Population and Rates of Increase

Next Selection Previous Selection


1. England and Wales.

Total Population of England and Wales

The number of persons enumerated in England and Wales as living at midnight on Sunday, March 31st, 1901, as finally revised at the Census Office, was 32,527,843, and exceeded the unrevised total published in the Preliminary Report by 1,768. This revised total showed an increase of 3,525,318, or a decennial rate of increase of 12.17 per cent., upon the number returned at the preceding enumeration in April, 1891. This enumerated increase exceeded by almost half a million the increase recorded in the preceding decennium, when it was 3,028,086, and was equal to 11.65 per cent.; although it was numerically greater than in any previous intercensal period of the last Century, the percentage of increase was lower than in any decennium except in 1851-1861 and in 1881-1891. (See Tables 2 and 3 in Appendix A. to this Report.) The highest rate of increase recorded in any decennium was 18.06 per cent. in 1811-21; but, having regard to the method of enumeration at the earlier Censuses, the results can only be regarded as approximately accurate. During the one hundred years 1801-1901 the population of England and Wales nearly quadrupled—it increased from 8,892,536 to 32.527,843, or by 265.8 per cent.; in other words, there were 365.8 persons in England and Wales in 1901 to each one hundred enumerated at the first Census in 1801.

Difference between estimated and enumerated population

The enumerated population of England and Wales in 1901 exceeded by 144,231 the estimate for that date based upon the hypothesis that the rate of increase that prevailed during the ten years 1881-1891 had since been maintained. This slight under-estimate of population, adopted for statistical use in the Registrar-General's Reports on the vital statistics of England and Wales, had slightly over stated the recently calculated Birth, Death and Marriage rates in those official returns, but it scarcely affected their value, for comparative purposes, as regards the whole of England and Wales. This hypothesis, however, when used for local populations, especially for those of Urban Districts, gives in many cases very fallacious results, thus accentuating the statistical need of more frequent enumerations.

Factors that determine the growth of the population

It is essential, when considering Census results, to bear in mind that the increase or decrease of population is governed by two factors—(1) the balance between births and deaths, and (2) the balance between immigration and emigration. As regards this Country, the balance between births and deaths has invariably, at least in recent times, resulted in an excess of births over deaths; whereas, at any rate since 1851, emigrants have invariably exceeded the immigrants.

Intercensal Periods. Increase per Cent by recorded Births. Decrease per Cent by Deaths. Gain per Cent by
excess of Births over
Deaths or recorded
Natural Increase.
1841-51 34.64 23.73 10.91
1851-61 36.19 23.58 12.61
1861-71 37.56 23.98 13.58
1871-81 37.89 22.8 15.09
1881-91 34.24 20.27 13.97
1891-1901 31.57 19.18 12.39

Decline of natural increase of population

It will be well now to consider the relative effect of these two factors upon the numbers of the English population during the last intercensal period. The increase per cent. by Births, which had been 37.89 in 1871-81 and 34.24 in 1881-91, further declined to 31.57 during the last intercensal period 1891-1901; while the percentage of decrease by Deaths, which had been 23.98, 22.80, and 20.27 in the three preceding intercensal periods, further declined to 19.18 in 1891-1901. The decrease in the Death rate did not, however, counterbalance the decrease in the Birth rate. It follows, therefore, as is shown in the above Table, that the percentage of excess of births over Deaths, or what is known as the natural increase of population, which had been 15.09 in 1871-81 and 13-97 in 1881-91, further declined to 12.39 in 1891-1901.

On the justifiable assumption that Birth and Death Registration in England and Wales is now practically complete, it will be seen that the rate of increase of population as determined solely by natural increase, i.e., by excess of births over Deaths, was lower in 1891-1901 than in the preceding decennium; whereas the rate of increase as determined by actual enumeration was higher in 1891-1901 than in 1881-1891. This increase must therefore have been due to the second factor—the balance between immigration and emigration.

Loss of population by migration

Board of Trade Returns do not yet afford the means for accurately determining the number of migrants, either as emigrants or immigrants, but, assuming the approximate accuracy of Census results, as well as of Birth and Death registration, it is possible from the figures in the following Table to ascertain approximately the balance between immigration and emigration.

POPULATION. Difference—
being loss by
excess of
Increase? per cent. in previous
being loss by
excess of
As determined
by recorded
Natural Increase
As actually
As determined
by recorded
Increase only.
As determined
by actual
1861 20,188,335 20,066,224 122,111 12.61 11.93 0.68
1871 22,791,234 22,712,266 78,968 13.58 13.19 0.39
1881 26,138,746 25,974,439 164,307 15.09 14.36 0.73
1891 29,603,914 29,002,525 601,389 13.97 11.66 2.31
1901 32,596,173 32,527,843 68,330 12.39 12.16 0.23
* The registration of births in the earlier decennia is known to have been defective. For the purposes of this portion of the Report the registered numbers only are dealt with, as sufficiently serving the purpose of general explanation. In later portions of the Report, however, estimates of total births are used (see p. 48) as being necessary to the detailed examination of the ages of the population enumerated at succeeding Censuses.
? The rates of increase in this table refer to the intervals between the several Censuses without correction for the very slight inequalities of the periods.

These figures show that the loss of population due to the excess of Emigration over Immigration, which had amounted to 164,307 and 601,389 respectively during the ten year periods 1871-81 and 1881-91, fell to 68,330 in the more recent intercensal period. This may have been the result either of decreased Emigration or of increased Immigration; Board of Trade Returns on this subject clearly show, however, that both causes operated to reduce the loss of English population due to the excess of Emigration over Immigration. Not only was the number of English Emigrants very considerably lower during 1891-1901 than in the previous ten years, but the immigration of European Foreigners, mainly European Jewish refugees, showed a marked increase. According to Board of Trade Returns, English Emigrants during 1891-1901 were fewer by nearly half a million than in the preceding ten years. It may be stated, moreover, that the Returns also show that, while the number of English Emigrants to countries outside Europe in the six years 1895-1900 was 590,560, the number of English Passengers (largely consisting of returning emigrants) who arrived in the United Kingdom from such places during the same six years, was no fewer than 401,719, reducing the loss by emigration in those years to 188,841, or an average of only 31,474 per annum. This information is not, however, available for years prior to 1895, as the Merchant Shipping Act, under which Passenger Lists are furnished to the Board of Trade, was not passed until 1894, neither are complete returns available of the numbers of European Aliens who have taken up their abode in this Country during the ten years under consideration.

Migration of Males and Females

It is obvious that men are more prone to foreign migration than women, and it is therefore desirable to consider briefly the effect upon the English population of migration (the balance between immigration and emigration) as it separately affects each sex.

