12 June 2023
The Government has released its first annual report on the common population policy with
the overarching aim of balancing the needs of Jersey’s current population with the future
needs of Islanders’ children and grandchildren.
While the 2021 Census data showed a lower-than-expected total population of 103,267,
the details laid bare the extent of the Island’s future serious demographic challenges. A
sizeable proportion of Islanders are due to reach pension age in the next few years, with
fewer younger Islanders in the workforce to support the economy.
Economic growth would have fallen in recent years were it not for ongoing inward
migration and the report estimates that, under current economic conditions, a hypothetical
‘2040 scenario Jersey’ would require a population of around 150,000 just to maintain
current standards of living. Ministers have made it clear that they will not accept this
situation and are setting out positive actions to address this challenge.
Themes set out in the policy to support the Island’s future prosperity, without undue
reliance on inward migration, include:
Develop a sustainable economy: Drive sustainable and high-value growth that
complements Jersey’s unique features, build up a skilled workforce fit for the future and
create responsive migration controls that flex to support the Island’s needs.
Plan for the changing demographic: Maximise the potential of all who live here through
supporting parents, people with health conditions and older people to stay economically
active, take prompt advantage of new technologies - including automation and artificial
intelligence - to improve productivity and remove low value work, and improve our use of
local data to better plan for our future needs.
Promote equity: Ensure that people arriving in Jersey for the first time feel welcomed and
understand local laws and services, review the need for and impact of housing controls
and take active steps to foster an inclusive, attractive and vibrant community where people
feel respected and able to flourish, as well as being safe and protected.
Population issues affect nations all around the world, with increasing populations putting
pressure on natural, economic, and infrastructure resources. What is less appreciated,
though, is the negative impacts of an unmanaged decrease to a population where
shrinking workforces result in limited resources available to support public services.
Jersey could see change in either direction and Ministers are developing a Future
Economy Programme to help steer Jersey through the coming years of global uncertainty
– plotting a course that allows for a future where technology steps in to support a forward
looking, economically successful and inclusive community. This will help to significantly
reduce the need for inward migration and could encourage more younger Islanders to stay
in the Island or to return to where they grew up.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Deputy Kirsten
Morel, will be leading the Future Economy Programme and will be supported by the
Island’s chief economic advisor, Tom Holvey.
On releasing the report, the Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore said:
“The Council of Ministers believes that we need to address our demographic challenges
with positive and realistic solutions. This requires long-term thinking, rather than making
“We need to provide a healthy, supportive and sustainable environment and economy to
enable all those who wish to contribute to Island life to do so to the best of their abilities.
“This will include a well-planned economic programme that gets us ahead of the curve on
the challenges of an ageing population profile. More than that, we want to improve
standards of living for all by providing a vibrant and inclusive community which promotes
equity, supports existing Islanders in maintaining their future in Jersey, and welcomes and
integrates the new Islanders that are vital to our ongoing prosperity.
“We are all part of the community that makes Jersey a wonderful place to live. We will all
need to work together as an Island – government, businesses and individuals – if we are
to develop sustainable growth which will allow us to enhance the living standards and
quality of life for all so that everyone can thrive.”