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The number of households in England is projected to grow from 20.2 million in 1996 to 24.0 million in 2021, an incr...
The number of households in England is projected to grow from 20.2 million in 1996 to 24.0 million in 2021, an increase of 3.8 million. The projections show increasing numbers of households in all regions. The table below summarises the projections at regional level.

Household projections: Government Office Regions


millions % change

North East1.11.2816

Yorkshire and the Humber2.12.41419

East Midlands1.72.02026

East of England2.22.72529

Greater London3.03.62122

South East3.24.12627

South West2.02.52529

West Midlands2.12.41318

North West and Merseyside2.83.11118


*Source: Projections of Households in England to 2016 ISBN 0-11-753055-7

These preliminary figures are being released in advance of the report on the household projections in order to inform planning policy. The report is expected to be completed by the summer.

The 1998 environment select committee inquiry on housing recommended that an analysis be presented with the next set of household projections to illustrate the effects of changes in the key

parameters. Such an analysis is presented below. It should be noted that the changes in household formation due to the changes in underlying assumptions are not additive.

Change in Household Formation 1996-2021 in Response to Changes in Key Parameters

Change in Household Formation (000)

Cohabiting+20% (never married)-180

+10% (previously married)

-20% (never married)+180

-10% (previously married)

Mortality*+1 year for men, 0.6 years for women+160

-0.8 years for men, -0.7 years for women-180

Marriage+15% (never married), +10% (others)-100

-15% (never married), -10% (others)+110

Fertility+0.2 in the mean number of children per woman+40

-0.2 in the mean number of children per woman-60

Net Inward+40 thousand per annum+450

Migration-40 thousand per annum-450

Divorce+10% (first marriage)+60

-10% (first marriage)-60

Interest Rates+1%-230


GDP (real+0.25%+190

per head)-0.25%-150



* Increased expectation of life at birth between 1996 and 2021 over the principal projection

Note: The demographic variations shown above are consistent with those exemplified by the Government Actuary's Department in their respective publications on the underlying national population projections and marital status projections. Where percentage changes for these variables are shown, these relate to the proportionate change in the rate for that variable and not to absolute numbers. For example, a 10% increase in the divorce rate only generates a 5% increase in the number of divorced people. The percentage changes shown for the economic variables are absolute changes.


1. The household projections are produced by a method which works down from the national level. Although work is still being undertaken to finalise the more detailed projections by household composition and age structures, the national and regional figures presented herein are robust at the level of rounding shown and are not expected to change. In line with normal practice, a report will be published when this work is completed setting out the household projections for the period 1996 to 2021 together with a full description of the methodology by which those projections are derived.

2. The household projections use the latest official national population projections published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 10 March 1998, the latest official sub- national population projections published by ONS on 3 December 1998 and the most recent marital status assumptions published by the Government Actuary's Department on 7 January 1999. They are derived by applying projected proportions of men and women in households in each age group and marital status. The projections are heavily dependent on the demographic assumptions involved. In particularly they are dependent on both internal and international migration, marital status and the continuation of past trends in household formation.

3. As with any projections there is inevitably a degree of uncertainty which increases with time. The government accepted the recommendation of the 1998 environment select committee inquiry on housing that the 1996-based household projections should be accompanied by measures of their sensitivity to changes in key parameters. The analysis presented shows the estimated variation caused to the national household projections by varying, by the amount indicated, just the parameter in question. However, many of the parameters interact with another, and the individual estimates are not additive. There are insufficient data too produce sensitivity analyses at the regional level.

4. The projections are not forecasts of what the government expects or intends to happen. They are based entirely on what might be expected to occur if previous trends continue and are heavily dependent on the demographic assumptions used. Furthermore, the projections are not an estimate of the number of additional dwellings which will have to be provided but represent just one of the factors to be taken into account when used for planning purposes.

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