1. ITV Report

More homes with no children

The trend is towards fewer traditional family homes Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

We have been given a glimpse into the future by Welsh Government statisticians who have been looking at the trends revealed by the last census in 2011 and by what's happened since then. They show that we're heading for a lot more homes with just one person living in them but with the biggest leap in homes where five or more adults but no children live.

The figures look at where current trends in Wales will lead if they continue for 25 years. The projections for homes with no children are the most striking.

  • 1 adult, no children: 401,700 in 2011, 534,300 in 2036 (+33%)
  • 2 adults, no children: 405,000 in 2011, 446,200 in 2036 (+10%)
  • 3 adults, no children: 90,500 in 2011, 88,300 in 2036 (-3%)
  • 4 adults, no children: 30,700 in 2011, 37,300 in 2036 (+22%)
  • 5+ adults, no children 9,700 in 2011, 14,800 in 2036 (+53%)

The changes in the number of homes with children will be smaller, with all but one category going up or down by less than 10%. The only exception is where one adult is living with one child, which will see a 33% increase from 49,400 to 67,100, if current trends continue.

The big increase in adults without children sharing a home is partly explained by a growth in the number of houses shared by students but a big factor is adults who would like to more on to homes of their own but cannot afford to do so. They either continue to share with other adults in the same position or live with their parents. In some parts of the UK, migration is seen as a factor increasing the number of all adult households but this is less significant in Wales, where most migration is from (and to) England.

One result is that the estimate of the number of homes that the people of Wales will live in has been adjusted downwards. It had been thought that there would be an average of 2.07 people living in each Welsh home by 2026 (compared with 2.31 in 2011). On current trends it will be 2.23 people in 2026 and 2.18 in 2036. The previous estimate was made in 2008, just before that year's financial crash. Its impact continues to affect people's long term ability to own or even rent a home of their own.

Wales remains on course for big changes in which part of the country people live. We're heading for a population of 3,262.900 in 2036, up from 3,011,400 in 2011. That's an 8% increase but the figures for counties and county boroughs vary from a 33% increase in Cardiff to a 7% drop in Blaenau Gwent. Here are the five council areas with the biggest projected increase.

  • Cardiff: 333,900 in 2011, 445,700 in 2036 (+33%)
  • Wrexham: 133,500 in 2011, 160,800 in 2036 (+20%)
  • Newport: 144,100 in 2011, 168,800 in 2036 (+17%)
  • Swansea: 234,000 in 2011, 264,100 in 2036 (+13%)
  • Carmarthenshire: 181,400 in 2011, 200,600 in 2036 (+11%)

And the five with the biggest projected drop in population.

  • Rhondda Cynon Taf: 231,800 in 2011, 231,700 in 2036 (-0%)
  • Conwy: 112,600 in 2011, 111,500 in 2036 (-1%)
  • Monmouthshire: 89,900 in 2011, 88,000 in 2036 (-2%)
  • Anglesey: 69,100 in 2011, 66,700 in 2036 (-4%)
  • Blaenau Gwent 69,200 in 2011, 64,400 in 2036 (-7%)

It's worth underlining that these figures represent the best estimate of what would happen if economic and social trends continue on their present course. Of course, a lot will happen in 25 years.