Wakefield and health inequalities

The size of the resident population of Wakefield District is in the region of 332,000, making the District the 18th largest local authority in England and Wales.   


The Wakefield age profile shows the effect of baby-boom years of the 1950s and 1960s and greater numbers of women in older age than men. 


There will be a major shift in the population structure over the next 5 to 10 years as the proportion of the population aged over 65 increases. 


Wakefield’s age profile has smaller than average proportions of people in the late-teen, early 20s age bands.  There are 76,388 children and young people aged 0-19 living in Wakefield which is, 23.2% of the total population.


There have been annual increases in births over the last two decades and Wakefield is expected to maintain an annual birth count of just under 4000 births over the next 20 years.


In 2013 there were 161,920 male and 167,788 female residents in the Wakefield district. The difference in the numbers is more pronounced among the older age groups. For example, there were 5,395 males aged 80 and above and 9,336 females.


Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)  2015 ranks Wakefield as the 65th most deprived local authority in England (out of 326 areas). 


40,855 people in Wakefield are estimated as living in neighbourhoods that are amongst the top 10% most deprived in England; 14% of the district’s population. 


4,865 children aged 0-15 years in Wakefield are estimated as living in neighbourhoods that are amongst the top 10% most deprived in England; 13% of the district’s population in this age group.  


2,479 older people, aged 60 years and over in Wakefield are estimated as living in neighbourhoods that are amongst the top 10% most deprived in England, this is 3% of the district’s population in this age group.


Life expectancy is 9.9 years lower for men and 7.2 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Wakefield than in the least deprived areas.


Wakefield has a relatively small but growing ethnic minority population; 7.2% (23,739) of the population is from a Black or Minority Ethnic group.   The largest ethnic group in Wakefield is ‘Other White’ and the largest group born outside the UK are people born in Poland. There has also been continued immigration from South Asia, and a small but growing number of people immigrating from Africa.  Registrations for National Insurance numbers by adult overseas nationals in Wakefield shows immigration from the EU Accession states, principally from Poland, was around 1,900 registrations in 2014/15.


In 2004 only 51 of the mothers had been born outside the UK. In 2013 this number had increased to 286 mothers. The large majority of these mothers are from the new EU Accession States, e.g. Poland and Lithuania.


For just over 11,000 residents, English is not the main language spoken. At the time of the 2011 Census the most common non-English main languages were Polish (4,194 people); Punjabi (889 people); Urdu (809 people); Latvian (409 people); Lithuanian (344 people); and Kurdish (268 people).


Wakefield has higher rates of long term conditions than the national average and we estimate that there are a number of people who remain undiagnosed.  Long term conditions account for 55% of GP appointments, 68% of outpatient and A & E appointments, and 77% of in-patient bed days. 


A disproportionately large amount of its life-years is lost in the most deprived communities to chronic heart disease (CHD), lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and – particularly in men – chronic liver disease.  As the District’s population gets older, we can expect to see a 25 per cent increase in the number of people living with dementia in the next 10 years with significant implications for health and social care services;


The main population risk factors are smoking (21.9 per cent of the population), obesity (11.7 per cent) and high blood pressure (15.3 per cent).  


Social isolation and loneliness should also be taken into account as a key factor influencing quality of life, health outcomes and service demand. Being lonely has been estimated to have the same negative effect on health and wellbeing as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.


Access to health and care is not the most important determinant of health in Wakefield (poverty, inequality, education, work, family life and other determinants have a greater effect).  


Further detail about the needs of the Wakefield population is set out in our Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and can be accessed through the website http://www.wakefieldjsna.co.uk/