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Rate of Population Change (% over previous 10 years) in 2001 for District/Unitary Authority

Rate of Population Change (% over previous 10 years) in 2001 for District/Unitary Authority

We only present the rate of population growth where we can be sure that changes do not result simply from boundary changes.

In the early 19th century, the most obvious areas of rapid growth were in the industrial districts of Lancashire, where cotton textiles had grown rapidly during the 18th century, and of South Wales. However, other areas also grew rapidly: during the 1810s and 1820s. The fens of northern East Anglia expanded as drainage schemes turned marshes into fertile farmland, while seaside resorts on the south coast developed well before the coming of railways.

By the mid-19th century, the north-east of England was growing fast. Its expansion was driven by mining and new heavy industries. In the second half of the 19th century, the old shipyards building wooden sailing ships on the Thames and the Medway were almost completely replaced by new yards on the Tyne and the Wear building iron ships with steam engines. The very heart of London was starting to lose population, and this trend was clearer by the 1900s. The mining areas of South Wales and the East Midlands also boomed. In the North East and the East Midlands, better mining techniques helped the coalfields move east, where the coal was deeper.

These patterns changed completely in the 1930s, rapid growth becoming focused almost entirely around London. This continued into the boom years of the 1950s and 1960s, but the area of low growth at the heart of the south-east becomes more and more visible. By the 1970s, the region of high growth extended beyond the south-east into both the south west and all of East Anglia. Central Wales and the Scottish Highlands benefited from in-migration which was as much about life-style choices as economics forces, as economic activity became steadily less tied to natural resources. Life-style choices plus the boom in financial services also explain the new growth in inner London, which began in the 1980s and blossomed, especially along the Thames, in the 1990s. The decline of the old industrial areas continued.

Rate definition

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The "Statistical atlas" lets you view our British statistical data rates by theme in their entirety as maps for both modern local authorities and historical units.

Please note that although there are some statistics within the system relating to places outside Great Britain, particularly Ireland, the majority of our statistics are British and this is reflected in the presentation of data within the Statistical atlas.

How it works

The Statistical atlas presents national views of rates. This differs from the specific numeric data for individual administrative units presented in the "Units & Statistics" part of the place pages accessed via typing in a place-name on the homepage.

Select a theme by clicking on a theme title. You must then decide whether you wish to view data for modern local authorities or historical units. At the top of the theme page are the links to rate maps for modern units. Select one to enter the atlas. Alternatively, at the bottom of the theme page are links to maps of rates only available in their historical units.

After selecting a rate we are presented with the map page showing the selected rate. On the left hand side is the map legend and some generic subject information about the theme. Below the text is a link to the "Rate definition" which takes you out of the statistical atlas and into the description of the nCube for that theme within the data documentation system.

Beneath this are various "Options" for altering the mapped rate. With the exception of the "Political Life" theme, drop down menus exist to change the mapped rate or to select an alternative unit type. All themes have the option to select alternative dates. Selecting a different date will change the map to display re-districted data i.e. statistics which are estimates for the same (modern) geographical area going back over time. More information on how this was achieved is available here.

The map window on the right can be zoomed and panned. Using the drop down menu at the top left of the map window you can select and add a "base layer" map image beneath the transparent statistical map to help you understand the geography of the rates. The window itself can be expanded to see a bigger map using the "Bigger map" option at the top right of the map window. If this function is enabled, the information given on the left will automatically move to below the map.

About the data

The statistics come from national overviews, including Censuses, Surveys and other collated tables. You should be aware that the same information was not always collected, the questions change over time to suit contemporary conditions. For example, in the 2011 Census English households were asked about their car ownership, but this would have been of little relevance in 1921 when very few people owned their own vehicle. Conversely, the 1951 question about whether your household had shared access or no access to piped water has disappeared because it is now assumed that all, or virtually all, households will have exclusive use of a piped hot water supply. This is why not all themes have data in all years, the dates available vary according to the questions asked.

We should also point out that we have not digitised all possible historical statistics. Although we have gone a significant way to capturing and integrating suitable tables useful for our themes, this is a labour intensive and time-consuming process. We have tried to focus on particular tables to produce runs of data and in this sense the "Population" theme is the fullest. We continue to work on improving the data, both in its consistency and its accuracy as well as its extent.