BASINGSTOKE and Deane has seen the sharpest rise in population of all the district council areas in Hampshire over a 10-year period.
Statistics from the 2011 Census show the number of people living in the borough stood at 167,800 in 2011 – a 9.2 per cent increase on the number of residents here when the 2001 Census was conducted.
All 11 district councils saw an increase in population over the last decade.
Winchester saw an eight per cent rise in population to 116,595, while the smallest growth was in Fareham at only three per cent.
The 2011 Census also revealed that a quarter of households in the Hampshire County Council area are pensioners – and more than half live alone. Figures show 23 per cent of households across the county are occupied by people of bus pass age.
The number of adults aged over 65 increased by 21 per cent over the decade between 2001 and 2011 as the post-war baby boomers reached pensionable age. Some 18 per cent of the population is now aged 65-plus compared to the national average of 16 per cent.
The New Forest, a popular retirement area, has the largest concentration of older people in the county. A quarter of the population are pensioners.
Across the county, there were 34,000 pensioners aged over 85, up 35 per cent since 2001 – highlighting just how big the challenge health and social services face in caring for the elderly.
The data, released by the Office of National Statistics, also shows fewer people can afford their own homes, resulting in greater numbers being forced to rent.
Home ownership has dropped from 76.5 per cent of households in 2001 to 71.5 per cent in 2011.
Winchester, which has large areas of countryside, is the least crowded district in the county at 1.8 people for every hectare compared to 32.6 for Gosport, the most densely-populated.
The number of people with degree-level qualifications has increased to 30 per cent, now far outstripping those with no qualifications at all – 19 per cent.
Hampshire County Council leader Councillor Ken Thornber said: “The 2011 Census results offer a fascinating window into how the population of Hampshire is changing, and there are implications for all the services the county council provides.”
Cllr Thornber said the results are being analysed in detail to help target public services to where they were most needed.
The figures relate to Hampshire County Council and 11 district councils only, and exclude Portsmouth and Southampton, which are unitary authorities.