Summary

In 2014, Merton’s population is projected to be 203,2001 persons living in nearly 80,400 2occupied households. Population density tends to be higher in the east wards of the borough than in the west wards.3

Just over half the borough is female (50.6%) and the borough has a similar age profile to London as a whole.1 One in three households in Merton are ‘single households’ (individuals living alone), which is the most common type of household in the borough. This is closely followed by ‘family households with dependent children’ which make up one in four households in the borough – nearly half of Merton residents live in these households.2

Based on the Greater London Authority (GLA) trend-based projections, Merton’s population is projected to increase by 13,245 people between 2014 and 2020.3A significant feature of Merton’s projected population in 2020 is the changing age profile of the borough’s residents, with the most notable growth in those under the age of 16 years and those over 50 years old, with a decline in the proportion of people between the age of 25-35 years old. Looking at the ratio between the working age and non-working age populations (the age dependency ratio) we see a slight decrease in the proportion of the working age population from 69% in 2011 to 67.5% in 2014.1The ethnic composition of the borough is forecast to change, with the proportion of people from a Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) background increasing from 37% in 2014 to 40% in 2020. The GLA population projection data for 2014 shows Merton’s current BAME population to be 76,188.4population At the time of the 2011 Census, BAME groups in Merton made up 35.1% of the population. This was lower than the percentage for London (40.2%).

If we compare deprivation data from the 2010 Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)5It should be noted that the IMD has not been updated since 2010 we can see that population growth and the highest population densities were in wards toward the east of the borough, which currently have higher levels of deprivation, compared with the west of the borough.

Merton's current population

In 2014, Merton’s population is projected to be 203,200 1persons living in nearly 80,400 occupied households.2Population density tends to be higher in the east wards of the borough than in the west wards.

Just over half the borough is female (50.6%) and the borough has a similar age profile to London as a whole. The most common type of household in Merton is single-person households (29% of all households). This is followed by family households with dependent children (24% of all households), in which nearly half of the borough’s residents live.2

The ward maps below show Merton’s population by ward in 2014. The darker shades indicate a larger population. In general, wards in the East of the borough have higher number of residents than those in the West of the borough.

The index of multiple deprivation 2010 shows that deprivation is higher in the east of the borough.

Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010

Population count and projections

Different sources use different methodologies to construct a population estimate of the borough – e.g. the Office of National Statistics (ONS), GLA and GP registered populations. All of these have different uses.

Explanation of population projection figures:

The England and Wales Census occurs every 10 years, and the last one was undertaken in 2011. A census is a count of people and households, and is used to set policies and estimate the resources required to provide services for the population.6For the periods between census results, we have to rely on population estimates and population projections from the Office for National Statistics and the Greater London Authority. These are all underpinned by the most recent census result (using it as a baseline) and use similar methodologies to one another in estimating population change over time. These sources will, however, use different underlying assumptions in their population models.

GLA population projections

These project the population forwards from the last ONS Mid-Year Estimate (MYE) that directly followed a census result (used as a baseline) and the figures relate to the 30th June of each year. They are updated annually and come in two variants (which differ in housing development assumptions) and also use other different assumptions to both the ONS MYEs and ONS projections, which are directly relevant to the London population. As new projections contain projection figures for previous years (from the last baseline figure), these can be used as alternative estimates of the population for prior years.

ONS Sub-National Population Projections (SNPP)

These also project the population forwards, but always from the most recent available ONS MYE which serves as the baseline. These projections are region-specific (i.e. for London) but do not take into account future changes to planned housing developments, unlike the GLA.

These different estimates of the population serve different purposes; the ONS MYEs are required for comparisons with areas outside of London (as the GLA only projects for the London area) and are also used for calculating the allocation of central government resources to local areas.

The GLA projections are used for looking at future change and are usually preferred by London boroughs over the ONS SNPP as they incorporate assumptions on housing development that are specific to each London borough in projecting the population.

The most recent ONS projection based on the 2011 census for 2014 has given the borough a population of 207,600,7 compared to the GLA projection of 203,2001for Merton in 2014.

GP registered population

There are 24 General Practices in Merton operating from 27 different locations in the borough . The latest GP registered population for Merton for the financial year 2013/2014 is 217,692.8As this population takes into account those that are registered with a GP in Merton rather than those who are resident in Merton, it differs from the ONS and GLA population estimates. Residents of neighbouring London boroughs will be registered with Merton GPs, and Merton residents will be registered with GPs in neighbouring boroughs. The JSNA is used by different partners to plan services, including the Council and NHS, so understanding different populations that both live, work and attend GPs in the borough is useful.