In England the births of Males invariably exceed the births of Females, and the Deaths of Males as invariably exceed the Deaths of Females. During the intercensal period 1891-1901 the recorded Male births in England and Wales exceeded the Female Births by 160,987, or by an average of 16,099 per annum; the proportion of infants more being 1,036 Males to 1,000 Females. During the same period the recorded Deaths of Males exceeded the Deaths of Females by 155,363, or by an average of 15,536 per annum; the Deaths of Males being in the proportion of 1,057 to 1,000 Deaths of Females. The recorded natural increase in the numbers of each Sex during the intercensal period was, therefore, very nearly equal—namely, 1,799,636 Males and 1,794,012 Females, the increase of Males exceeding that of Females by 5,624, presuming, of course, the accuracy of Birth and Death Registration. By comparison of this recorded Natural Increase with the increase of population recorded at the Census in 1901, it appears that the enumerated number of Males showed a loss of 123,924 during the ten years which may be attributed to Migration, being the balance between Emigration and immigration, presuming, as we are bound to do, the approximate accuracy of the Census Enumerations in 1891 and 1901 as well as the accuracy of Birth and Death registration. It should, however, be noted that the estimated number of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Merchant Seamen abroad in 1891 did not exceed 196,541; whereas they were estimated to be 277,197 in 1901.1 It follows, therefore, that had the number of the Army, Navy, and Marines and Merchant Seamen abroad in 1901 not exceeded the number in 1891, the loss by balance of Migration would have been only 43,268 instead of 123,924.

Calculated in a similar manner, the enumerated increase of Females in the Census period under notice exceeded the natural increase by 55,594, which must equally be attributed to Migration, that is, to the balance between Emigration and immigration. Board of Trade Returns tell us that the numbers of Males very largely exceed those of Females both among Emigrants and immigrants, but they afford no satisfactory explanation of these figures which indicate that, during the ten years, the number of Females added to the English population by immigration exceeded the number of Female emigrants by 55,594. It appears from the Birthplace statistics relating to the Census in 1901, that, of the Foreigners, including those who had become British subjects by naturalization, enumerated in England and Wales, the Males exceeded the Females by nearly 60 per cent., although, of the far smaller number of British Subjects born in Foreign Countries, the Females exceeded the Males by nearly 20 per cent.

The following Table has been constructed with a view to throw light upon this subject, and shows at any rate that, in three of the last five intercensal periods, there appears to have been a distinct gain to the female population of England and Wales, apparently due to migration, that is, to the balance between emigration and immigration:—

Population at each Census. Gain (+) or Loss (-)
by Balance between
Emigration and Im-
Increase per cent. in Previous
Gain (+) or Loss (-)
per cent. by
Balance between
Emigration and
Calculated from Pop-
ulation at Previous
Census by adding
recorded Natural
Increases in Inter-
censal Period.*
Actually Enumerated. Due to recorded
Natural Increase.
As Determined
by Actual
Males. Females. Males. Females. Males. Females. Males. Females. Males. Females. Males. Females.
1861 9,950,714 10,237,621 9,776,259 10,289,965 -174,455 52,344 13.32 11.93 11.33 12.50 -1.99 0.57
1871 11,152,440 11,638,794 11,058,934 11,653,332 -93,506 14,538 14.08 13.11 13.12 13.25 -0.96 0.14
1881 12,763,369 13,375,377 12,639,902 13,334,537 -123,467 -40,840 15.41 14.78 14.30 14.43 -1.11 -0.35
1891 14,460,566 15,143,348 14,052,901 14,949,624 -407,665 -193,724 14.40 13.56 11.18 12.11 -3.22 -1.45
1901 15,852,537 16,743,636 15,728,613 16,799,230 -123,924 55,594 12.81 12.00 11.92 12.37 -0.89 0.37
* See note * at foot of page 16.

The above Table shows an apparent gain to the female population, over and above that due to the recorded natural increase in 1851-61, in 1861-71, and in 1891-1901, whereas it shows a loss in each of the intercensal periods 1871-81 and 1881-91. The loss to the female population due to Migration in 1881-91 was undoubtedly due to the very exceptional volume of emigration during the decennium, and the gain in 1891-1901 to an actual balance of immigration. In a later section of the Report it will be shown that the loss in 1871-81 was probably greater than would appear from the Table, and that there was a loss in each of the two earlier periods; the reason being that, on account of imperfect Birth registration, the natural increase was understated in years prior to 1875. It should, however, be borne in mind that no record exists of the amount of migration from time to time between Scotland and England and between Ireland and England, and it may further be noted that the enumerated population in England and Wales in 1901 included 153,395 Females born in Scotland and 201,598 born in Ireland. As the number of Females born in England and Wales and enumerated in Scotland and Ireland did not exceed 68,072 and 31,880 respectively, the gain to the enumerated English female population under consideration may probably be due in great pleasure to this cause.

Population in each intercensal year of the last decennium

It is necessary for many statistical purposes to estimate the population of England and Wales in the years which intervene between the Censuses, and if it be assumed that the rate of growth was uniform throughout the last decennium, the following figures may be taken to represent approximately the population—Persons, Males and Females— in the middle of each year 1891-1900:—



Year. Persons. Males. Females.
1891 29,085,819 14,092,535 14,993,284
1892 29,421,392 14,252,190 15,169,202
1893 29,760,842 14,413,657 15,347,185
1894 30,104,201 14,576,948 15,527,253
1895 30,451,528 14,742,091 15,709,437
1896 30,802,858 14,909,104 15,893,754
1897 31,158,245 15,078,010 16,080,235
1898 31,517,725 15,248,823 16,268,902
1899 31,881,365 15,421,578 16,459,787
1900 32,249,187 15,596,283 16,652,904

Having regard to the varying rates of increase of population recorded in recent decennial periods, ranging from 14.36 per cent. in 1871-81 to 11.65 per cent. in 1881-91, all prospective estimates of population, based upon hypothesis, can only be of uncertain value. Such forecasts of population are, however, absolutely necessary in the presept day for the calculation of Birth, Death and Marriage rates in current Census periods, and for the estimation of sanitary conditions in Urban and Rural Districts. Experience has shown that the hypothesis of the maintenance of the enumerated rate of increase during the last completed intercensal period, applied at any rate to the whole country, has given fairly approximate results during recent Census periods, although the exceptional drop in the rate of increase between 1881 and 1891 caused a considerable over-estimate of population in the latter part of that decennium. As we have seen, the under-estimate of the English population in 1901, due to this method of estimate, was so slight as to have a scarcely appreciable effect on the calculated rates of Births, Deaths and Marriages for England and Wales, published in the Registrar-General's Quarterly and Annual Reports. The same cannot, however, be said with regard to the use of this hypothesis for the estimation of population in local areas in which the rate of increase frequently varies enormously indifferent decennia. Such estimates present a difficulty which can only be met by more frequent Censuses, and in the present day local interest in sanitation creates a necessity for local vital statistics, the absence of which would seriously retard sanitary progress.

Estimated population of future intercensal years

Estimated, therefore, on the assumption that the annual rate of increase of population that prevailed during the ten years 1891-1901 will remain unchanged until the middle of 1911, the following figures may be accepted as approximately representing the population (Persons, Males and Females) of England and Wales in the middle of each year 1901-1911:—

Year. Persons. Males. Females.
1901 32,621,263 15,773,062 16,848,201
1902 32,997,626 15,952,154 17,045,472
1903 33,378,338 16,133,344 17,244,994
1904 33,763,434 16,316,647 17,446,787
1905 34,152,977 16,502,094 17,650,883
1906 34,547,016 16,689,707 17,857,309
1907 34,945,600 16,879,509 18,066,091
1908 35,348,780 17,071,524 18,277,256
1909 35,756,615 17,265,780 18,490,835
1910 36,169,150 17,462,296 18,706,854
1911 36,586,454 17,661,107 18,925,347

2. Registration Counties, Districts and Sub-districts.

While the increase of population in the whole of England and Wales in the ten years 1891-1901 was equal to 12.2 per cent., it varied greatly in different parts of the Country, some parts showing an absolute decrease. Of 635 Registration Districts and 2,064 Sub-districts, there were 250 and 936 respectively, in which the population actually declined between 1891 and 1901; and, of these, a large proportion had also shown a decline in the preceding decennium.

