The population of the UK on census day, 27 March 2011, was 63.2 million; the largest it had ever been.
The estimated population of England was 53.0 million people, 5.3 million people in Scotland, 3.1 million people in Wales and 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland. Further details of UK population estimates accompanied the first release of UK population statistics published on 17 December 2012.
The number of households in the UK on census day was 26.4 million.
There were 22.1 million households in England, 2.4 million households in Scotland, 1.3 million in Wales and 0.7 million in Northern Ireland.
The number of people living in households in the UK on census day was 62.1 million.
The average household size in the UK was 2.3 people per household, compared to 2.4 in 2001.
The number of people living in households in the UK increased by 7.5 per cent since 2001, whilst the number of households has increased by 8 per cent resulting in a decrease in average household size for the UK.
Two people households accounted for the largest number of households in the UK, at 9.0 million households (34 per cent of all households with usual residents).
The average UK population density was 261 people per square kilometre; an increase of 7 per cent since 2001 when it was 244 people per square kilometre.
In England the average population density was 407 people per square kilometre, in Wales it was 148 people, in Northern Ireland 134 people and in Scotland 68 people per square kilometre.
The statistics released today are further results from the 2011 Censuses of the United Kingdom (UK).
These statistics follow the release of the population estimates for the UK, which were published on 17 December 2012.
This bulletin describes key features of the household estimates for the UK and its constituent countries, and provides information on average household size and the number of people in households, and how these have changed over time. Information on UK population density is also provided.
Censuses were undertaken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in England and Wales, National Records of Scotland (NRS), and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The 2011 Census data for the UK are based on the combined results of these individual censuses, which were all held on 27 March 2011. The 2011 Census outputs for the UK are delivered by the Office for National Statistics.Back to table of contents
The statistics released today build on the first phase of results, 2011 Census: Population Estimates for the United Kingdom, 27 March 2011 (rounded to the nearest thousand), which was published on 17 December 2012.
Today’s release provides estimates for the UK, its constituent countries and all local authorities or their equivalents of the usually resident population by five-year age bands and sex (with Scotland data and UK totals rounded to the nearest hundred), along with household estimates (with Scotland data and UK totals rounded to the nearest ten) on census day, 27 March 2011.
As part of this release, reference tables which accompanied the first phase of UK results have been re-issued with this lower level of rounding.
Additional tables are also now available, giving household estimates at UK, country and local authority level.
The publication of these data coincides with Scotland's Release 1B of 2011 Census statistics, also published today, 21 March 2013.
It should be noted that when local authorities (or equivalents) are mentioned throughout the bulletin this refers to local authorities in England and Wales, council areas in Scotland and local government districts in Northern Ireland.Back to table of contents
The next release of UK 2011 Census statistics will provide unrounded population estimates by single year of age and sex for the UK, its constituent countries and local authorities.
An outline of the timetable for subsequent UK releases has been published via the ONS Census Prospectus (754.4 Kb Pdf).
Due to the breadth and depth of census data, results from the 2011 Census are being released in stages. Subsequent releases of UK census data will be available as soon as all constituent country data are available.Back to table of contents
2011 Census data for England and Wales and Northern Ireland have been published in the Key and Quick Statistics products. For England and Wales these are Key Statistics for Local Authorities and Key Statistics and Quick Statistics for Wards and Output Areas, and for Northern Ireland Key Statistics and Quick Statistics.
There will be further releases of data from the 2011 Census; information is available online in the 2011 Census prospectuses for each country: England and Wales (754.4 Kb Pdf), Scotland and Northern Ireland.Back to table of contents
Number of households
On census day, 27 March 2011, 98 per cent of usual residents were living in households (62.1 million), with 2 per cent living in communal establishments (1.1 million).
There were 26.4 million households in the UK with at least one usual resident in 2011, compared to 24.5 million households in 2001, an increase of 8 per cent.
The number of people living in households in the UK has increased by 7.5 per cent since 2001.
Table 1 shows that for each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the proportionate growth in the number of households has exceeded population growth, whereas in England the proportionate increase in the number of households has been in line with population growth.
Table 1: Number of usual residents in households and number of households, with percentage change
|United Kingdom and constituent countries, 2001 - 2011, Usual residents in households, households|
|People living in households||Number of households|
|2001||2011||Percentage change (2001 - 2011)||2001||2011||Percentage change (2001 - 2011)|
|1. The number of households is the number of households with at least one usual resident.|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
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Between 2001 and 2011, the proportionate growth of number of households was greatest in Northern Ireland at 12.2 per cent, with the smallest increase in Wales at 7.7 per cent.
