Population

Mapping Population

Use the map selector to access all available maps of Population, or just choose one of these:


We let you look at total population in two ways.

Firstly, population density: which areas had the most people? Density is calculated as the number of people per hectare, and we have measured areas from a modern digital map of the local authorities rather than relying on the doubtful acreages given in historical reports. Secondly, growth rates: where was population rising fastest, or declining? We also look at the ratio of men to women.

This theme also covers people's ages. From 1851 onwards, the census has provided very detailed statistics of age structure, giving numbers of males and of females in each 5-year age band. However, we simplify this here to three broad age groups: Children (0-14), Working Age (15-64) and the Elderly (over 65).

Over the last 150 years, Our population has clearly aged. However, mortality decline in the late 19th century was mainly due to the reduction of very high infant mortality rates: the presence or absence of large number of infants dying before their first birthday had little effect on overall age structures. During the twentieth century, declining fertility and improved life expectancy in later life significantly changed age structures.

All available maps for the theme Population

Select a particular date to choose a combination of rate, unit type and date.

Administrative County Local Government District Modern (post 1974) County District/Unitary Authority Parish-level Unit Poor Law/Registration County Poor Law Union/Reg. District Scottish Burgh/District Scottish County Scottish Parish Registration sub-District
Percentage aged under 15 1911 - 1961
1911 - 1961
1851 - 2001
1851 - 2001
N/A 1881 - 1911
1881 - 1911
N/A N/A N/A 1881
Percentage aged 15-64 1911 - 1961
1911 - 1961
1851 - 2001
1851 - 2001
N/A 1881 - 1911
1881 - 1911
N/A N/A N/A 1881
Percentage Aged over 65 1911 - 1961
1911 - 1961
1851 - 2001
1851 - 2001
N/A 1881 - 1911
1881 - 1911
N/A N/A N/A 1881
Rate of Population Change (% over previous 10 years) 1911 - 1961
1911 - 1961
1811 - 2001
1811 - 2001
1881 - 1961
1881 - 1911
1881 - 1911
1911
1911
1911
1881 - 1911
Rate of Population Change (% over previous 20 years) 1951
1951
N/A N/A 1951
N/A N/A N/A N/A 1951
N/A
Population Density (Persons per Acre) 1911 - 1961
1911 - 1961
N/A N/A 1881 - 1961
1881 - 1911
1881 - 1911
1951
1951
1951
1881 - 1911
Population Density (Persons per Hectare) N/A N/A 1801 - 2001
1801 - 2001
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Redistricted data on Population

These notes concern the historical statistics for modern local authorities, which have been created for Vision of Britain by re-districting statistics originally reported for other units. We have also had to deal with variations in the categories and classifications used in statistical reporting over the years.

  • 1801-1851:The population statistics come from the table 'Parishes - Area; houses, 1841, 1851; Inhabitants, 1801, 1811, 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851' in Census of Great Britain, 1851. Population tables. I. Numbers of the Inhabitants, in the years 1801, 1811, 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851., Vol. II. The original 1851 age structure data are for Registration Districts and come from the divisional tables in Volume II, Part II of the 1851 Census Report, Ages, Civil Condition, Occupations, and Birth-Place of the People, BPP 1852-3 LXXXVIII.
  • 1861, 1871: At present, we have to use interpolated values for some years as work continues on boundary mapping. These data were interpolated by a simple linear trend applied to the 1851 and 1881 data for total population.
  • 1881:These data come from table 2, 'Ages of Males and Females in Registration Districts' in each of the sets of divisional tables in Volume III of the 1881 Census Report, Ages, Condition as to Marriage, Occupations, and Birth Places of the People, BPP 1883 LXXX [C.3722].
  • 1911, 1931 and 1951: The original data are for Local Government Districts, so our redistricting will be more accurate than for 1851 and 1881. The 1911 data come from table 8, 'Ages of Persons, Males and Females at each year of age under 21 and in Quinquennial Age-Groups', in Volume VII of the 1911 Census Report, Ages and Condition as to Marriage. The 1931 data come from table 14 and 15, 'Ages (Grouped) by marital condition' in each of the County Reports of the 1931 Census. The 1951 data come from table 21, 'Ages (quinary) by Marital Condition', for County Boroughs and towns over 50,000 population, and from table 22, "Ages (quinary) and Marital Condition', for Rural Districts and smaller towns, in each of the County Reports of the 1951 Census.
  • 1901, 1921, 1941, 1961: These data were interpolated by calculating a geometric mean on the populations at the previous and the next census.
  • 1971-91: The data are computed from the Small Area Statistics for each year, via the 'Linking Censuses through Time' system. In 1971, the oldest age band available is '75 up'.
  • 2001: The data are taken from tables P6, for males, and P7, for females, in the initial release of 2001 census data in September 2002; and from table 2 in Scotland's Census: 2001 Population Report, issued by the GRO(S) again in September 2002.