The population decreased in ten of the Registration Counties (including five Welsh Counties), and the rates of increase in the remaining Counties range from 0.003 per cent. in Cornwall to 45.1 per cent. in Middlesex.

In the two following Tables the Registration Counties are arranged in the order of the rates of increase and decrease in their populations in the decennium 1891-1901; the rates of increase or decrease in the preceding two decennia being added for comparison. The figures in all the columns relate to the Counties as constituted in 1901.


Registration County. Increase
per cent. 1891-1901.
or Decrease
per cent. 1881-91.
or Decrease
per cent. 1871-81.
Middlesex 45.11 52.48 42.36
Essex 39.60 37.82 25.27
Glamorganshire 25.10 33.70 27.75
Surrey 24.78 23.99 26.08
Northumberland 19.19 16.67 12.17
Worcestershire 18.49 10.30 13.95
Radnorshire 18.24 -7.58 -6.23
Nottinghamshire 18.09 15.20 23.40
Durham 16.62 17.01 26.33
Leicestershire 16.46 16.12 18.74
Kent 15.95 13.66 12.64
Hampshire 15.33 15.82 9.65
Monmouthshire 15.97 17.51 6.66
Yorkshire—East Riding 13.49 10.42 18.21
Northamptonshire 13.27 11.26 11.55
Warwickshire 12.95 9.73 15.83
Staffordshire 12.92 9.52 14.78
Derbyshire 12.81 12.01 19.04
Yorkshire—West Riding 12.70 12.15 18.58
Cheshire 12.56 13.98 15.26
Lancashire 12.05 13.51 22.33
Hertfordshire 10.91 6.20 3.96
Sussex 9.92 12.21 17.47
Denbighshire 9.87 3.25 7.74
Carnarvonshire 9.28 1.44 11.15
Gloucestershire 7.86 5.87 9.34
London 7.29 10.39 17.44
Berkshire 6.14 8.31 10.11
Bedfordshire 6.05 7.72 1.86
Buckinghamshire 6.05 5.60 0.59
Lincolnshire 5.49 0.91 8.17
Yorkshire—North Riding 5.13 5.85 17.57
Carmarthenshire 4.97 6.72 9.72
Dorsetshire 4.60 1.94 -2.26
Devonshire 4.58 4.65 0.37
Wiltshire 3.86 2.73 1.02
Suffolk 2.30 2.77 1.08
Somersetshire 2.28 2.12 -0.84
Cambridgeshire 2.27 2.61 -0.39
Anglesey 1.72 -2.57 -0.01
Norfolk 1.61 3.03 2.18
Shropshire 1.19 -4.14 -0.54
Pembrokeshire 0.51 -2.00 -0.23
Cumberland 0.14 6.34 13.80
Cornwall 0.00 -2.43 -8.89
* In the country of Radnor at the time of the census, a number of men were temporarily engaged in the construction of waterworks for the Corporation of Birmingham. The temporary presence of these men and their families accounts for the abnormal increase of population in that country.


Registration County. Decrease
per cent. 1891-1901.
or Increase
per cent. 1881-91.
or Increase
per cent. 1871-81.
Huntingdonshire -7.04 -5.51 -8.29
Rutlandshire -5.59 -3.73 -1.55
Montgomeryshire -5.08 -11.65 -2.79
Cardiganshire -4.26 -9.2 -2.79
Westmorland -2.73 2.96 -1.25
Oxfordshire -1.7 3.64 1.27
Herefordshire -1.62 -4.02 -3.26
Flintshire -0.71 -7.01 5.19
Merionethshire -0.55 -5.17 10.93
Brecknockshire -0.17 -2.32 -4.57

On comparing the figures for the decennium 1891-1901 with those for 1881-1891, it will be observed that generally those Registration Counties which showed increase in the last, had also shown increase in the preceding decennium, and that there was a similar agreement in the two periods, though with a greater proportion of exceptions, amongst those Counties which showed decrease. Omitting Radnorshire for the reason given in the note to the first Table, there are four Counties, viz., Shropshire and Cornwall in England, and Anglesey and Pembrokeshire in Wales, in each of which the population declined in the ten years 1881-1891, but increased slightly in the following ten years; whereas Westmorland and Oxfordshire, in each of which there had been an increase in the former period, showed a slight decrease in the more recent decennium.

It will further be noticed that, as a rule, where the rate of growth had been high in 1881-3891, it was also high in the next decennium. In some Counties, however, the rates, though high in both periods, manifested considerable variation; for instance, Middlesex which, though it stands first on the list with the highest rate of increase in 1891-1901, viz., 45.1 per cent., shows a decline in the rate of increase as compared with 1881-1891, when the rate was 52.5 per cent.; and similarly the rate of increase in Glamorganshire has declined from 33.7 to 25.1 per cent. on the other hand, the rate of increase in Worcestershire rose from 10.3 to 18.5 per cent., this being mainly due to the development within the Registration District of Kings Norton which includes part of the City of Birmingham, the Borough of Smethwick and the Urban District of Kings Norton & Northfield.

As was observed in the Report for 1891, the Counties showing the highest rates of increase of population mainly include those around London, as Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire; Counties in which the chief industry is coal-mining, as Glamorganshire, Northumberland, Durham, Monmouthshire, and to some extent Staffordshire and Derbyshire; or Counties which are mainly manufacturing, as Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The increase of population, which caused the rate of increase to be higher in 1901 than in 1891 in the East Riding of Yorkshire and in Lincolnshire, occurred principally in those Registration Districts which include considerable towns and their suburbs, as Kingston upon Hull and York in the former, and Lincoln and Grimsby in the latter, although in Kingston upon Hull and in Grimsby themselves the rate of increase was lower in 1901 than in 1891. In Denbighshire a greater activity in coal mining, in brick and tile making and in slate and stone quarrying and working has been the principal cause of the considerable advance in the rate of increase; and in Carnarvonshire the rise may be mainly attributed to the development of slate and stone quarrying. Cumberland is a striking instance of a County which, although to some extent a mining County, shows a rapidly diminishing rate of increase in the last two decennia; for, while the rate was 13.8 per cent. in 1871-81, it fell successively in the next two decennia to 6.3 and 0.14 per cent., the cause being mainly the employment of fewer hands in Ironstone and Lead Mining, and in the Agricultural industry.

As regards the Counties showing a decrease of population, it is satisfactory to note that the number of such Counties, which are mainly agricultural, was 10 in the last against 12 in the preceding decennium, excluding Radnorshire, and that the mean rate of decrease in these 10 Counties had fallen from 3.28 to 2.57 per cent.