Figure 1 shows the number of households in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on 27 March 2011.
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With 62.1 million usual residents living in 26.4 million households in the UK in 2011, the resulting average household size was 2.3 people per household.
Figure 2 shows that Wales had the same average household size of 2.3 people per household as the UK average, both Northern Ireland and England were above the UK average, and Scotland below.
Figure 2: Average household size
Constituent countries of the United Kingdom, 2011, persons per household
Source: Census - Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
- Average household size is calculated as the total number of residents in households divided by the total number of households with at least one usual resident. This measure excludes residents in communal establishments.
In 2001 the UK average household size was 2.4 people per household.
Between 2001 and 2011, the average household size decreased in all countries except England. The largest decrease was in Northern Ireland where it fell from 2.6 people per household in 2001 to 2.5 in 2011. This was driven by a larger increase in the number of households (12 per cent) than in the number of people (8 per cent).
In 1961 the average household size for the UK was 3.0 people per household. Between 1961 and 2001 the average UK household size decreased steadily to 2.4, but it has fallen less rapidly between 2001 and 2011.Back to table of contents
In 2011, two people households in the UK accounted for the largest number of households (9.0 million), followed by one person households (8.1 million).
These were both substantially higher than households of three (4.1 million), four (3.4 million) and five or more people (1.8 million).
Average household sizes have shown a declining trend over the last fifty years. The number of households is increasing more rapidly than the number of people, which means that household sizes are getting smaller. Figure 3 shows that the percentage of smaller household sizes in the UK has increased, whilst the percentage of larger households has seen a general decline.
In 1961, 13 per cent of households contained only one person, compared with 31 per cent in 2011.
Households containing five or more people represented 17 per cent of the household population in 1961, compared to 7 per cent in 2011.
Between 2001 and 2011, the proportion of different household sizes in the UK has remained relatively constant.
Figure 3: Household size by number of people in household as a proportion, UK
1961, 2001, 2011
In 2011, the City of London had the highest proportion of one person households (56 per cent), followed by two other London Boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea (47 per cent) and Westminster (45 per cent). In contrast, the London Borough of Newham had the highest proportion of households with five or more people (21 per cent); this was closely followed by Magherafelt (19 per cent) and Cookstown (17 per cent), both in Northern Ireland.Back to table of contents
The population density of the UK in 2001 was 244 people per square kilometre. As the population of the UK increased by 4.1 million (nearly 7 per cent) between 2001 and 2011, accordingly population density has also increased by nearly 7 per cent to 261 people per square kilometre.
Comparing the UK with other countries helps to put the UK figure into perspective: the most densely populated European country is Malta, with a population density of 1,316 people per square kilometre, whilst the most sparsely populated country, Iceland, has 3 people per square kilometre.
Table 2 shows population density for the UK and each of the constituent countries for 1961 to 2011.
1961 - 2011
Table 2: Population density
|United Kingdom and constituent countries, 1961 - 2011, Persons per square km|
|Country||Land area (square km)||Population density (persons per square km)|
|1. Area figures are the most recent estimates of area and these have been used for calculations of population density for all years presented in the bulletin. They do not incorporate any small changes to the land area since 1961|
|Source: Office for National Statistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, National Records of Scotland|
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Population density in England has consistently been the highest of the UK constituent countries, and has remained well above the UK figure.
Scotland has retained the lowest population density over time, with little change between 1961 (66 people per square kilometre) and 2011 (68 people per square kilometre). This reflects that Scotland’s population has only grown by 2.2 per cent (0.2 million) over the last fifty years.
Notes for population density
The usually resident population totals, in conjunction with land area, information allow the calculation of population density.
UK tables published on 17 December 2012 and with this bulletin on 21 March 2013 provide population density in persons per hectare.
Population density figures for Malta and Iceland are sourced from Eurostat and are based on 2010 mid-year estimates for each country.
Land area figures are the most recent estimates of area and these have been used for calculations of population density for all years presented in this report. They do not incorporate any small changes to the land area since 1961.
The UK population is not evenly distributed. There is considerable variation across countries, regions and local authorities.
The population density of the UK ranges from 13,871 people per square kilometre in the London Borough of Islington to 9 people per square kilometre in the two Scottish local authorities of Highland and Eilean Siar. Excluding London Boroughs, the most densely populated local authority was Portsmouth in the South East of England with 5,074 people per square kilometre.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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