JSNA Demography

JSNA 2021 Demography Summary Report

This summary report presents the key demographic data and trends across the Isle of Wight. The data presented focuses on:

  • age structure of our population and future projections,
  • socio-demographic and protective characteristics of our population,
  • deprivation.

Measures of mortality and morbidity; life expectancy and healthy life expectancy are also discussed to provide an overall measure of population health.

The data in this report can be explored further for areas such as Clinical Commissioning Groups and Primary Care Networks using the JSNA 2021 demography data report.

Understanding how the population structure on the Isle of Wight has changed over time is important. This information can help explain the population patterns and trends we see now which influence our health. This short animation shows our changing and ageing population structure. It shows data from the first census in 1861 to the population reported in the 2021 census. The solid bars represent the Isle of Wight population, and the lines are England and Wales population for comparison.   

Resident Population of the Isle of Wight

Age and sex structure of the resident population.

The population of the Isle of Wight is estimated to be 142,296 people. There are slightly more females (51%) than males. Compared to England, the Island has an older population structure. It has a greater proportion of the population aged 50 years and over, and a lower proportion of working age, 20 to 44 years.

  • Young people (aged 0 to 19 years) make up 19.1% of the population compared to 23.6% in England as a whole.
  • The Island has fewer young working-age people (aged 20 to 44 years) compared to England; 23.6% compared to 32.3%.
  • Older people, aged 70 years and over, make up 21.4% of the population compared to 13.6% nationally.
  • 1.4% are in the ‘oldest old’ over 90 years population age group compared to 0.9% in England.

Figure 1: Isle of Wight resident population age and sex structure compared to England

JSNA Population Pyramid IW and England 2020

Resident population change

The Island’s population is expected to increase by 5.6% from 2020 to 2030, this equates to an increase of 8,000 people.

Looking forward, the ageing of the Island’s population is set to continue with projections suggesting that by 2030 almost 34.5% of the population will be aged 65 or older, 17.3% aged 75 or older and 4.9% aged 85 or older.

The proportion of the 85 years and over population is expected to increase from 5,378 to 7,358 people by 2030 – an increase of 36.8%.

Figure 2: Population projections for the Isle of Wight 2020 to 2030

JSNA population pyramid IW 2020 and 2030

Population density

Population density is the number of people living in an area. The Isle of Wight’s population density is lower than that of England. It has 374 people per square kilometre compared to 434 per square kilometre in England. Population density varies greatly across the Island. Higher population density is generally correlated to the rural/urban classification of the area.

Indices of Deprivation

The Island is the 80th most deprived authority in England (out of 317) according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019. However, there are pockets within the Island that fall within the most deprived areas in the country, namely Pan and Osborne.

Two supplementary indices are produced alongside the income deprivation domain which explore income deprivation specifically affecting children (0 to 15 years) (IDACI), and older people (aged 60 years and over) (IDAOPI).

  • IDACI ranks six areas on the Island within the 10% most deprived areas in England.
  • IDAOPI ranks no areas on the Island within the 10% most deprived areas in England.

Protected Characteristics

The 2021 Census is the most robust source of information about the protected characteristics for the country, recently updated from the last Census. 

Ethnic minority groups

The Island’s population is less diverse than England as a whole, with 97.0% of residents describing themselves as belonging to White ethnic groups compared to the national average of 81.0%. The diversity of the area’s population is increasing. In 2021, 3.0% of the population described themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority group, up from 2.7% in the previous Census. 


To understand the level of disability in our population the responses from the 2021 Census question were analysed. It asked "Do you have any long-term illness, health problems or disability which limits your daily activities or work you can do?"

Across the Island, 78.7% of people reported that they did not have any long-term illnesses which limited their daily activities or work. This is lower than the national average of 82.3%.

The percentage of people who said they had a long-term health problem or disability which limited their day-to-day activities a lot was 8.8%, compared to 7.5% nationally. This varied across the Island from its lowest at 5.0% in Carisbrooke East to the highest at 14.7% in Sandown North.

Religion or belief

The 2021 Census reports that slightly under half of Isle of Wight residents (49.6%) stated they had a religion, down from 62.2% in 2011; 43.9% no religion (up from 29.6% in 2011) and 6.5% did not say.

Of those who stated they had a religion; Christianity was the dominant religion with 47.7% of Island residents reporting to be Christian. 0.4% reported Muslim as their religion; 0.4% Buddhist; 0.2% Hindu; and 0.1% Jewish.

Marriage and civil partnership

2021 Census data reported that under half of Isle of Wight residents (46.4%) were either married or in a registered civil partnership; 31.0% single; 12.0% divorced or civil partnership dissolved; 2.5% separated but still legally married or still legally in a civil partnership; and 8.2% widowed or a surviving partner from a same sex civil partnership.

Pregnancy and maternity

Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious pregnancy-related health problems. These include complications during labour and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, low birthweight and sudden unexpected death in infancy.

Smoking in pregnancy has well known detrimental effects for the growth and development of the baby and health of the mother. On average, smokers have more complications during pregnancy and labour, including bleeding during pregnancy, placental abruption and premature rupture of membranes.

Recent data for the financial year 2020/21 suggest that on the Island, 13.5% of mothers (131 mothers) were known to be smokers at the time of delivery.

On the Island, trend data shows that since 2010/11 the percentage of mothers smoking has decreased but still remains significantly higher than England.

Life Expectancy and Healthy Life Expectancy

Overall, the Isle of Wight’s population health is similar than England. A boy born on the Island today will live on average for 79.6 years, just slightly longer than the average for England at 79.4 years. A girl born on the Island today will live on average for 83.4 years, slightly longer than the average for England at 83.1 years. Across the Island, life expectancy for males and females has been generally steady over time, see figure 3 and 4.

Figure 3 and 4: Trend in life expectancy for Isle of Wight males and females

Life Expectancy at birth for IW males
Life Expectancy at birth for IW females

Life expectancy varies with deprivation and is a key high level inequalities outcome measure. Males born and living in the most deprived areas of the Island could expect to live 6.1 years less than those in the least deprived areas. Whilst females born and living in the most deprived areas of the Island could expect to live 2.3 years less than those in the least deprived areas.

Figure 5 and 6: Trend in inequality between most and least deprived deciles of the IW for males and females

Male inequality of most and least deprived deciles
Female inequality of most / least deprived deciles

Healthy life expectancy shows the years a person can expect to live in good health (rather than with a disability or in poor health). It is therefore a significant measure of a person's quality of life.

Life expectancy estimates show females live for longer compared to men, but they also live with poor health for longer too. Male healthy life expectancy is 61.8 years, indicating an additional 18 years are spent in poor health. Female healthy life expectancy is 62.6 years, indicating 21 years are spent in poor health, see figures 7 and 8.

Figure 7 and 8: Trend in healthy life expectancy for Isle of Wight males and females

Healthy life expectancy for Isle of Wight males
Healthy life expectancy for Isle of Wight females

Inequalities in healthy life expectancy are evident, with those living in the most deprived areas living a smaller proportion of their lives in good health. Males and females living in the most deprived areas of the Island live in poor health for 10.3 years and 7.5 years longer respectively, compared to those living in the least deprived areas.