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Population, Housing and Infrastructure

The world’s urban population is predicted to double by 2050 and, with it, the demand for housing, infrastructure and services will rise.

So many of the services we take for granted – water, digital connectivity, energy – take huge amounts of planning to get right.

Because the systems underpinning these services are so complex, the business of making decisions about where to focus investment requires sophisticated analytical support from our researchers.

Using population data to inform infrastructure investment

The MISTRAL programme, delivered by the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC), is helping utility companies, engineers and government organisations to understand the risks and benefits of different infrastructure investment approaches.

Key to the delivery of any service is understanding how populations will change and grow, and as part of this programme CDRC researchers are producing highly detailed projections of population and household growth.

The English Future Elderly Model


The phenomena of population ageing is being seen in virtually all developed and developing nations around the world. There are many knock-on effects to population ageing, particularly in the management of the healthcare and welfare systems, as well as wider impacts on the economy as a whole.

Therefore, tools to help policy makers assess the long term impact of their decisions on the future elderly are increasingly important. Our aim has been to adapt an already established tool of this type developed at the University of Southern California (USC) – the Future Elderly Model (FEM).

Synthetic population estimation and scenario projection

High resolution geographical and sub-population projections are essential for the planning and delivery of services and urban infrastructure developments. SPENSER (a synthetic population estimation and projection model) uses dynamic microsimulation to produce projections under different, user defined scenarios.

SPENSER will make high resolution demographic forecasting accessible to stakeholders across a range of application areas, from physical infrastructure planning to health and social care spending, enabling users to run ‘what if’ scenarios and facilitating evidence based planning decisions.

Understanding Household Mobility


People move home for all kinds of reasons: to take up a new job, to up-size when they have a child or down-size when they retire, and after some kind of family event like marriage or divorce.

Understanding these patterns of household mobility is extremely important for resource allocation and policy decisions: households need roads, parks and bin collections, children need school places, and everyone needs health service provision.

What the UK population will look like by 2061 under hard, soft or no Brexit scenarios


The UK’s future Brexit strategy is not yet set in stone. Whatever path the UK chooses from here will have an impact on the future of British immigration policy – and therefore on the size of the population.

In a new study, we produced a range of population projections for the UK to the year 2061, based on assumptions about what would happen to international migration under three Brexit scenarios: no Brexit, a soft Brexit and a hard Brexit.

We found that under all of the scenarios, the UK population is projected to become more ethnically diverse and older – and that it will continue to grow, albeit at different rates.

What’s happened to UK migration since the EU referendum – in four graphs


Many of the analyses of why a majority of British voters opted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016, have pointed to a desire to control immigration as a key driving factor.

However, surveys since the referendum show fewer people are now concerned about the issue than they were before the poll.

But what has actually happened to immigration in the three years since the UK voted for Brexit? Our researchers explain in four graphs.

How and why do General Practice registers and ONS population estimates for Leeds differ?


Since the 2011 Census, data gathered concerning population estimates of Leeds through counts of people registered with GPs has largely differed with the population estimates obtained from Mid-Year Estimates (MYEs) published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The importance of large discrepancies across particular areas in Leeds has implications for many areas involving city planning such as health planning, transport planning, and election preparation. A single agreed version is highly desirable.

This project has used Geographical Information Systems and classification methods to assess where the discrepancies exist within Leeds and gave further understanding as to why these discrepancies are occurring, indicating potential recent changes in the population composition of Leeds which are unaccounted for by the MYEs.

FixMyStreet: Micro-geographies of civic engagement and neighbourhood environmental quality


Providing local environmental services, such as repairing streets and collecting rubbish are the most basic and necessary tasks of local government. Such services are commonly addressed through citizen-initiated reporting.

Research highlights the links between a good-quality local environment and good health and wellbeing of residents, with increased social capital and empowerment felt by residents.

Evidence suggests that residents in more affluent areas are more likely to report a problem. By relying on citizens to report problems more prosperous neighbourhoods could receive a higher level of service from their local council.

The project assesses where and what kind of requests for local environmental services come from.

Changing Distributions of London’s Ethnic Minority Communities


We usually find out about the changing ethnic composition of London’s neighbourhoods (and those of other places) using Census of Population data, but these are only collected every 10 years – and the last time was 2011. 

Census data record the ways in which people describe their household’s ethnicities, and these descriptions are aggregated into a dozen or so categories by the Office for National Statistics.

There are other ways of ascribing ethnicity to individuals and households. One that has been successfully developed by the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), is to examine the associations between the given and surname of an individual and their ethnicity.

Neighbourhood changes since the last census


Our research has found that unprecedented levels of neighbourhood change have occurred in almost every city centre neighbourhood since 2011.

An interactive map shows the proportion of addresses that are now occupied by households that have moved in since the start of 2011.

For example, more than half of the properties in central parts of Bristol and Liverpool are now occupied by new residents.