Spark, our FREE e-news

Sign Up For The Spark »

Support Us

Support lasting solutions today!

We need YOUR help to create equality, justice and prosperity for everyone in Wales

Support Us »


May 7th 2019

Briefing: Solutions to Holiday Hunger

Lunch Briefing: Solutions to Holiday Hunger Tuesday 7th May 2019 12:15-13:15 Media Briefing Room, Senedd, Cardiff, CF99 1NA Kindly sponsored by John Griffiths AM The Bevan Foundation is delighted to invite you to the launch of its report “Solutions to Read more »

May 10th 2019

Film Screening and Director Q&A: A Northern Soul

The Bevan Foundation is delighted to invite you to a screening of the A Northern Soul, a film by BAFTA nominated documentarian Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story). Date: 10th May 2019 Time: Evening (exact time tbc) Venue: Redhouse, Old Town Hall, High Street, Read more »