The latest findings from 2011 Census data have revealed that the population in rural parts of the North East increased faster than in urban parts of the region between 2001 and 2011. In all but two other English regions and Wales (Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands) the population grew faster in urban areas than in rural areas over the decade. In England and Wales overall, the urban population also grew faster (8.1%) than the rural population (6.4%).
Urban populations growing faster than rural areas
The rural population of the North East grew by 5.2% whereas the urban population grew by 2.8% (using the 2001 rural-urban classification). This was the smallest urban growth out of all regions and Wales from 2001 to 2011. Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands also had larger rural population growth over the decade. This is in contrast to London, which had the largest rise in urban population at 14.0%. The East of England had the largest rural population increase between 2001 and 2011 (8.0%) and the third largest urban population increase (8.7%).
Figure 1: Percentage growth in the usual resident population of urban and rural areas, (applying the 2011 classification to both 2001 and 2011 data)
English regions and Wales, 2001 to 2011
- Source: 2001 and 2011 Census - Office for National Statistics
Rural areas ageing faster than urban areas
From 2001 to 2011, the median age of rural areas increased more than in urban areas in England and Wales. For rural areas, the median age rose from 42 to 45, whereas the median age in urban areas increased by one year, from 36 to 37.
Eight of the 10 areas had healthier rural populations than urban populations, despite having older populations. The greatest difference was in the North West where 81.7% of the rural population reported to be of good health, compared with 79.0% in the urban areas. This is despite the fact that the median age of the rural population is seven years older than the urban population in this region.
With the exception of London, the North East was the only region that had a higher proportion of urban population reporting to have good health (77.4%) than the rural population (76.9%).
Figure 2: Percentage of usual residents with good health and usual resident median age in urban and rural areas
English regions and Wales, 2011
- Source: 2011 Census - Office for National Statistics
Where can I find out more about rural and urban statistics?
These statistics were analysed by the Local Economic and Social Analysis team at the ONS using 2011 Census data. If you’d like to find out more about the characteristics of the rural and urban population read the full article. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org