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Population Density (Persons per Hectare) in 2011 for District/Unitary Authority

Population Density (Persons per Hectare) in 2011 for District/Unitary Authority

The population of Britain in 2011 is six times the population in 1801, so the country's overall population density is also six times higher. This is obvious in the time series for districts, but it makes comparing maps over time hard. One problem is that the density bands used in the maps have to change over time, and the bottom four bands in 1801 all fit into the bottom 2011 band. Although the mountains of Scotland and Wales still contain few people, rural England has become much more crowded.

Another problem is that, especially during the 19th century, much of the population was crowded into quite small urban areas that hardly show up on the maps. In 1801, the City of London contained over 400 people per hectare, while in 2011 only eight local authorities, all in London, contained over 100 per hectare. In towns where the main way of getting about was walking, extreme crowding was inevitable. London's area expanded with the development of cheap trains for 'working men' in the late 19th century. Both the bicycle and the bus helped towns spread out, but it was of course the car which made it possible for large numbers to live in rural areas, but with urban jobs and lifestyles. Note that our figures for the area of units as measured in hectares have always been calculated by us from our boundary maps, while all areas measured in acres are figures that were listed in census reports.

Rate definition

Options (reloads page)

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.