3. Ancient Counties, Administrative Counties, and County Boroughs.

Ancient Counties

Ancient or Geographical Countries have for most purposes given place to Administrative Countries and County Boroughs. They are retained in the Census Tables mainly because, as already stated, the Parliamentary County areas, as defined in the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, are Counties of this description or divisions of such Counties. The populations of Ancient Counties at each successive Census back to 1801 are given in Table IV. of the Volume of Summary Tables, the figures for the earlier Censuses representing, with as close approximation as possible, the enumerated population at these dates, of the Counties as existing in 1901; the proportions in each County per Million in England and Wales in the successive decennia, derived from these figures, are shown in Table 6 of Appendix A. to this Report.

Administrative Counties

The differences between the Ancient County and the Administrative County, together with any County Borough or County Boroughs with which the latter may be associated, are shown in Table 2 of each County Volume, and the figures for the Administrative County, apart from the County Boroughs, in Table 6. Tables IX and XI in the Volume of Summary Tables exhibit in summary form the figures for every Administrative County and County Borough.

If we include the Isles of Scilly amongst the Administrative Counties (as they have a separate Administrative Council although they are not technically a County) there are 63 of these Counties, varying very considerably in population. The least populous are the Isles of Scilly, Rutlandshire and Radnorshire,2 with populations of 2,092, 19,709, and 23,281 respectively; there are 13 others having populations below 100,000, namely the Soke of Peterborough, Merionethshire, Anglesey, Huntingdonshire, Brecknockshire, Montgomeryshire, Cardiganshire, Westmorland, the Isle of Ely, the Parts of Holland (Lincolnshire), Flintshire, the Isle of Wight, and Pembrokeshire. By far the most populous are London with a population of 4,536,541, Lancashire with 1,827,436, and the West Riding of Yorkshire with 1,460,982.

Taking the Administrative Counties together with their associated County Boroughs, there are five besides London having populations exceeding a million, viz., Lancashire with a population of 4,387,043, the West Riding of Yorkshire with 2,750,493, Staffordshire with 1,236,919, Durham with 1,187,474, and Essex with 1,083,998. With Lancashire are included in this statement 15 County Boroughs having populations that range from 57,586 (in Barrow-in-Furness), to 684,958 (in Liverpool), and amounting in the aggregate to 2,559,607: with the West Riding of Yorkshire, 5 County Boroughs having an aggregate population of 1,289,511; with Staffordshire, 5 County Boroughs having an aggregate population of 357,777; with Durham, 3 County Boroughs having a population of 353,228; and with Essex, the County Borough of West Ham having a population of 267,358.

County Boroughs

The County Boroughs constituted by the Local Government Act of 1888 numbered 61, each of which was stated to be a Municipal Borough which was either a County of itself, or to have had, on 1st June, 1888, a population not less than 50,000. By the date of the recent Census, 6 additional County Boroughs had been created, viz., Oxford, Grimsby, Newport (Mon.), Bournemouth, Warrington and Burton-on-Trent, and accordingly 67 County Boroughs appear in the Census Tables, the number having since been further increased to 69 by the addition of Rotherham and West Hartlepool. Among the 67 County Boroughs dealt with in the Tables, the following ten had not at the time of the last Census a population of 50,000:—Bath, Bournemouth,3 Canterbury, Chester, Dudley, Exeter, Gloucester, Lincoln, Oxford and Worcester. Included in the list of Urban Districts (Table XI. of Summary Tables) are five Municipal Boroughs each of which had a population exceeding 50,000, viz., Smethwick, Stockton-on-Tees, Tynemouth, Rotherham and West Hartlepool, the last two having, as just stated, been created County Boroughs since the Census. There are also included in this Table twelve Urban Districts with populations also above 50,000, which were neither Municipal Boroughs nor County Boroughs, namely, Aston Manor,4 Handsworth, and Kings Norton & Northfield, all adjoining Birmingham; Wallasey in Cheshire; Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda in Glamorganshire; and East Ham, Layton, Walthamstow, Hornsey,4 Tottenham and Willesden, within the Metropolitan Police District.

4. Urban and Rural Districts.

Urban and Rural Districts

In Table XI. of the Summary Tables are given particulars for 1,122 Urban. Districts (reckoning London as one District), including County Boroughs and Municipal Boroughs with the other Urban Districts. In 1881 the number of districts had been 968; and it rose in 1891 to 1,011. The aggregate population of the 1,122 Urban Districts in 1901 was 25,058,355 (Summary Table X.), while that of the 664 Rural Districts, constituting the remainder of the country, was 7,469,488; thus the persons enumerated in Urban Districts to those enumerated in Rural Districts were in the proportion of 335 to 100; the proportions in 1881 and 1891, in the Urban and Rural Districts as constituted at those periods, were respectively 212 and 258 to 100.

The increase in the proportion of the population resident in Urban Districts is due partly to an actual growth of population within those areas as existing in the earlier Census years, and partly to growth of those areas themselves through the absorption of areas which were previously rural.

Attention was drawn in the Census Report for 1891 to the fact that, a considerable number of the Urban Districts, although technically urban, are distinctly rural in character, being in many cases small towns in the midst of agricultural areas on which they are dependent for their maintenance as business centres. At the recent Census there were as many as 215 Urban Districts with populations below 3,000; 211 with populations between 3,000 and 5,000; and 260 with populations between 5,000 and 10,000; and we shall follow our predecessors in showing, as was done in their Report, the growth of population in Urban and Rural areas (1) excluding from Urban Districts those having populations below 10,000 and combining them with Rural Districts; (2) excluding from Urban Districts those having populations below 5,000 and combining them with Rural Districts; and (3) according to the technical division into Urban and Rural Districts.

(1) Classing with the Rural Districts all those Urban Districts which had, in 1901, populations below 10,000, the aggregate population of the remaining Urban areas numbered 21,959,998 in 1901, the population of the same areas in 1891 having been 18,964,882, and the rate of growth in the decennium being 15.8 per cent. In the rural areas, with the added Urban Districts, the population increased from 10,037,643 in 1891 to 10,567,845 in 1901, and the rate of growth was equal to 5.3 per cent.

(2) Adding to the Rural Districts only those Urban Districts which had in 1901 populations below 5,000, the remaining urban population is found to have increased from 20,576,448 to 23,803,714, or by 15.7 per cent., while the rural population increased from 8,426,077 to 8,724,129, or by 3.5 per cent.

(3) Adopting the division into urban and rural afforded by the technical Urban and Rural Districts, as constituted in 1901, the Urban population has grown from 21,745,286 in 1891 to 25,058,355 in 1901, or at the rate of 15.2 per cent; the rural population having increased from 7,257,239 to 7,469,488, or at the low rate of 2.9 per cent.

Depopulation of Rural Districts

There are, however, many rural parts in which actual depopulation has occurred, as is shown by the following Table, in which the increase or decrease per cent. of population is given in the aggregate Rural Districts of each Administrative County dealt with in the same manner as above described for the entire rural portion of England and Wales— in the first column by themselves, in the second column combined with Urban Districts having populations below 5,000, and in the third column with Urban Districts having populations below 10,000.

