# Resident Population
The population of the Peak District is 37,905 and has remained stable for the last 30 years. However, the population is ageing faster than the National rate and forecasting shows there could be a decline in the Peak District population. An associated trend with many rural areas in the UK.
# Census Statistics
On 29 April 2001 and 27 March 2011 a Census of the population of the UK was undertaken. Key statistics were produced from the results to fit the Peak District National Park boundary for the first time. Data for 1991 Census is cut to the Peak District National Park but only for key statistics such as age by Parish.
Not all Office for National Statistics data is cut to National Parks. Best fit geography is applied where data not available. Peak District National Park sits within the boundaries of nine local authority districts; Barnsley, Cheshire East, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak, Kirklees, North East Derbyshire, Oldham, Sheffield and Staffordshire Moorlands which complicates data suply and aggregation.
Data is available for the 1951 Census from the County Report for Derbyshire Census. The data were extracted from Derbyshire Parishes at the time. There are gaps as some parishes listed were not in Derbyshire or did not appear in the 1951 Census in that form.
# Resident population has largely remained stable
In 2011 there were an estimated 37,905 people living in the Peak District National Park at a density of 26.4 people per km². This was a far lower density than England as a whole where, in 2011, there were 261 people per km² respectively. The population density for all National Parks in England and Wales was 25km2 by comparison.
The estimated population of the National Park in 1991 and 2001 was 38,100 and 37,937. The difference of 163 people is likely to be due to differences in methodology (in particular the 1991 estimate compared to the 2001 actual data, and the treatment of students) rather than a decrease in population. This indicates that the number of people living in the National Park between 1991, 2001 and 2011 has remained fairly constant and that the loss of population seen between 1981 and 1991 has halted. With the Census 2021 having just taken place, the exact boundary cut data will be more valuable than ever.
MYE = Mid Year Estimates 
# The Peak District has an ageing population
The mean average age of residents in the Peak District was 45.8 (43 years, 2001). This was higher than the average of 39 years of the residents of England and Wales.
The age and gender profile of the Peak District National Park residents was very different in 2011 to that of the East Midlands and England. In comparison with England, the latest population estimates (2020) show how the Peak District has an ageing population. On average, it has a higher proportion of 45 year olds, and a lower proportion of under 45 year olds than the National Average.
PDNP, National Parks England and England proportion of population in 5 year age bands ONS 2020 Mid Year Estimates
Is this a Peak District Problem? No, this age structure composition is found in all other National Parks and a large proportion of rural areas in England. As you can see from graph above, the trends for the PDNP are the same for the England National Park Average.
When forecasting population change relating to natural change and a series of dwelling led scenarios to 2026. All scenarios excluding the Dwelling-led (95 dpa) and Dwelling-led (150 dpa) result in population decline over the plan period (2026), driven primarily by an ageing population profile. To maintain the current size in the population (as in the Zero Population Growth scenario), an additional 61 homes would be required each year.
In 2006, the Peak District National Park Authority first commissioned population, household and labour force projections for the National Park. To inform the National Park Authority in its plan-making, Edge Analytics was commissioned to update a range of demographic forecasts using the latest evidence available. The report was completed in May 2018.
The analysis has considered the latest mid-year population estimates and components of change together with official population and household projections. The ONS 2014-based sub-national population projection has been presented alongside two trend scenarios based on long-term (2001/02–2015/16) and short-term (2010/11–2015/16) migration histories. In addition, a ‘zero population’ growth and ‘net nil’ scenario have been presented to illustrate the dwelling growth implications of a stable population and balanced migration flow respectively.
Four dwelling-led scenarios have been configured to consider the estimated migration and population change associated with dwelling growth trajectories, consistent with those outlined in the previous, 2006 analysis. All scenarios have been developed using POPGROUP technology, with demographic data derived from published Local Authority, Census Ward and Output Area statistics. The research shows or predicts the following:
- Since 2010, the Peak District National Park has experienced a decline in its population, driven by reduced net migration and an ageing population profile
- Population ageing (an increasing imbalance in favour of older-age population) is a challenge that rural areas and National Park planning authorities in England and Wales are facing, and is a key consideration for future housing growth plans
- To maintain the National Park’s population at its current level, it is estimated that 61 homes would be required each year, all of which would be associated with an average annual net in-migration flow of +190 per year
- A population increase in the Peak District is only achieved on the higher dwelling led growth targets of the model (+95 to +150 per year) during the life of the plan period
# Health of residents' is broadly better than the UK
Just under a fifth of all residents in the Peak District had a limiting-long term illness, although only 11.5% of those of working age did. These figures were similar to that for the East Midlands and England.
# 7 in 10 of Peak District residents stated they had a religious affiliation
The question on religious affiliation in the census was voluntary for 2011 census. Those affiliated with the Christian religion remained by far the largest group across the national parks at 68% cent of the population (25,908), compared with 59% for England and Wales. In 2001 79% of Peak District National Park residents considered themselves to be Christian.
Only 0.9 per cent of Peak District residents' (338 people) identified themselves as belonging to ‘other’ religious groups such as Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus; whilst 23.2% of Peak District residents (2,861) had no religion (25% England & Wales), and 7.5 per cent (33,800) did not state a religion.
# 1% of Peak District residents are from minority ethnic backgrounds
The ethnic group composition of the Peak District is very different to England and Wales as a whole. 99% of the total national park population were classified as White, compared with 86% for England and Wales. Within this ethnic group, White British was the largest, with 97% of people (36,837).
Across the National Parks of England and Wales none of the non-White ethnic groups is very prevalent, and in total comprised just 2.1% of all residents (8,400 people), of whom around 41 per cent lived in the South Downs. The biggest non-White Ethnic Group was Asian/Asian British comprising just under 1 per cent of the population (3,800).
ONS: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/nationalparkmidyearpopulationestimatesexperimental ↩︎
PDNPA / EDGE Analytics Demographic Forecasts: https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0029/85619/Edge-Analytics-Peak-District-National-Park-Demographic-Forecasts-February-2018.pdf ↩︎