Buckinghamshire has seen an overall higher increase in population compared to the rest of the country, new census data revealed.

The population size in the county has increased by 9.5 per cent, from around 505,300 in 2011 to 553,100 in 2021.

This sees the county ranked fifth for total population out of 309 local authority areas in England, moving up two places in a decade.

In England, the population grew by nearly 3.5 million to 56,489,800 with an increase of 6.6 percent.

Buckinghamshire's population increase is also higher than the increase for the South East which stands at 7.5 per cent.

Nearby areas like Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes have seen their populations increase by around 15.7 per cent and 15.3 per cent, while others such as Dacorum saw an increase of 7.1 per cent and Windsor and Maidenhead saw smaller growth with 6.2 per cent.

As of 2021, Buckinghamshire is the 21st least densely populated of the South East's 64 local authority areas, with around three people living on each football pitch-sized area of land.

There has also been an increase of 23.2 per cent in people aged 65 years and over, an increase of 6.4 per cent in people aged 15 to 64 years, and an increase of 7.9 per cent in children aged under 15 years.

More than 20 million households across England and Wales filled in census questionnaires in spring last year, with a record 89 per cent of responses completed online.

The census takes place across the UK every 10 years and provides the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in the country.

The ONS today published its first round of data relating to repopulation and household estimates providing information on population size and change, the age and sex of the population, how densely areas were populated and how many households there were in 2021.

Its results are used by a range of organisations including governments, councils and businesses, and underpins everything from the calculation of economic growth and unemployment to helping plan schools, health services and transport links.

Data from the 2021 census for England and Wales will be published in stages over the next two years, the ONS said.

Future releases will include figures on ethnicity, religion, the labour market, education and housing plus – for the first time – information on UK armed forces veterans, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The census was taken at a time when coronavirus restrictions were still in place across the UK, with people only allowed to leave their homes in England for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household, and the rule-of-six on outside gatherings not coming into place until the end of March.

Jen Woolford, director of health, population and methods transformation at the ONS, said: “The first census estimates are hugely important as they underpin everything from the calculation of GDP, employment, wellbeing and, (now), COVID rates. 

“They will be essential to our long-term understanding of the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic. 

“But they are, in fact, just the start of a programme  which will continue from the autumn for the next two years. These will include data on ethnicity, religion, the labour market, education and housing. 

“For the first time, they will also include information on UK armed forces veterans, sexual orientation and gender identity.”