Administrative County Increase or Decrease per cent
of Population, 1891-1901, of Areas
that in 1901 were Rural Districts.
By them-
With Urban Districts
containing in 1901
10,000 In-
5,000 In-
Column 1. 2. 3.
England and Wales 2.92 3.54 5.28
Bedfordshire 5.21 4.12 3.04
Berkshire 0.05 0.11 0.05
Buckinghamshire 1.53 2.69 3.35
Cambridgeshire (and Isle of Ely) 3.62 2.95 0.42
Cheshire 1.15 2.98 6.58
Cornwall 1.90 0.51 0.20
Cumberland 5.32 4.55 4.85
Derbyshire 19.30 18.54 18.58
Devonshire 5.22 4.53 2.08
Dorsetshire 7.26 6.30 3.28
Durham 12.66 12.10 13.11
Essex 3.40 5.89 7.23
Gloucestershire 0.83 1.18 0.89
Herefordshire 3.42 3.23 2.88
Hertfordshire 2.35 3.69 5.35
Huntingdonshire 1.47 1.62 1.62
Kent 3.28 3.71 7.26
Lancashire 6.31 7.66 11.16
Leicestershire 6.97 7.16 9.37
Lincolnshire (The Parts of Holland, Kesteven and Lindsey) 4.54 3.54 1.82
Middlesex 23.52 23.47 24.58
Monmouthshire 0.41 0.58 5.85
Norfolk 3.61 2.29 2.24
Northamptonshire (and Soke of Peterborough) 1.87 0.56 0.56
Northumberland 4.92 6.16 11.31
Nottinghamshire 5.65 8.53 12.81
Oxfordshire 7.54 7.57 5.21
Rutlandshire 4.60 4.60 4.60
Shropshire 1.07 0.87 0.62
Somersetshire 1.90 0.99 0.30
Southampton (and Isle of Wight) 5.67 7.00 9.38
Staffordshire 7.36 7.65 8.29
Suffolk (East and West) 4.83 3.69 2.43
Surrey 20.42 19.92 20.34
Sussex (East and West) 1.45 3.29 6.07
Warwickshire 7.09 7.18 6.77
Westmorland 5.11 3.01 3.01
Wiltshire 2.84 2.57 2.09
Worcestershire 15.09 13.77 13.64
Yorkshire—East Riding 3.49 0.54 0.46
Yorkshire—North Riding 4.04 3.75 1.69
Yorkshire—West Riding 15.42 11.66 11.33
Anglesey 3.07 2.00 2.00
Brecknockshire 5.78 5.92 5.49
Cardiganshire 7.93 6.48 3.76
Carmarthenshire 3.94 3.53 3.53
Carnarvonshire 3.67 5.27 6.21
Denbighshire 7.04 6.54 9.57
Flintshire 2.42 2.56 5.77
Glamorganshire 18.01 17.66 20.37
Merionethshire 2.97 0.98 0.98
Montgomeryshire 7.53 5.82 5.35
Pembrokeshire 4.00 3.39 1.74
Radnorshire 2.10 6.84 6.84

If we select from column 3 of this Table the rates of decrease for Rural Districts coupled with Urban Districts having populations under 10,000, and arrange the Counties to which they relate in the order of these rates, we have the following list:—

COUNTY. Rate of
per cent.
COUNTY. Rate of
per cent.
Montgomeryshire 5.35 Devonshire 2.08
Oxfordshire 5.21 Anglesey 2.00
Cumberland 4.85 Lincolnshire 1.82
Rutlandshire 4.60 Pembrokeshire 1.74
Cardiganshire 3.76 North Riding of Yorkshire 1.69
Dorsetshire 3.28 Huntingdonshire 1.62
Bedfordshire 3.04 Merionethshire 0.98
Westmorland 3.01 East Riding of Yorkshire 0.46
Herefordshire 2.88 Cambridgeshire 0.42
Suffolk 2.43 Somersetshire 0.30
Norfolk 2.24 Cornwall 0.20
Wiltshire 2.09    

As compared with the list in 1891, when the composition of Urban and Rural Districts was not quite the same, and when they were grouped in Registration Counties and not in Administrative Counties as now, there are 23 Counties in the present list against 20 in that of 1891; but, while the highest rate of decrease in the 10 years 1881-91 was 11.68 per cent. and there were seven counties in which the rate of decrease in the rural parts was above five per cent., the maximum rate of decrease in the next decennium did not exceed 5.35 per cent., and there were only two counties in which the rate of decrease in the rural parts was above 5 per cent. Further, in the earlier period the highest rates of decrease were in Welsh Counties; but, although Montgomeryshire is at the head of both lists—in 1891 with a rate of 11.68 now reduced to 5.35 per cent.— Cardiganshire is the only other Welsh County with a rate above 2 per cent. As regards English Counties with declining rural populations, most of them show a reduction in the rate of decrease, but in Rutlandshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk the rate was higher in 1891-1901 than in the preceding decennium, and the Counties of Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Oxford, Cambridge, Cumberland, and Westmorland, in which there had been a slight increase of population in the rural parts, now figure amongst those which exhibit a rate of decrease.

An additional test of depopulation of rural areas may be made by taking Registration Districts which are entirely rural—i.e., Districts which contain absolutely no Urban Districts or parts of Urban Districts, however small. Amongst the 635 Registration Districts, there were 112 at the Census in 1901 which were thus entirely rural, the aggregate population of which was 1,330,319. Their population at each Census back to 1801 has been approximately ascertained as follows:—

Year of Census. Population. Increase or
per cent.
in preceding
Year of Census. Population. Increase or
per cent.
in preceding
1801 932,364 1861 1,321,870 -0.20
1811 997,494 6.99 1871 1,321,377 -0.04
1821 1,139,137 14.20 1881 1,313,570 -0.59
1831 1,216,872 6.82 1891 1,304,827 -0.67
1841 1,288,410 5.88 1901 1,330,319 1.95
1851 1,324,528 2.80      

During the first half of the century, the population of these distinctly rural areas in the aggregate increased in each decennium, but at a gradually diminishing rate, except in the ten years 1811-21 when there was an extraordinary advance presumably on account of the cessation of the long war. In the second half of the century, there is a want of regularity in the series, but the general tendency has been for the decrease, of population, which first manifested itself in the ten years 1851-61 to continue at an accelerated rate until the last decennium, when there was a notable change. The population in that period not only recovered the ground lost in the preceding forty years, but slightly exceeded the population in 1851. Of the 112 Districts here referred to, however, 73 showed an actual decrease of the population, which was more than counterbalanced chiefly by the increase in a few Districts where mining is the principal industry.

But, although a small increase of population is shown in the aggregate, there has nevertheless, been a very considerable drain on the natural growth of the population of these areas. This will be evident if we take Registration Districts which contain either no Urban Districts or only such Urban Districts as have populations under 10,000 to represent the rural area as in the following Table: —

POPULATION. Increase of
Excess of
Births over
Gain or
Loss by
Gain or
Loss by
per cent.
1891. 1901.
112 Registration Districts entirely rural. 1,304,827 1,330,319 25,492 150,437 -124,945 -9.6
222 Registration Districts which contain Urban Districts with populations under 10,000. 4,176,219 4,215,326 39,107 414,816 -375,709 -9.0
Total of 334 Registration Districts 5,481,046 5,545,645 64,599 565,253 -500,654 -9.1
Remainder of England and Wales 23,521,479 26,982,198 3,460,719 3,028,395 432,324 1.8
* The term migration here includes movement of population between the districts in question and the remainder of England and Wales as well as migration to or from, foreign parts.

