Figures released this week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that York’s population rose from 204,439 to 206,856 between mid 2014 and mid 2015.
This represented an increase of 2417 persons (1.2%)
Most of the increase was due to younger people, aged between 18 and 3, moving into the City. They accounted for 1431 of the total. This is unsurprising given the expansion in higher education that there has been in the City in recent years.
More significant may be the make-up of any change.
High growth predictions for the City have so far been based on a widening gap between the number of births and deaths in the City. Although that trend continues, the gap between the two has narrowed (1993 births against 1848 deaths last year).
As the graph (left) shows this new trend towards lower birth rates is also reflected elsewhere in the UK.
There were 637 (net) migrants arriving in York from other parts of the UK.
The biggest growth component were migrants from other parts of the world (1,643 net). Many of these were students.
In some towns, including Harrogate and Scarborough, the population actually reduced last year
It would be wrong to read too much into a single year’s figures. But, with the additional uncertainties about the country’s capacity for economic growth in the wake of the EU referendum result, the York Council might be wise to take a more cautious view about expansion than is currently displayed in its draft Local Plan.
The figures do however confirm that – with unemployment levels at an historic low in York – higher economic growth can only be achieved if many of the new jobs are taken up by migrate workers