Population and census

Facts and figures about Kent's population.

If you need help with any of the documents on this page or require any further information, please call 03000 41 74 44 or email research@kent.gov.uk.

There are currently estimated to be 1,541,900 people living within the Kent County Council area (as of 2016).

The estimated resident population of an area includes all people who usually live there, whatever their nationality. Members of UK and non-UK armed forces stationed in the UK are included and UK forces stationed outside the UK are excluded. Students are taken to be resident at their term time address.

The national census provides a population count of the whole of the UK every ten years. For the years in between, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides an annual population estimate for England and Wales down to local authority level. These estimates are known as the Mid-Year Population Estimates (MYPE) and are released at the end of June each year. Ward level population estimates, or Small Area Estimates (SAE) are released in October. SAE are not available for Parishes.

All population estimates are based on the previous census with the total number of births and inward migrants added in and the numbers of deaths and outward migrants taken away. Due to the lengthy process of calculating these estimates they are always a year behind so this year's figures will not be available until next year.

The MYPE and SAE only provide us with estimates of the total population by age and gender. They will not update any information on the characteristics of the population such as nationality, occupation or religion. Area profiles shows the socio-economic information that is available.

County and district level population counts

Of the 12 local authority districts within the Kent County Council area, Maidstone Borough is the most populated with 166,400 people. Dartford Borough is the least populated with 105,500 people.

The total population of Kent and local authority districts in Kent, along with national and regional comparisons is summarised in the Mid Year Population Estimates: Total population of Kent bulletin (PDF, 571.4 KB).

The Time series of Mid-Year Population Estimates (PDF, 517.8 KB) shows total population estimates for each local authority district in Kent from 1995 onwards.

Population estimates by five-year age and gender for each local authority district in Kent are summarised in the Mid Year Population Estimates: Age and gender profile bulletin (PDF, 1.0 MB).

Population estimates by age and gender at district level for each year since 1992 can be accessed via the interactive population estimates toolkit (XLS, 4.9 MB). This toolkit allows users to access population estimates for any chosen age group for all 12 Kent local authority districts and Kent County as a whole.

Using the toolkit

  • The toolkits are best viewed on desktop computer.
  • If prompted to enable or disable macros, please choose to enable.

Ward population counts

There are 268 electoral wards within the Kent County Council area.

The total population of all Kent wards, along with urban areas and smaller settlements in Kent is summarised in the Mid-year population estimates: Ward Level population in Kent (PDF, 758.5 KB).

View socio-economic profiles for all individual wards in Kent.

Parish population counts

There are 309 parishes within the Kent County Council area.

The only source of published parish population information is the national census. This information is summarised in the 2011 Census parish population bulletin (PDF, 452.9 KB).

Where the parish boundary matches a ward boundary or comprises other geographies such as Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) and Output Areas (OA) we may be able provide estimates of current parish populations. Please email research@kent.gov.uk for more details.

View socio-economic profiles for all individual parishes in Kent.

Population change is due to two reasons. These are births and deaths (known as natural change), and migration.

Year on year, Kent has seen more births than deaths and more people moving in to Kent than leaving. The result has been steady population growth in the county. The overall effects are presented in 'What's causing Kent's population growth?' (PDF, 635.1 KB) .

More information on each component can be found in the births and deaths bulletin (PDF, 591.5 KB) and the migration indicators bulletin (PDF, 780.7 KB) .

The number of deaths in Kent has been falling steadily over recent years due to people living longer. More information is available in our life expectancy bulletin (PDF, 667.5 KB) .

Each year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces mid-year population estimates. These are calculated using the population count from the last available census as a base then adding the number of births and inward migrants and taking away the number of deaths and outward migrants.

Analysis of Kent's total population estimates back to 1995 is available in Time series of Mid-Year Population Estimates (PDF, 698.3 KB).

The interactive population estimates toolkit (XLS, 4.9 MB) provides access to population estimates by gender and single year of age for all 12 Kent local authority districts and Kent County as a whole back to 1992. This toolkit allows users to access population estimates for any chosen age group and compare up to three separate areas in Kent at the same time.

Further information about population change is available on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website, including a quiz on levels of migration in your area and a map showing migration levels across the country.

Kent County Council Housing Led Forecasts

It is important to consider how the Kent population is going to change in the future in order to plan services. These forecasts take account of the distribution of future housing across the county rather than being a projection based on past trends. Here are the results of a housing-led forecast based on the assumption that 197,506 dwellings will be built between 2015 and 2036 in the county (Kent County Council area plus Medway Unitary Authority).

The following toolkits enable you to extract forecasts for Kent as a whole or for individual Kent districts for any time between 2011 and 2036.

How to use the toolkits

Central Government population projections

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces population projections for all regions in England. Because these projections don't take future house building programs into account, KCC prefer to use their own in-house forecasts.

However, Sub National Population Projections (PDF, 500.9 KB) are the only source of national information. We therefore use them when we want to compare Kent's future population growth alongside the national average, or other areas within England.

The forecast and projection models use different assumptions and methods and the results from the two different models can be compared in KCC Forecast v SNPP 2014 Total population comparison (PDF, 175.9 KB).

If you need help with any of the documents on this page or require any further information, please call 03000 41 74 44 or email research@kent.gov.uk.

A census is a count of all people and households in the country. Taken once every 10 years, the last census for England and Wales took place on 27 March 2011 and involved around 25 million households.

It is the only survey to provide a detailed picture of the entire population and is unique because it covers everyone at the same time and asks the same core questions everywhere. This makes it easy to compare different parts of the country.

The census is taken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the results provide population statistics from a national to neighbourhood level for use by government, local authorities and business and communities. Kent County Council uses the data collected to plan the local services needed like schools, transport, housing and health.

You can view a range of census topics for different areas in our 2011 Census Summary profiles (XLS, 2.7 MB).

Read more about the 2011 Census on the National Census Website.

Census profiles

Detailed information gathered from the 2011 Census can be found within the relevant Facts and figures pages. You can also read the 2011 Census population age and gender profile (PDF, 1.1 MB), which summarises details of the Kent population at the time of the 2011 Census.