It will be seen that, in this rural population of nearly five and a half millions, the natural growth of the population by excess of births over deaths was, in the ten years preceding the Census of 1901, 565,253, whereas the actual increase of population was only 64,599. the loss by migration thus being 500,654, equal to 9.1 per cent. of the population of 1891.

Urban Districts classified by population

The 1,122 Urban Districts may be thus classified according to their populations in 1901:—

Urban Districts as constituted at Date of Census 1901.
Populations of Urban Districts. Number
Population of
the same areas
in 1891.
Percentage of
of Population
Area in
Statute Acres.
Persons per
Square Mile
Over 700,000 1 4,536,541 4,228,317 7.3 74,839 38,795
250,000 and under 700,000 8 3,436,865 3,064,688 12.1 119,319 18,435
100,000 and under 250,000 24 3,516,789 2,987,841 17.7 166,424 13,524
50,000 and under 100,000 42 3,016,668 2,449,486 23.2 211,285 9,138
20,000 and under 50,000 141 4,434,917 3,685,844 20.3 509,611 5,570
10,000 and under 20,000 220 3,018,218 2,548,706 18.4 826,791 2,336
5,000 and under 10,000 260 1,843,716 1,611,566 14.4 797,717 1,479
3,000 and under 5,000 211 839,838 773,318 8.6 618,317 869
Under 3,000 215 414,803 395,520 4.9 524,684 506
Total 1,122 25,058,355 21,745,286 15.2 3,848,987 4,167
* Administrative County of London here reckoned as one District.

The Table shows the numbers of Urban Districts having populations within several limits, the aggregate population of such Districts in 1901 and of the same areas in 1891, and the mean increase of population per cent. in each group in the interval. The aggregate area of each group is also given, and the mean number of persons to a square mile. The Administrative County of London is treated as a single District.

It will be observed that eight Districts appear in the Table with populations between 250,000 and 700,000; 24 with populations between 100,000 and 250,000; 42 with populations between 50,000 and 100,000; 141 with populations between 20,000 and 50,000; and 220 with populations between 10,000 and 20,000. In all 436 had populations exceeding 10,000, while no fewer than 686 had populations less than 10,000.

A column of the Table gives the mean rate of growth of population in each of these groups of Districts in the ten years 1891-1901, from which it will be seen that the more populous the District, up to the limit of 100,000, the higher is the rate of growth, as was also evident from a similar classification of the Urban Districts of 1891, with the rates of growth in the preceding decennium. Above the limit of 100,000 population, on the other hand, the greater the population the lower is the rate of growth; for, while the mean rate in the group of Districts with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 is 23.2 per cent., it does not exceed 17.7 per cent. in the group of Districts with populations between 100,000 and 250,000; being still lower (12.1 per cent.) in the yet more populous Districts, and standing no higher than 7.3 per cent. in London. A glance at the last column. of the Table suggests that the slower rate of growth in the larger towns is due to the high degree of density of their population, which would cause an overflow of the population to adjoining areas outside their administrative boundaries.

Administration of Urban Districts

The 25,058,355 persons enumerated in 1901 in the 1,122 Urban Districts were distributed over the several administrative areas as follows: —

London (including the City of London and 28 Metropolitan Boroughs) 4,536,541
67 County Boroughs 9,141,250
248 Municipal Boroughs5 4,027,678
806 Urban Districts other than boroughs 7,352,886

5. London and the Great towns.

Towns with populations exceeding 50,000

Among the 1,122 Urban Districts are 75 (including London) each of which had 1901 a population exceeding 50,000. In the following Table these towns are arranged in the order of their populations in 1901, the figures for 1891 in each case relating to the town as constituted in 1901.

Urban Districts. Enumerated Population. Increase per cent.
1891 1901 1891-1901
Total of 75 Urban Districts 12,730,332 14,506,863 14.0
London (Administrative County) 4,228,317 4,536,541 7.3
Liverpool 629,548 684,958 8.8
Manchester 505,368 543,872 7.6
Birmingham 478,113 522,204 9.2
Leeds 367,505 428,968 16.7
Sheffield 324,243 380,793 17.4
Bristol 289,280 328,945 13.7
Bradford 265,728 279,767 5.3
West Ham 204,903 267,358 30.5
Kingston upon Hull 200,472 240,259 19.8
Nottingham 213,877 239,743 12.1
Salford 198,139 220,957 11.5
Newcastle upon Tyne 186,300 215,328 15.6
Leicester 174,624 211,579 21.2
Portsmouth 159,278 188,133 18.1
Bolton 146,487 168,215 14.8
Cardiff 128,915 164,333 27.5
Sunderland 131,686 146,077 10.9
Oldham 131,463 137,246 4.4
Croydon 102,695 133,895 30.4
Blackburn 120,064 127,626 6.3
Brighton 115,873 123,478 6.6
Willesden 61,265 114,811 87.4
Rhondda 88,351 113,735 28.7
Preston 107,573 112,989 5.0
Norwich 100,970 111,733 10.7
Birkenhead 99,857 110,915 11.1
Gateshead 85,692 109,888 28.2
Plymouth 88,931 107,636 21.0
Derby 94,146 105,912 12.5
Halifax 97,714 104,936 7.4
Southampton 82,126 104,824 27.6
Tottenham 71,343 102,541 43.7
Leyton 63,106 98,912 56.7
South Shields 78,391 97,263 24.1
Burnley 87,016 97,043 11.5
East Ham 32,712 96,018 193.5
Walthamstow 46,346 95,131 105.3
Huddersfield 95,420 95,047 -0.4
Swansea 91,034 94,537 3.8
Wolverhampton 82,662 94,187 13.9
Middlesbrough 75,532 91,302 20.9
Northampton 75,075 87,021 15.9
Walsall 71,789 86,430 20.4
St. Helens 72,413 84,410 16.6
Rochdale 76,161 83,114 9.1
Stockport 70,263 78,897 12.3
York 67,841 77,914 14.8
Aston Manor 68,639 77,326 12.7
Reading 60,054 72,217 20.3
Hornsey 44,523 72,056 61.8
Devonport 55,986 70,437 25.8
Coventry 58,503 69,978 19.6
Merthyr Tydfil 59,004 69,228 17.3
Newport (Mon.) 54,707 67,270 23.0
Ipswich 57,433 66,630 16.0
Hastings 63,072 65,528 3.9
West Bromwich 59,538 65,175 9.5
Warrington 55,288 64,242 16.2
Grimsby 51,934 63,138 21.6
West Hartlepool 42,815 62,627 46.3
Hanley 54,946 61,599 12.1
Wigan 55,013 60,764 10.5
Bootle 49,217 58,556 19.0
Bury 57,212 58,029 1.4
Barrow in Furness 51,712 57,586 11.4
Kings Norton and Northfield 28,300 57,122 101.8
Smethwick 36,106 54,539 51.1
Rotherham 42,061 54,349 29.2
Wallasey 33,229 53,579 61.2
Handsworth (Staffs.) 32,756 52,921 61.6
Stockton on Tees 49,708 51,478 3.6
Tynemouth 46,588 51,366 10.3
Great Yarmouth 49,334 51,316 4.0
Burton upon Trent 46,047 50,386 9.4

