Population & Place

The background

The purpose of the Population and Place Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) section is to support the work of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board by summarising key local needs, and services, and providing a series of evidence-based priorities to improve the health of the local population. It acts as a useful reference to inform high quality and co-ordinated local commissioning and provision of services shaped to the needs of their users, as well as to inform the wider council and members of the public.1

This section provides information on the underlying trends in population and the over-arching health outcomes identified in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF). It sets out the key needs and issues of the local population, and makes a series of evidence-based recommendations to improve health and wellbeing, and to reduce inequalities. Bedford Borough’s overall score for deprivation relative to all other local authorities in England (using the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation), puts it in the 4th least deprived decile. Where possible, Bedford Borough is compared to local authorities of similar deprivation (e.g. Derbyshire, Kent, Suffolk, and Reading).2

Finding the information you need

The dashboard features information that provides insight into the make-up of the population of Bedford Borough, including: age and sex; ethnicity; life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and population density.

Format: This is a Power BI dashboard, which enables you to interrogate the data and download data and charts specific to your needs. A PDF version is also available to download as an entire document.

Headlines from the 2021 Census

Between the last two censuses (held in 2011 and 2021), the population of Bedford Borough increased by 17.6%, from just under 157,500 in 2011 to a little over 185,000 in 2021. Bedford Borough is a diverse, urban community living across 28 electoral wards.

The median age reduced from 39 to 38, which is now two years lower than the median age for England.

The number of households in Bedford Borough also increased at a rate well above the England average. The number of households increased by 17.5% from 63,812 to 74,950.

Local Insight

For more information about Bedford Borough and how the people of the area live, please see the Local Insight tool. This allows you to find, explore and use a wide range of facts and figures at different geographic levels for Bedford Borough. You can generate bespoke and in depth profile reports with the confidence of using the most recently available data. Please note: this does not yet reflect the 2023 wards and ward boundaries.

A profile for Bedford Borough overall is shown below.

Coming next

Detailed analysis

This section includes further analysis of the factors that impact on the population profile and the places that they live. This information is presented in the following groups:

  • Population, which includes analysis of births and deaths, infant mortality, life expectancy and migration
  • Healthy Places. This focuses on where people live and includes: air quality, climate change, the natural environment, housing, deprivation and planning

Executive summary

A high-level summary of the major data and policy trends associated with who the people of Bedford Borough are and where they live.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, contact the Health Population Evidence and Intelligence team.


  1. Department of Health. 2011. Joint strategic needs assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategies explained. Available at: 
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/215261/dh_131733.pdf [Accessed 11 December 2020].
  2. English Indices of Deprivation 2019. [online] Available at: 
    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2019 [Accessed 18 December 2020].