What are the challenges facing Jersey?

As the community plans for Jersey’s future, there are emerging global trends that will change the Island as it is today.

A rapidly ageing population

There will be about 11,000 more pensioners in Jersey by 2035. The number of over-85s will more than double. This will drive up the cost of health and social care. Over-65s typically require four times more health care than an average adult. Cases of dementia are projected to increase by 64% by 2025. Our home-grown workforce will shrink as more people retire than leave school.

 An increase in preventable health conditions

Jersey is heading towards an unhealthy and costly future if more Islanders develop chronic but preventable diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. On current trends, for example, nearly one in eight Islanders could have diabetes by 2020. New medicines and technology improve treatment but increase costs. Economic participation, productivity and earnings are also impacted.

Climate change 

Jersey is already seeing rising sea-levels and more severe weather events. Apart from an increased risk of flooding and storm damage, changing weather will pose risks to public health, water supplies, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity. New pests and diseases will emerge. Investing in climate resilience is key to protecting Islanders' future wellbeing and securing business confidence.

Changing technology 

Places that adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age will be best placed to prosper. Technology will change the types of jobs that are on offer in Jersey, and the skills needed in areas, such as finance, agriculture and tourism. Without embracing digital opportunities, it might not be possible to protect existing businesses and jobs, or create new ones. 

Growing competition for business, investment and talent

By 2030, 82% of people in the developed world are expected to live in urban areas. Cities offer the jobs and lifestyle many young, skilled workers want. Jersey will face increasing competition for the talent, business and investment it needs. Persuading young Islanders not to head to the big city lights - or attracting others to take their place - will get harder, but more important.

The bottom line

These emerging challenges will make it harder to balance income and expenditure.

Today, health, social care and social security account for nearly 60% of spending on Jersey's public services. An increase in chronic health conditions and 70% more pensioners will significantly increase this expenditure over the next 20 years.

At the same time, a shrinking working age population would mean fewer workers to fun this spending.

There are no easy answers

Government cannot keep pace with increasing costs by simply making services more efficient. Re-thinking what government does, and how it operates, will be key if Jersey is to maintain the services that have the most impact on Islanders' quality of life.

Businesses and talent are highly mobile in today's world and will leave if their aspirations can be better met elsewhere. Tax policy must be fair and competitive, and not risk triggering a downward economic spiral that compromises Jersey's capacity to meet the costly challenges of the future.

Population policy is not a number

Many other governments see inward migration as a solution because it replenishes an ageing workforce, supports economic growth and sustains tax revenue. Many Islanders are concerned, however, that population growth will erode the social and environmental qualities that make Jersey special. 

Jersey must find a way of navigating these challenges. Population policy should be the sum of many parts and should support the balance between community, environment and economy within the vision. For example:

  • How can the skills of Jersey’s workforce and productivity be improved, to help address future demand for migrant labour?
  • How can Jersey's green space be preserved and traffic congestion reduced, while increasing satisfaction with housing and accommodating any required population?





Crime, education, discrimination, mental health and sport - find out more about the long-term ambitions being proposed for these areas of community life in Jersey.

Read more > >

Interested in the long-term ambitions being proposed to improve traffic congestion in Jersey? How about water quality, the protection of green space and energy use?

Read more > >

Migration, the cost of buying a home, consumer prices and unemployment – there are proposed long-term ambitions for each of these economic issues.

Read more > >
My Jersey survey

The My Jersey survey gathered views on three areas, community, environment and economy, and asked how you think Jersey is performing today and where the Island should be in 20 years' time.

View survey results >