Population breakdown by age, ethnicity and gender

Age

  • A significant feature of Merton’s population in 2020 is the changing age profile of the borough’s residents.
  • The number of children and young people aged 0-19 are 50,148 which is 25% of the total population and is forecast to increase by around 2,200 (4.4%) over this period. In particular, there is forecast to be an increase of over 3,000 (6%) children aged 7-13.1
  • It is notable that the 25-35 age group is forecast to fall by 2020, perhaps reflecting the lack of affordable housing in the borough.1
  • There is also forecast to be an increase of over 2,100 people (9.2%) in the over 65 age group.1 These changes are likely to result in demand pressures in three key areas of service provision – education, children’s social care and adult social care.
  • The high birth rate and increase in children under 5 will place additional demands on health services, in particular newborn and child screening, immunisations and six-week checks.
  • The increase in the 0-4 age group will increase demand for affordable childcare and nursery provision.
  • The rapid increase in the primary school age group will increase demand for primary places and subsequently for secondary places. The demand for SEN provision will also increase.

Age and gender

Data from 2014 based on the 2011 census reveals that the gender split in the borough is almost 50:50 - 50.6% of the population are female.

Similar to other local authorities in London, Merton has a younger population compared to England (Fig. 2.2). For both male and females, Merton has a much higher proportion of children aged 0-4 years and adults aged 24-29 years compared to England.

There has been a 29% net increase in births from 2,535 in 2002 to 3,274 births in 2014.9

The number of children (0-19 years) is forecast to increase by 2,200 (4.4%) between 2014 and 2020. The number of people aged over 65 is also forecast to increase significantly over this period, rising by over 2,100 people (9.2%). Conversely, the number of young adults aged between 25 and 35 is forecast to decrease. These trends are significant in terms of service implications, in particular for education and social care, which are explored further in other chapters of this JSNA. These demographic shifts are similar to what is happening in London as a whole, except for the decrease in the 25-35 age group.

The forecast decrease in young adults aged 25 to 35 is reflected in the age dependency ratio (the ratio between the working age and non-working age populations) in the borough. We see a decrease in the proportion of the working age population from 69% in 2011 to 67.5% in 2014. This reflects not only the fall in the number of people aged between 25 and 35, but also the increase in the younger and older residents. The reason for the fall in the 25-35 age group is not clear. It could reflect people moving away from Merton to seek work or because of the increased cost of housing in the borough.1

For ward-level age information, see the section on ward level information below.

Ethnicity

The GLA population projection data based on the 2011 Census for 2014 shows Merton’s BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) population to be 76,188 (37.1%)4compared to London (42.5%). The ethnic composition of the borough’s residents differs across age groups, for instance, 48% of the 0-19 age group are from a BAME background in 2014.4

 

Country of birth for Merton residents

For further information on country of birth data please see below:

Country of birth ward tools- http://data.london.gov.uk/census/tools/country-of-birth-ward-tool/

Country of birth by age sex ward and ethnicity- http://data.london.gov.uk/census/tools/detailed-ethnicity-ward-tool/

Country of birth by borough- http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/detailed-country-birth-2011-census-borough

Languages

The 2011 Census recorded the main language spoken by Merton residents for 190,500 of the population. English was spoken by almost 150,400 (79%) of Merton’s population. Polish is the second highest language spoken by 6,600 (3.5%) people followed by Tamil with almost 6,000 (3.1%) people.

Proficiency in English

Data from the Census 2011 highlights that 3.5% of Merton residents report that they cannot speak English well or at all, which equates to around 6,500 residents. This is likely to be a target group for ESOL. This varies by ward, with those in the east reporting higher proportion of residents who have low English language proficiency, up to a maximum of 8.1% of residents in Graveney ward.

Proficiency in English (% of people who cannot speak English well or at all) for Merton compared to London and England and by ward (Source: PHE Local Health)

There does not appear to be much variation by gender , but splitting the data by age shows that the majority of these (about 5,000 of the 6,500, or 75%) are between the ages of 16-59, i.e. the potential working age population.

Proficiency in English in Merton, by proficiency category and by gender (Source: 2011 Census, NOMIS)

Proficiency in English in Merton, by proficiency category and by age (Source: 2011 Census, NOMIS)

 

Religion and Belief 12

More than half of the Merton population are Christian (56.1%) and over a fifth have no religion (20.6%).

