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Regional Profiles - Population and Migration - North West, March 2013

Released: 01 March 2013 Download PDF

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Projected population growth, 2011 to 2021

Projected population growth between 2011 and 2021 slowest in North West
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. 2011 to 2021 figures are interim 2011-based projections

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The population of the North West is projected to grow more slowly than any other region in England.

The total population was 7.0 million in mid-2011, 13% of the population of England − the third largest English region. In the period 2001 to 2011 the population of the North West grew 4.2%, the second lowest growth of all English regions. Within the region Manchester local authority (LA) in Greater Manchester showed the largest increase in population at 18.9%. The populations of local authorities Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and Knowsley in Merseyside decreased by 4.0% and 3.5% respectively.

Interim projections based on the mid-2011 population estimates show that the North West population could grow to 7.4 million in 2021. This represents a projected increase of 4.4%, around half the projected rate of increase in England (8.6%).

There was net migration to the region of just over 17,000 people in 2010. This resulted from net international migration of 23,000 and net interregional migration of -6,000. That is, 6,000 more people moved out of the region to other parts of the UK than arrived from other regions.

The North West has the second highest population density in England with 500 people per sq km in 2011, a tenth of the density of London at 5,200. Within the North West the population density varied substantially, ranging from 25 people per sq km in Eden LA in Cumbria, to 4,350 people per sq km in Manchester.

The proportion of the population aged 65 and over, at 16.7% in mid-2011, was close to that for England as a whole (16.4%). For the North West this proportion is projected to increase to 19.3% in 2021, slightly above the figure for England (18.7%).

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes and sources:

    The data section of this release (454.5 Kb Excel sheet) provides more Population and Migration data. Office for National Statistics is the source for the data.

    Population estimates and projections are based on the 2011 Census. The mid-2011 population estimates are those published on 25 September 2012 and the interim 2011-based subnational population projections were published on 28 September 2012.

    Migration data are for calendar years. The latest calendar year for which both interregional and international migration are available is 2010. Interregional migration data were published on 17 October 2011 and international migration data were published on 24 November 2011. An interactive map of Internal Migration in England and Wales by Local Authority allows you to view ONS migration estimates for England & Wales as a ‘flow map’ drawing lines on the map to represent movements of migrants between areas of the country. The map requires a web browser capable of supporting HTML5 content – for example, Internet Explorer 9+, Firefox, Chrome, Safar and iOS5+/Android3+ mobile devices.

    The 2011 Census provides a wealth of information for local areas. In particular you may be interested in:

    2001 vs 2011 – Population and Age interactive map allows you to find your area’s average age, population density and more

    2011 Census area comparison tool – interactive tool allows the comparison of any 2 areas in England and Wales using 2011 Census population estimates and also provides a visual summary of change since 2001. Note – Requires Adobe Flash v10 or above

    Census population and change - interactive map allows you to find the population density and change in population in your area since 2001

  2. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:
  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Regional Trends, No. 43 - Portrait of the North West, 2011 Edition (Pdf 1392Kb) - The Portrait of the North West presents a wide range of data giving an overview of what it is like to live or work in the North West. The article provides a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the region. It includes information for districts, unitary and local authorities which allows comparison between the various areas and the rest of the UK.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.