Box sets » Labour market » Population and migration

Chart 4.A: Projected old-age dependency ratios in advanced economies
The populations of most advanced economies are ageing, placing new demands on these countries' public finances. This box explored why the UK population is forecast to age slower than most advanced economies over the next fifty years.
The new immigration system
The Government announced plans for a new 'points based' immigration system set to come into place in 2021 that will align migration policy for EU and non-EU migrants. In this box, we considered the impacts of this new system on the outlook for potential output growth.
The effect of the new migration regime on our fiscal forecast
In February 2020, the Government announced its intention to introduce a ‘points-based’ migration system from January 2021 that will align migration policy for EU and non-EU migrants. In this box we looked at the effect of the new migration regime on our borrowing forecast.

Economy categories: Population and migration

Fiscal categories: Welfare spending, National Insurance Contributions, Income tax

Cross-cutting categories: Brexit and the EU

Period and cohort measures of fertility and mortality
The population projections used to produce our long-term fiscal projections are underpinned by projections for age-specific fertility and mortality rates. In this box we considered two different ways of summarising trends in these rates - period and cohort metrics - and discussed their relative advantages.

Economy categories: Labour market, Population and migration

Cross-cutting categories: Ageing population, Demographics

Demographics of the constituent nations of the UK
This box looked at differences in the Office for National Statistics’ population projections for the four constituent nations of the UK. It discussed the nations’ relative size and ageing, and possible implications for fiscal sustainability.

Economy categories: Labour market, Population and migration

Cross-cutting categories: Demographics, Devolution, Ageing population

Post-referendum forecast judgements
In the November 2016 EFO we made a number of judgements about how the vote to leave the EU would effect the economy in the near-term. This box from our March 2018 EFO compared these judgements against the outturn data that we had received since then, finding that most of these judgements were broadly on track.
New UK population projections
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published new UK population projections in October 2017, based on 2016 population estimates and updated assumptions for fertility, mortality and net migration. This box compared the latest projections with the previous 2014-based principal projections that underpinned our March 2017 forecast and summarised their effects on our November 2017 fiscal forecast.

Economy categories: Population and migration, Labour market

Fiscal categories: State pension, Welfare spending

Cross-cutting categories: Pensions, Demographics

Other cost pressures in the health sector
Over the past four decades, health spending in the UK rose faster than GDP (on average in real terms) and it increased steadily in real per capita terms. Demographic change alone could have not explained these rising trends, with other factors expected to provide further upward pressures on health spending. This box summarised the key findings of our WP No. 9 that reviewed the latest evidence on demographic and non-demographic determinants of health spending in the UK and its implications for our long-term health spending projections.
In our November 2016 forecast, our first following the June 2016 referendum, we revised down our potential growth forecast, primarily reflecting the effect of weaker business investment on productivity growth. To give some context to our central forecast judgements, this box outlined a number of channels through which the decision to leave the EU could affect potential output and the uncertainty associated with estimating these effects.
Age-related spending projections in Europe
Our 2015 long-term fiscal projections suggested that, if left unaddressed, the public sector finances would have come under increasing pressure over the next 50 years due to rising age-related expenditure. This box compared our long-term age related spending projections with projections from the Ageing Working Group (2015) for the EU countries between 2020 and 2060.
Drivers of rising health spending
Health spending rose faster than GDP in almost all European countries over the past decade. This box investigated most notable long-term drivers of real spending on health care: demographic effects, income effects and other cost pressures.
Cohort effects in the age structure of the population
In our 2014 Welfare trends report, Chapter 3 reviewed the drivers of welfare spending. In this box we showed how the age structure of the population in England and Wales had evolved between the census years of 1951, 1981 and 2011. The post-war and 1960s baby-boom generations affect the dependency ratio in different ways over time, as these larger cohorts move from childhood to working adulthood and into retirement.

Economy categories: Labour market, Population and migration

Cross-cutting categories: Demographics

The evolution of population projections since 1955
Population projections are subject to significant uncertainty, particularly over very long time horizons. This box outlined the error in successive population projections and the sources of error.

Economy categories: Labour market, Population and migration

Cross-cutting categories: Forecast process, Demographics

In Annex A of our 2013 Fiscal sustainability report, we reviewed the assumptions that we make about the fiscal effects of net migration. In this box from our 2014 Fiscal sustainability report we summarised the migration-related issues that we consider explicitly in our long-term projections, those that are implicit in the material we use to produce them, and, importantly, those issues we do not consider – either because of our modelling techniques or because they fall outside the remit that Parliament has set the OBR.
The ONS updates its population projections every two years based on mid‑year population estimates but every ten years it can draw on the latest census results. Census 2011 suggested that there were around half a million more people in the UK in 2011 than assumed in the population projections at the time, among other compositional changes. This box outlined some of the key findings from the census data and the impact this might have on our future projections.

Economy categories: Labour market, Population and migration

Cross-cutting categories: Demographics

Net migration is an important source of growth in the working-age population. It therefore influences the economy’s trend growth rate by affecting potential labour supply growth. In this box in our first full Economic and fiscal outlook in November 2010, we considered how changes in migrant employment and productivity could affect whole economy employment and productivity.