These selections from historical census reports are on the theme of Population.

CensusArea CoveredReport TitleSection Title
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Ages
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Usual Residence
1811 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Preliminary Observations Increase of the Population
1821 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Preliminary Observations Increase of the Population
1831 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Enumeration. Increase of Population
1841 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Enumeration. Part I England and Wales with Index to Names of Places at end of each part. Ages and Birth-Places
1841 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Enumeration. Part I England and Wales with Index to Names of Places at end of each part. Age Abstract
1841 Great Britain Abstracts of the Answers and Returns: Enumeration. Part I England and Wales with Index to Names of Places at end of each part. Estimated Population of England and Wales, 1570-1750
1861 England and Wales General Report Population, Houses and Families
1861 England and Wales General Report Ages of the Population
1861 England and Wales General Report Conjugal Condition of the People
1861 England and Wales General Report Increase of the Population of England and Wales since 1651
1861 England and Wales General Report Laws Regulating the Growth of Nations
1871 England and Wales General Report Population
1871 England and Wales Preliminary Report and Tables of Population and Houses Urban Populations, Sexes, Houses and Families
1881 England and Wales General Report Number of the Population and Rates of Increase
1881 England and Wales General Report Density of the Population and Habitations
1881 England and Wales General Report Sexes
1881 England and Wales General Report Ages
1881 England and Wales General Report Condition as to Marriage, or Civil Condition
1891 England and Wales General Report Population and Rates of Increase
1891 England and Wales General Report Sexes, Ages, and Condition as to Marriage
1901 England and Wales General Report, with Appendices Population and Rates of Increase
1901 England and Wales General Report, with Appendices Sexes, Ages, and Condition as to Marriage
1911 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Population
1911 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Sexes, Ages, and Condition as to Marriage
1911 England and Wales Languages Spoken in Wales and Monmouthsire Local Distribution
1911 Scotland Population, Ages and Conjugal Condition, Occupations, Birthplaces, Housing, Gaelic-speaking The Population of Scotland
1911 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of Scotland
1911 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of the Counties of Scotland
1911 Scotland Population, Ages and Conjugal Condition, Occupations, Birthplaces, Housing, Gaelic-speaking Density of Population
1911 Scotland Population, Ages and Conjugal Condition, Occupations, Birthplaces, Housing, Gaelic-speaking Age Distribution and Conjugal Condition
1911 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of the Burghs of Scotland
1921 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Population
1921 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Sexes, Ages and Marital Conditions
1921 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of Scotland
1921 Scotland Preliminary Report Notes on individual County Populations
1931 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of Scotland: General Summary
1931 Scotland Preliminary Report Notes on individual County Populations
1931 Scotland Preliminary Report Population Tables
1951 Scotland Preliminary Report Population of Scotland: General Summary
1951 Scotland Preliminary Report Notes on individual County Populations