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  • Local population change and policy challenges BSPS 50th anniversary policy forum as part of the 2023 ESRC Festival of Social Science

    Celebrating 50 years of the British Society for Population Studies

    CPC-CG Director, Professor Jane Falkingham CBE, recently took part in a policy forum to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the British Society for Population Studies (BSPS) as part of this year's ESRC Festival of Social Science.

    The Centre for Population Change - Connecting Generations, in collaboration with the British Society for Population Studies, explored local population change and policy challenges in a science-meets-policy and practice event at the British Academy in London (and online).

    The forum was hosted by the new BSPS President, Professor Nicola Shelton of University College London. It provided an opportunity to explore the challenges that local population change presents for effective policy. Bringing together a range of experts, and the public, the event showcased the latest research knowledge, showed how quality data on population change is collected, and highlighted the routes to influencing public policy. The event attracted over 100 attendees, including school pupils, local councillors, and local authority practitioners.

    Professor Jane Falkingham, CPC-CG Director, drew upon her Connecting Generations research, including the 2022 Resolution Foundation Intergenerational Audit on the cost-of-living crisis and how different generations are coping; a key policy challenge. She highlighted a concerning stagnation in pay progression for cohorts born in the 1980s and 1990s, leaving younger workers vulnerable to the current financial crisis. Younger generations are also less likely to own homes by their thirties, allocating a higher percentage of their income to housing costs. There is an uneven distribution of household deprivation, exacerbated by increased living costs and reduced benefits, with younger people resorting to measures like reducing consumption, skipping meals, and relying on family and friends for support.

    Professor Tony Champion of Newcastle University reflected on how the national population is growing, ageing and diversifying. He explored how local population change is influenced by both international and internal migration, as well as by residential movement; influenced by place-related policies. He noted an urban-to-rural shift in internal migration and more Higher Education-related moves. Residential mobility has declined for most age groups, except young adults. Tony noted that predicting these changes is challenging, particularly in the post-Covid era, where demographic cycles and shocks increase complexity.

    Jen Woolford of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shared insights on the estimates of population ONS makes, including the annual mid-year population statistics by age and sex for various regions, and detailed characteristics from survey data. Jen discussed the Help Shape our Future 2018 White Paper, highlighting the ONS mission to enhance insights on population and migration through collaboration with government departments and using new and existing data sources to meet user needs. She explained how alternative data sources beyond the Census could provide more frequent, inclusive, and timely statistics, with a central role played by administrative data and consideration of uncertainty measures.

    Professor Grant Hill-Cawthorne of the House of Commons shared insights into how research is used in the UK Parliament, highlighting its critical role in shaping informed decision-making and its importance to Select Committees, MPs, Lords, and other stakeholders. He discussed the integral role played by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and the Knowledge Exchange Unit in bridging the gap between research and policy, enhancing the use of research evidence, collaborating with academia and industry, conducting horizon scanning, and training the next generation of policymakers.

    Professor Alison Park CBE of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) reflected on the issues raised in the presentations and discussion at the event, emphasising the importance of data, place, and policy relevance to the aims of the ESRC. She highlighted the continuing importance of ESRC funding quality research, praising the demographic research being undertaken in the UK and itís alignment with the ESRC's aims.

    Access the presentation slides 'Local population change and policy challenges'.

    Click below to watch the recording.

    Find out about our upcoming events by visiting our Events calendar.

    Posted 16/11/2023 11:26