United Kingdom - Demographics


A census is taken simultaneously in all parts of the UK every ten years. The Office for National Statistics is responsible for collecting data for England and Wales, the General Register Office for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency each being responsible for censuses in their respective countries. In the 2001 census the total population of the United Kingdom was 58,789,194, the third largest in the European Union, the fifth largest in the Commonwealth and the twenty-first largest in the world. By mid-2010 this was estimated to have grown to 62,262,000. 2010 was the third successive year in which natural change contributed more to population growth than net long-term international migration. Between 2001 and 2010 the population increased by an average annual rate of 0.6 per cent. This compares to 0.3 per cent per year in the period 1991 to 2001 and 0.2 per cent in the decade 1981 to 1991. The mid-2007 population estimates revealed that, for the first time, the UK was home to more people of pensionable age than children under the age of 16. It has been estimated that the number of people aged 100 or over will rise steeply to reach over 626,000 by 2080.

England's population in mid-2010 was estimated to be 52.23 million. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 383 people resident per square kilometre in mid-2003, with a particular concentration in London and the south-east. The mid-2010 estimates put Scotland's population at 5.22 million, Wales at 3.01 million and Northern Ireland at 1.80 million, with much lower population densities than England. Compared to England's 383 inhabitants per square kilometre (990 /sq mi), the corresponding figures were 142 /km2 (370 /sq mi) for Wales, 125 /km2 (320 /sq mi) for Northern Ireland and 65 /km2 (170 /sq mi) for Scotland in mid-2003. In percentage terms Northern Ireland has had the fastest growing population of any country of the UK in each of the four years to mid-2008.

In 2009 the average total fertility rate (TFR) across the UK was 1.94 children per woman. While a rising birth rate is contributing to current population growth, it remains considerably below the 'baby boom' peak of 2.95 children per woman in 1964, below the replacement rate of 2.1, but higher than the 2001 record low of 1.63. In 2010, Scotland had the lowest TFR at only 1.75, followed by Wales at 1.98, England at 2.00, and Northern Ireland at 2.06.

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Largest urban areas of the United Kingdom
Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement

Greater London Urban Area

West Midlands Urban Area

1 Greater London Urban Area 8,278,251 London 11 Bristol Urban Area 551,066 Bristol
Greater Manchester Urban Area

West Yorkshire Urban Area

2 West Midlands Urban Area 2,284,093 Birmingham 12 Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton 461,181 Brighton
3 Greater Manchester Urban Area 2,240,230 Manchester 13 Portsmouth Urban Area 442,252 Portsmouth
4 West Yorkshire Urban Area 1,499,465 Leeds 14 Leicester Urban Area 441,213 Leicester
5 Greater Glasgow 1,199,629 Glasgow 15 Edinburgh 420,893 Edinburgh
6 Tyneside 879,996 Newcastle 16 South East Dorset conurbation 383,713 Bournemouth
7 Liverpool Urban Area 816,216 Liverpool 17 Reading/Wokingham Urban Area 369,804 Reading
8 Nottingham Urban Area 666,358 Nottingham 18 Teesside 365,323 Middlesbrough
9 Sheffield Urban Area 640,720 Sheffield 19 The Potteries Urban Area 362,403 Stoke-on-Trent
10 Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area 579,554 Belfast 20 Coventry/Bedworth Urban Area 336,452 Coventry

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