Family types

Merton had a total of 80,400 households in 2014, based on the GLA projections.2The average household size in Merton was 2.5 persons per household which is similar to the rest of Outer London. The most common types of household were single person households: 23,076 (29%); households with dependent children: 36,058 (45%); and couples with no dependent children: 17,053 households (21%).2

 

About a fifth of Merton’s population is single (never married), and nearly a quarter are married, with similar proportions for males and females.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) population

Statistics for the size and composition of the LGBT population in Britain remain imperfect due to the lack of robust national data. Estimates range from 0.3% to 10% depending on the measures and sources employed.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual:

The ONS has developed a sexual identity question that was included in the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) in 2012. The first results from this survey suggest that 2.5% of the London population surveyed classified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual as their sexual identity. Extrapolating the regional figures to a projected 2014 borough population of 163,300 of the 16 and over population would suggest that Merton has an LGB population of around 4,100. 13

Transgender:

Statistics for the number of people – transsexual or trans people – who feel a mismatch between sex and gender identity are difficult to come by, in part because many people experiencing this condition never seek help or services. A Scottish study in 1999 gave an estimate of around 1 in every 12,500 people may, although this may be a significant underestimate. A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1% of the population surveyed was gender variant, to some extent.14Extrapolating these figures to a projected 2014 borough population of 203,200 would suggest that Merton has a trans population of between 16 to 2,032 people.

Some trans people have treatment to make their physical appearance more consistent with their gender identity. Trans people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and this may change with treatment. Trans people's general health needs are the same as anyone else's. But trans people may have specific health needs in relation to gender dysphoria or gender reassignment, realignment or confirmation.15

Population projections

Based on GLA trend based projections Merton’s population is projected to increase by 13,245 people between 2014 and 2020. If we look at the GLA’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment-based (SHLAA) capped forecast that factors in future housing availability, it suggests an increase of 3,500 additional people living in Merton. Therefore we can say that Merton’s population is likely to grow by between 1.7% and 6.4% over this period.

Components of Population Change

Natural Population Growth

Historical data from 2004 suggest that the main driver for population change in Merton is through natural population growth (i.e., the number of births per year being significantly higher than the number of deaths), rather than migration (Fig. 2.6). This trend is set to continue although at a reduced rate with forecast data to 2020 indicating that there would be around 3,160 births and 1,190 deaths that year.10

The capped SHLAA projections were used as these numbers are linked to housing. The projections are based on housing trajectories derived from the 2013 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and constrains the population to available dwellings.

Migration

Historical data from 2004 as well as forecast data to 2020 for migration suggests that migration does not have a big impact in the number of residents in Merton (Fig. 2.11).. The GLA forecast for 2014 suggests that the overall net migration from both domestic and international sources is 333 additional people in the borough. By 2020, it is predicted that a higher number of people will move out of the borough, leading to a negative net migration forecast. GLA data predicted that there will be 254 fewer people in Merton as a result of migration for that year.

Data based on the 2011 Census shows that 38% of residents were born outside the UK with the largest proportion born in Poland.11

Changes to ethnicity

  • The ethnic composition of the borough is also forecast to change, with the proportion of people from a BAME background increasing from 37% in 2014 to 40% in 2020.4
  • The largest increases are in the Asian other, black African and black other ethnic groups.
  • The ethnic composition of the borough’s residents also differs across age groups with a forecast increase in the proportion of BAME people in the 0-19 age group from 48% in 2014 to 52% in 2020.4
  • The increase in the BAME population has implications for public health where risks for specific diseases, lifestyle risks and lower awareness of prevention services result in higher prevalence of disease amongst the BAME.

The GLA population projection data based on the 2011 Census for 2014 shows Merton’s BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) population to be 76,188 (37.1%)4 compared to London (42.5%). The distribution of ethnic groups is given below, together with comparisons with London and England.

 

Merton’s ethnic profile is forecast to change significantly by 2020. The proportion of Merton’s BAME population is expected to increase from 37% in 2014 to 40% in 2020. However, this is still lower than the forecast BAME population in 2020 for London as a whole (42.5%) and Outer London (41.4%).4

Looking at the breakdown of the BAME population, the largest increases are in Asian Other (notably Sri Lankan), Black African and Black Other groups. In Outer London, the largest growth groups are forecasted to be Indian, Asian Other and Black African.4In Outer London by 2020, the BAME population is forecast to increase by 15.5%, with Black Other (23.2%), Asian Other (21.3%) and Other Ethnic (19.7%) groups have the biggest increases.

The increase in the proportion of people from BAME groups is across all age groups. However, the proportion of younger BAME people is considerably higher than that of older people.

