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Latest population projections

Change over 25 years for selected age groups in Lincolnshire

  0-15 16-64 65-74 75+
2016 119,100 454,600 96,300 74,800
2041 120,300 453,400 110,000 140,600
Change +1% -1% +14% +87%

Source: ONS Population Projections May 2018. Our Population Projection toolkit provides easy access to the Projections data for Lincolnshire.  

The Importance of Population

Knowing both the population size and demography of an area, and understanding how it is changing, are both important factors for any organisation operating in that area. This is particularly the case for those delivering services to the populace both now and into the future, and also those that need to attract or draw down the right amount of government funding.

The way we live our lives has changed considerably from a time where people tended to be born, live and die in the same area. Nowadays a more mobile population globally, as well as nationally and locally as a result of work or education, means that producing and interpreting population and migration statistics has become increasingly challenging.

There are numerous sources of information on population and population change. Care must be taken to avoid confusion as to what figures to use, and to also avoid mixed messages about Lincolnshire's population, how it is changing, and what it will look like in the future.

Understanding Population

Measuring Lincolnshire's Population

There are many ways to count the population, such as usual resident population, day or night time population, service user population, and so on depending on the need. Population data provided by the LRO is mainly sourced from national statistics along with the GP registered population. The four main types of population measures are shown in the following table:

Measure What it is How often it is updated
Mid-Year Population Estimates Population estimates from the Census are updated each year to produce mid-year population estimates for the years in between each Census. Annually
GP Registrations These figures show numbers of people registered with a general practice. They will differ from the ONS Mid-Year population estimates, although they are factored into them. Annually
Census The census makes every effort to include everyone and aims to show an actual count of residents on census day. Historically, every ten years
Population Projections ONS population projections provide estimates of the size of the future population, based on assumptions about births, deaths and migration. Every two years

The Census

The census conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is a count of all people and households, and has taken place every 10 years since 1801. It is the most complete source of information we have about the population. The most recent Census was held on Sunday 27th March 2011.

The census makes every effort to include everyone and aims to show an actual count of residents on census day. It is the only survey that provides a detailed picture of the entire population, and is unique because it covers everyone at the same time and asks the same core questions everywhere, making it easy to compare different parts of the country.

Try the dedicated Census 2011 section of the LRO for more information about the latest Census.

The information provided by the census allows central and local Government, health authorities and many other organisations to target their resources more effectively, and to plan housing, education, health and transport services for years to come. The first release of data from the 2011 Census was in July 2012. The LRO will continue to provide background information and a localised view of the data from the latest Census as it is released over the next few years, to give a clear picture of what the Census shows in Lincolnshire.

GP Registration populations

These figures show the number of people registered with a general practice. They differ from the ONS Mid-Year population estimates, although they are factored into them. The Mid-Year estimates produced by ONS thus show the official population estimates. There are times when GP Registered populations may provide additional useful information in particular circumstances, as they provide an actual count of people. However, GP Registrations may slightly over or under estimate populations. For example, people may leave the area but not de-register from their GP or may not register with a GP at all.

Population Estimates

The most authoritative population estimates come from the census. Population estimates from the census are updated each year to produce mid-year population estimates for the years in between each census. Population estimates are produced annually by ONS for England and Wales, National and by Local Authority. They tell us how many people live in the UK as a whole and in each local area, and provide information on age-sex structure of the population in these areas. Mid-Year population estimates show numbers of persons rounded to the nearest 100.

The estimated and projected populations of an area include all persons usually resident in the area, whatever their nationality. Members of HM forces stationed outside the UK are excluded, but members of US forces stationed in the UK are included. Students are taken to be resident at their term-time address. Flows of long-term international migrants are accounted for, defined as somebody who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least one year. Short-term migrants (eg. migrant workers) are not included.

Mid-Year population estimates are generally released in the following year (for example, Mid-Year 2015 population estimates were released in June 2016).

Population Projections

ONS population projections provide estimates of the size of the future population, based on assumptions about births, deaths and migration. Population projections use assumptions based on recent trends and population estimates.

Projections only indicate what may happen should the recent trends continue, and figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Projections do not make allowances for the effects of local or central government policies on future populations. The assumptions used in ONS projections are based solely on recent demographic trends so the projections do not reflect, for example, the impact of likely future housing development in an area. Projections become increasingly uncertain the further they seek to look into the future, and particularly so for smaller geographical areas. Population projections for the UK and its constituent countries and also for England sub-nationally down to local authority level relating to the next 25 years, are usually produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every two years.

There is a usual two-year ONS publication cycle for population projections, and the latest projections are 2016-based (published May 2018).   They are based on Mid-2016 population estimates (that also take into account 2011 Census results).  These latest 2016-based population projections are available on the LRO in the presentation tool and also in this Population Projections toolkit .

Previous estimates and current projections indicate that Lincolnshire is likely to continue to grow, however, the most recent data from ONS suggest that the rate is in fact slowing.

Sources of Population Data and Information

For quick access to population Toolkits, Reports, and Data, use the menu at the top right of this page.

There are a number of sources of population information which are produced by different organisations and in some cases are regularly updated and revised. Additionally, refer to the list of key population indicators below for further information.

The latest count of the population and its demographic

Population Trends in Lincolnshire analyses information from:

  • Mid-Year Population Estimate (ONS)
  • Mid-Year Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (ONS)
  • 2011 Census

How the population is projected to look in the future

The ONS released the latest sub-national population projections in May 2018. These are based on the 2016 population, and projects the population for each year up to 2041. The LRO has produced a tool to help analyse ONS population projections by age, gender and district.

Local internal migration

Population Trends in Lincolnshire analyses information from:

Local international migration

International Migration in Lincolnshire 2010/11 analyses information from:

  • National Insurance Registrations to Overseas Nationals (DWP)
  • Worker Registration Scheme (UK Border Agency)
  • Flag 4 registrations (ONS)
  • Annual Population Survey (ONS)

  • Lincolnshire751,200
  • Boston68,500
  • East Lindsey139,700
  • Lincoln98,400
  • North Kesteven115,200
  • South Holland93,300
  • South Kesteven141,700
  • West Lindsey94,300
  • Lincolnshire783,080
  • Boston83,492
  • East Lindsey148,194
  • Lincoln102,190
  • North Kesteven97,702
  • South Holland93,301
  • South Kesteven173,685
  • West Lindsey84,516
Source: ONS 2017 Mid Year Population Estimates/ GP Registrations April 2019 (NHS-HSCIC) More Information

Useful links

Population Projection Toolkit

Population Trends

ONS Census 2011


Quick Reference guide - Lincolnshire population data at a glance

Population Trends In Lincolnshire 2017  - Analysis of the latest population estimates

2011 Census Population Estimate Reports


Lincolnshire LEP

Lincolnshire & Rutland


East Lindsey


North Kesteven

South Holland

South Kesteven

West Lindsey

Other Population Reports

Population Patterns In Lincolnshire - An in depth review of population patterns in Lincolnshire published in 2008

International Migration in Lincolnshire 2010/11 -The latest information on international migration to Lincolnshire

Mosaic District Profile - Report on the characteristics of Lincolnshire’s Population using Experian’s Public Sector Mosaic.


See the main population indicators at the bottom of this page. You can use the first dropdown box to select extra data.

LRO Population Projection analysis tool based on the 2016 population estimates  This gives district level data selectable by single year age band and gender up to 2039.

Parish populations from the 2011 Census with five year age bands

More Information

Office for National Statistics

Population resources from the ONS:

Area Profiles