Posted: Thu 27th Jul 2023

Why are younger people leaving Wales? MPs launch inquiry into population change in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jul 27th, 2023

The shifting demographics of Wales, marked by slowing population growth and an exodus of young people, have sparked a major inquiry by MP’s

The investigation by the Welsh Affairs Committee seeks to shed light on these critical trends and their far-reaching implications for Wales’ economy, labour market, and public services.

According to recent data, population growth in Wales has significantly decelerated.

The period from 2001 to 2011 saw a growth of 5.5%, but this slowed to a mere 1.4% between 2011 and 2021.

This sluggish pace is further underscored by the decline in the number of 15 to 64-year-olds, falling by 2.5% over the past decade.

Stephen Crabb, Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee, voiced concern over these trends.

“The population of Wales is changing. Growth is slowing overall, while some areas such as Ceredigion are seeing an outright decline in residents,” Crabb stated.

He further pointed out the only areas experiencing an increase in working-age people were Cardiff, Newport, and Bridgend.

The Committee aims to discern why younger people appear to be leaving Wales, particularly from areas that are traditionally Welsh-speaking.

Areas like Ceredigion and Gwynedd, Welsh-speaking heartlands, along with regions such as Blaenau Gwent, have reported lower populations in 2021 compared to 2011.

The inquiry will explore the underlying drivers of these demographic shifts, the impacts on public services like housing, education and healthcare, and how the Government can address the challenges brought on by these changes.

Central to this investigation is the decrease in the number of economically active people in Wales, and how this can be reversed.

The Committee will also explore how Wales can encourage skilled migrants to fill labour shortages and how immigration targets can better reflect Wales’ social and economic needs.

Crabb concluded, “Our Committee wants to shine a spotlight on these trends and ask what they mean for Wales.” The Welsh Affairs Committee invites written submissions by Friday, 22 September, to better understand and address the issues arising from these demographic changes.

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