For ward-level ethnicity information, please see the section on ward level information below

Changes to languages spoken

The 2011 Census recorded the main language spoken by Merton residents for 190,500 of the population. English was spoken by almost 150,400 (79%) of Merton’s population. Polish is the second highest language spoken by 6,600 (3.5%) people followed by Tamil with almost 6,000 (3.1%) people.

•The School Census of Primary and Secondary schools however supports the identified languages in schools in order of greatest prevalence has changed to Tamil, Urdu and then Polish.

Projected changes to life expectancy

Life expectancy for both males and females in Merton has been increasing since 2000, in line with national trends. Figure 2.13 below shows the most recent data on life expectancy in Merton for 2010-2012 demonstrating a continuous upward trend.

 

Population breakdown by ward

Population

Wards, in particular Cricket Green, Wimbledon Village and Merton Park are forecast to see the largest increases in population between 2014 and 2020. The populations in these wards are expected to increase by 5% and over (560+ people).16

In terms of population the highest density in 2014 is in Graveney, Figge’s Marsh, and Colliers Wood wards in Merton. However, the forecast 6.8% population growth is largest in Wimbledon Village but will see it become the least most populous ward in Merton by 2020.16

Age structure at ward level

Children and Young People: The wards which show the most change in the children and young people population are Colliers Wood, Trinity and Lower Morden wards. By 2020 population growth in the 0-19 year old age group is highest in Colliers Wood (236 additional 0-19 year olds compared to 2014) followed by Trinity (231). There will be fewer 0-19 year olds living in Lower Morden compared to 2014.

Working Age Population: Wimbledon Village (431) followed by Merton Park (294) are forecasted to have the most change by 2020 in the working age population (16-64 years). This trend is driven by growth in the younger working age groups (16-44 years) living in these wards. By 2020 the forecast shows that Colliers Wood, Trinity and Graveney will have fewer people in the working age population (16-64 years) which again is reflective of trends in the younger age groups of this population. The 45-64 year old part of the working population shows the most increase by 2020 in Trinity (314), Abbey (298) and Dundonald (280) wards and the lowest increase in Canon Hill (13).

Older Population: The wards which show the most change in older population are Canon Hill, Merton Park and Ravensbury wards. The 65 years and over population are predicted by 2020 to have the highest increase in population in Canon Hill (187) and Merton Park (172). Ravensbury ward will have no increase with 15 fewer people aged 65 and over by 2020.

The age dependency ratio (the ratio between the working age and non-working age populations) is an important measure of potential economic activity. Those who are of working age have the potential to be economically active, contributing to the economy for example through income tax and sales tax, where as the majority of those under 16 or over 65 will be economically inactive and more likely to be recipients of government spending, for example healthcare, education and pensions. Increases in the age dependency ratio as a result of an ageing population has implications for the relationship between governmental income and expenditure. We have also looked at the forecast age dependency ratio for 2020 (the proportion of the working age population compared with the non-working age population). The lighter shading in Figure 2.18 below indicates a higher proportion of working age residents. There are a few wards with notable changes in the age dependency ratio between 2014 and 2020. The largest change is in Wimbledon Village, where the age dependency ratio will decrease from 116 to 106 per 100 working age population, followed by West Barnes which is predicted to have an increase in age dependency ratio from 33 to 41 per 100 working age population. Therefore there will be an increase in workers in West Barnes compared to a decrease in workers in Wimbledon Village.

  

Ethnicity at ward level

The proportion of people from BAME groups also varies significantly by ward with those wards to the east of Merton having a higher proportion of people from BAME groups. Data is not available to forecast ethnicity in 2020.

References

1^ GLA Population Projections 2013 Round, SHLAA capped, age range creator

2.^ GLA Population Projections 2013 Round, SHLAA, household projection

3. ^  GLA Population Projections 2013 Round, trend based

4.^ GLA Population Projections 2013 Round, SHLAA EGPP population

5.<^ It should be noted that the IMD has not been updated since 2010

6. ^ http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/index.html

7.^ ONS, Sub-National Population Projections (SNPP)

8.^ Merton Clinical Commissioning Group

9 ^ Births Summary tables 2014, ONS

10.^ GLA 2013-round capped SHLAA-based Population Projections.

11.^ GLA Population Projections 2013 Round, trend based, central

12.^ 2011 Census, NOMIS, Official Labour Market Statistics http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/

13.^ 2012 ONS -Integrated Household Survey

14 ^.http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Introduction.aspx

15.^ http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Transhealth/Pages/local-gender-identity-clinics.aspx

16.^ GLA 2013 round SHLAA capped ward population projections