By Francesca James

The population of Wales has crossed the three million mark for the first time, it has been revealed today.

Attributed to births, deaths and migration, mid-year estimates of population for Wales in 2010 show the population as 3,006,400.

The statistics show there are now more people 65 or over than children under 16 for the first time ever.

The number of people in the upper age bracket has risen to 558,100 which makes up 18.6.% of the population, while the number of children fell to 548,000 (18.2% of the population).

The population has been increasing by about 10,700 a year since 2001.

There are now 76,500 people in Wales over the age of 85 (2.5% ), and due to differences in life expectancy between the sexes, women outnumber men by 2 to 1 in this age group.

The area of the country where the population has increased most since 2001 is Cardiff (up10 per cent) followed by the Vale of Glamorgan (up 4.8 per cent), whilst the biggest population decreases have been in Blaenau Gwent (2.3 per cent decrease) and Merthyr Tydfil (0.9 per cent decrease).

This information tells us how the population is changing, and is vital for ensuring services and resources are as effective and efficient as possible.

Welsh Government Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:

"This landmark number of people living in Wales is a strong testament to the beautiful country that we live in.

"I am pleased to see that our older generation are living longer, and more and more people are being attracted to the country and making their homes here."

Back in 1841, the population of Wales stood at 1.05 million. The population of Wales increased dramatically between 1841 and 1911, more than doubling to 2.42 million, as Wales played an important part in the industrial revolution.

The population growth in the 20th Century was more modest increasing by around 10 per cent between 1911 and 1961 to stand at 2.64 million. There was a further 10 per cent increase between 1961 and 2001 to 2.91 million in 2001.