In the 75 towns, in the aggregate, the population increased during the decennium by 14.0 per cent., as compared with 12.2 per cent. by which the entire population of England and Wales increased in the same period. Every town shows some increase except Huddersfield, in which there is a very slight decrease, viz., 0.4 per cent., but the rates of increase in the several towns differ greatly. In 18 towns the rates of increase are below 10 per cent., including the four which stand at the head of the list as the most populous— London, 7.3; Liverpool, 8.8; Manchester, 7.6; and Birmingham, 9.2. The town with the highest rate of growth (193.5 per cent.) is East Ham, an Eastern suburb of London, where the population nearly tripled in the decennium, the neighbouring towns of Walthamstow, Leyton, and West Ham showing rates of increase of 105.3, 56.7, and 30.5 per cent. respectively; the rate in Willesden, on the opposite side of London, is 87.4 per cent.; in Hornsey and Tottenham, to the North of London, 61.8 and 43.7 per cent. respectively; and in Croydon, to the South, the rate is 30.4 per cent. Other towns with rates of increase above or near 50 per cent. are Kings Norton & Northfield, Handsworth (Staffs) and Smethwick, all near Birmingham, with 101.8, 61.6 and 51.1 per cent. respectively; Wallasey, at the mouth of the river Mersey, opposite Liverpool, 61.2; and West Hartlepool, 46.3.

Expansion of towns

As was remarked in the Report on the Census in 1891, a falling off in the rate of increase, or even an actual decline, in the population of a great town is not necessarily an indication of a corresponding decline in its prosperity. It may be that, within the circumscribed legal limits of a town, space is required for business premises to such an extent that dwelling houses are acquired for the purpose, and consequently the inhabitants have to seek residences in suburbs outside the administrative boundaries of the town. This has certainly been the case with London, and to this cause may be attributed the rapid development of the suburban places referred to above. on the other hand, it sometimes happens that the boundaries of a town, its limited area closely packed with houses and warehouses, and its volume of commerce constantly requiring expansion of business premises, are extended to include some adjacent areas where there is space for the building of residential or other property. Such an extension of a town must have an important effect on the increase of population within its borders. Liverpool may be taken as an illustration. In the ten years 1881-1891, the population of Liverpool, as constituted in 1891, declined from 552,508 to 517,980, equal to 6.2 per cent. In the year 1895, the City was extended, and the population within the enlarged limits was 623,940 in 1881, 629,548 in 1891, and 684,958 in 1901 (Summary Table XIV.). Thus, had the City of Liverpool included in 1881 and 1891 the suburbs which were added to its area in 1895, its population would have shown in the decennium 1881-1891, instead of a decrease of 6.2 per cent., an increase of 0.9 per cent., the rate of increase rising in the succeeding decennium to 8.8 per cent. The City was further extended in 1902 to include the Urban District of Garston, by which the population, according to the Census in 1901, was raised to 702,247.


The population of London, i.e ., the Administrative County of London, an aggregate of the City of London and twenty-eight Metropolitan Boroughs, increased in the decennium by 7.3 per cent., a rate considerably below the rate of growth in England and and Wales as a whole, viz., 12.2. It was observed in the Report on the Census in 1891 that in the decennium 1881-1891, for the first time, the growth of the London population had been at a somewhat lower rate than that of the population of the entire County. The rates of increase for England and Wales and for London were then 11.7 and 10.4 per cent. respectively, so that the change in the relative positions of England and Wales and its Metropolis, as regards the rate of increase of their populations, which was then manifested, is on the present occasion much more pronounced. The following Table shows the proportion of the aggregate population of England and Wales enumerated in London at each Census, from which it will be observed that the proportion has declined successively from 14.75 per cent. in 1881—the maximum proportion yet attained—to 14.58 and 13.95 per cent. respectively in 1891 and 1901; it is, however, still greater than in any period prior to 1861.

Year of
POPULATION. Persons in London to
100 in
England and Wales.
and Wales.
1801 8,892,536 959,310 10.79
1811 10,164,256 1,139,355 11.21
1821 12,000,236 1,379,543 11.50
1831 13,896,797 1,655,582 11.91
1841 15,914,148 1,949,277 12.25
1851 17,927,609 2,363,341 13.18
1861 20,066,224 2,808,494 14.00
1871 22,712,266 3,261,396 14.36
1881 25,974,439 3,830,297 14.75
1891 29,002,525 4,228,317 14.58
1901 32,527,843 4,536,541 13.95

In the Census Reports of 1881 and 1891, attention was drawn to the gradual decentralization of the population of London. It was shown that, taking a group of Registration Districts to represent approximately the centre of a comprehensive London—the "Greater London" of the Registrar General's Weekly Returns—there had been, during a long period, a decline in their population, while in the Districts round that centre, constituting the remainder of the Registration County of London there had been considerable growth, generally more rapid in the Districts farthest from the centre. In this surrounding area, however, there had been in most cases a tendency for the increase to proceed more and more slowly, the population overflowing into the more distant suburbs, beyond the limits of the Registration or Administrative County, but within those of the Metropolitan Police District and designated in the Registrar-General's Weekly Returns the "Outer Ring."

Central London

Again dividing "Greater London" (the area of the City of London and Metropolitan Police Districts) in this way, but substituting Metropolitan boroughs for Registration Districts, and somewhat revising the central group, we obtain the following list of boroughs in the Central Area, the populations on which the rates for periods anterior to 1891 are based being approximate only on account of the numerous small changes of area effected by the London Government Act of 1899:—

Boroughs in Central Area. Increase or Decrease per cent.
1861-71. 1871-81. 1881-91. 1891-1901.
Total of Central Area -0.0 -1.4 -4.1 -3.4
City of Westminster -3.3 -7.5 -12.1 -9.4
St. Marylebone -1.5 -2.7 -7.4 -7.1
Holborn -0.5 -15.8 -15.1 -11
Finsbury -3.3 -4.3 -7.9 -7.7
City of London -33.2 -32.4 -25.6 -28.6
Shoreditch -1.7 -0.5 -1.6 -4.7
Bethnal Green 14.3 5.7 1.7 0.4
Stepney 7.0 2.6 0.9 4.7
Southwark 0.7 11.5 3.7 1.8
Bermondsey 20.1 10.0 1.0 -3.9
NOTE.—The minus sign in this Table signifies decrease.

It will be noticed that, in some of those boroughs which show a decline in their population in the ten years 1891-1901, the rates of decrease, although not so high as in the preceding decennium, are in excess of those in the ten years 1871-1881; and that those boroughs in which the population did not actually decline generally show a much, diminished rate of increase. In Bermondsey the growth of 10.0 per cent. in 1871-1881 fell to 1.0 per cent. in the next decennium, and gave place to a decrease of 3.9 per cent. in the ten years 1891-1901. In the City of London, which more than any other Borough illustrates the depopulation of. the centre of London, the decrease wept on more rapidly in the last than in the preceding decennium. As regards the Borough of Stepney, which had shown a rapidly diminishing rate of increase in three successive decennia, the higher rate of increase in the ten years 1891-1901 is due to the large number of foreign immigrants who have made this Borough their place of residence. The foreigners in Stepney, who numbered 32,284 in 1891, had increased to 54,310 in 1901. The decrease of population in the Central area in the aggregate was equal to 0.04 per cent. in the ten years 1861-1871 and to 1.4, 4.1 and 3.4 per cent. respectively in the next three decennia; the total loss of population in the forty years being 8.8 per cent.

