• Age structure is a key factor for planners and service providers as it affects requirements for services such as education, health, leisure, arts and sports facilities.  It influences household composition and therefore the overall size of a new development’s population.
  • People who move into new developments can have very different population characteristics to the surrounding area.
  • Initial populations tend to have a young age structure, with many young couples and young children, and very few older people.
  • Population age structures change markedly over time as developments mature, with children and adults ageing and the age structure gradually becoming older and more similar to the surrounding population.  This process may take as long as 30 years.
  • Type of tenure is important, as more children tend to live in social housing than market housing.  Building specific types of properties, such as retirement or sheltered housing, can bring specific population groups to a development which can help create a more balanced community in the initial phases.

Data about an average number of people per household, by property size and tenure, for new developments in Cambridgeshireare in a table below.

Table 18. Average number of people per household, by property size and tenure in Cambridgeshire.


Tenure1-2 beds3 beds4+ beds
Market housing1.52.63.3
Social rented housing1.73.65.4





Source: Household size multipliers for new developments, Cambridgeshire County Council Research Group October 2009. 



  • The demographic profiles available for planning new communities may lack the dimensions to plan for the diverse needs in new communities[1].  It is extremely difficult to predict the eventual diversity of the new communities.  Diversity encompasses age, experience, culture, physical and mental ability, race and background.

    [1] Building Communities that are Healthy and Well in Cambridgeshire, Cambridge City and South Cambs Improving Health Partnership with Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services (June 2008).