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. Central Bedfordshire’s overall score for deprivation (using the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation) relative to all other local authorities in England, puts it in the least deprived decile. Where possible, Central Bedfordshire is compared to local authorities of similar deprivation. These are: Bath and North East Somerset, Bracknell Forest, Buckinghamshire, Isles of Scilly, Kingston upon Thames, Oxfordshire, Richmond up Thames, Rutland, South Gloucestershire, Surrey, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham and York).

Finding the information you need

The dashboard features information that provides insight into the make-up of the population of Central Bedfordshire, including on: 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 Central Bedfordshire increased by 15.7%, from just under 254,400 in 2011 to around 294,300 in 2021.

The population in Central Bedfordshire increased by a greater percentage than the overall population of the East of England (8.3%), and by a greater percentage than the overall population of England (up 6.6% since the 2011 Census).

In 2021, Central Bedfordshire was home to around 2.9 people per football pitch-sized piece of land, compared with 2.5 in 2011. It was among the lowest 40% of English local authority areas for population density at the last census.

Local Insight

For more information about Central Bedfordshire 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 Central Bedfordshire. 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.

Coming next

Detailed analysis

This section will include 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 Central Bedfordshire are and where they live.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, contact the Population Health 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].