In all the remaining boroughs in the Administrative County, except St. Pancras where the population was stationary, there was more or less increase of population during the decennium 1891-1901, the highest rates of increase being in the Boroughs farthest removed from the centre, viz., Fulham, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Greenwich, Woolwich, Hampstead, and Hammersmith. In most of the boroughs may be observed the same tendency noticed in preceding Reports, for the rate of increase of population to become less rapid. Taking this entire group of boroughs as an aggregate, the population increased in the last three decennia at the rates of 33.9, 19.7, and 12.8 per cent.

Remaining Boroughs in Inner London. Increase or Decrease per cent.
1861-71. 1871-81. 1881-91. 1891-1901.
Total of Boroughs not in Central Area 35.2 33.9 19.7 12.8
Paddington 26.6 20.8 13.2 5.9
Kensington 71.1 36.9 2.9 3.9
Hammersmith 74.1 68.5 35.2 15.4
Fulham 50.3 83.7 114.0 49.6
Chelsea 13.0 7.4 -0.2 1.2
Hampstead 69.0 40.8 49.9 20.3
St. Pancras 11.4 6.7 -0.4 -0.0
Islington 37.6 32.3 12.8 5.0
Stoke Newington 55.1 114.2 28.4 6.8
Hackney 50.1 42.2 21.9 9.9
Poplar 46.9 34.5 6.6 1.2
Lambeth 28.6 21.8 9.7 8.4
Battersea 175.6 98.6 40.0 12.5
Wandsworth 39.8 45.2 50.7 49.2
Camberwell 55.7 67.6 25.2 11.0
Deptford 42.0 42.9 32.6 8.5
Greenwich -1.7 15.9 20.0 22.0
Lewisham 62.3 43.6 31.8 43.4
Woolwich -1.7 10.4 32.1 18.4
NOTE.—The minus sign in this Table signifies decrease.

Outer Ring of Suburbs

In the "Outer Ring" already referred to, the population increased by 45.5 per cent. in the ten years 1891-1901, the rates of increase in the preceding three decennia having been 50.7, 50.0, and 50.1 per cent. respectively. It would thus appear that, as suggested in the Report for 1891, the overflow of the Metropolitan population may now extend even beyond "Greater London."

Population. Rates of Increase or
Decrease per cent.
1861. 1871. 1881. 1891. 1901. 1861-
Central Area 1,521,424 1,520,832 1,499,364 1,437,185 1,387,960 0.0 -1.4 -4.1 -3.4 -8.8
Rest of Inner London 1,287,070 1,740,564 2,330,933 2,791,132 3,148,581 35.2 33.9 19.7 12.8 144.6
London (or Adminstrative County)
2,808,494 3,261,396 3,830,297 4,228,317 4,536,541 16.1 17.4 10.4 7.3 61.5
Outer Ring 414,226 624,245 936,364 1,405,489 2,044,861 50.7 50.0 50.1 45.5 393.7
Greater London (City of London and Metropolitan Police Districts) 3,222,720 3,885,641 4,766,661 5,633,806 6,581,402 20.6 22.7 18.2 16.8 104.2

Greater London

The inhabitants of "Greater London" now exceed six and a half millions; and, although its growth in the ten years 1891-1901 was less rapid than in preceding, decennia, the rate of growth was not less than 16.8 per cent. The population added in this period amounted to little short of one million.

6. Municipal Boroughs.

At the date of the Census in 1881 there were 243 Municipal Boroughs in England and Wales; in 1891 they had increased to 296,6 and in 1901 numbered 316.6 The 316 in 1901, though including the City of London, are exclusive of the 28 Metropolitan Boroughs, created in 1900, which, in most respects, possess the powers of Municipal Boroughs.

Of the 316 Municipal Boroughs, there were two with populations only just over 1,000 (Hedon, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, with 1,010, and Montgomery with 1 034), and ten others with populations under 2,000, viz., Appleby, Bishops Castle, Cowbridge, Lampeter, Llandovery, Llanfyllin, Lostwithiel, New Romney, Queenborough, and Woodstock. On the other hand, there were eight (all of them County Boroughs) each of which had in 1901 a population exceeding 250,000; the most populous of these being Liverpool, with a population of 684,958, Manchester with 543,872, and Birmingham with 522,204. The aggregate population of the 316 Municipal Boroughs in 1901 was 13,195,851, being 40.6 per cent. of the entire population of England and Wales.

Of the Metropolitan Boroughs, four had populations of over a quarter of a million; these being Islington (334,991), Lambeth (301,895), Stepney (298,600), and Camberwell (259,339).

The constitution of each Borough, whether Municipal or Metropolitan, is shown in Table 9 of each County volume, where also are given the figures for the Wards of those Boroughs which are so divided. A complete list of boroughs for the whole of England and Wales is to be found in Table XI. of the Volume of Summary Tables.

By the Public Health Act of 1875, the areas of Municipal Boroughs, with few exceptions, were constituted Urban Sanitary Districts, and the Town Councils were vested with the powers of Urban Sanitary Authorities. In all cases except two the Municipal Borough is now the area of the Sanitary Authority; the exceptions are Folkestone and Brecknock. In the case of Folkestone, the parish of Folkestone next Sandgate, although included within the Municipal Borough, forms part of Sandgate Urban District; and in that of Brecknock, the parishes of Castle Inn and Christ's College are parts of Brecknock Urban District but do not form part of the Municipal Borough.

7. Parliamentary Areas.

Of the total population of England and Wales in 1901, 51.8 per cent. were resident in Parliamentary Counties and 48.2 per cent. in Parliamentary Boroughs, while the proportions of Electors in that year in these Counties and Boroughs, excluding the Universities, were respectively 56.7 and 43.3 per cent. of the total number. Of the Male population aged 21 years and upwards in the whole of England and Wales, 63 per cent. were registered Voters.

The number of members of the House of Commons for the 468 Parliamentary areas in England and Wales, exclusive of the Universities, is 490, and an equal numerical distribution of the population would therefore give one member to 66,383 persons, against one member to 59,189 in 1891. How far the actual representation departs in either direction from this average is shown in the following statement:—

Constituencies having the
Populations per Representative.
Total Population. Number of Electors
exclusive of those for
the Universities.
Number of
Number of
100,000 and upwards 5,098,219 758,983 41 42
90,000 and under 100,000 3,310,690 515,057 33 35
80,000 and under 90,000 3,770,451 584,260 45 45
70,000 and under 80,000 5,193,455 839,440 66 69
60,000 and under 70,000 5,204,854 852,466 77 81
50,000 and under 60,000 5,760,025 1,028,434 102 106
40,000 and under 50,000 2,614,826 505,037 56 57
30,000 and under 40,000 1,016,171 166,115 23 28
20,000 and under 30,000 351,727 58,899 14 15
10,000 and under 20,000 207,425 63,472 11 12
  32,527,843 5,372,163 468 490
NOTE.—Where an undivided constituency is represented by two members, each member is reckoned in this Table as representing half the population of the entire constituency, which is classified accordingly.

It will be observed that, while there are 77 Constituencies in which the represeptation is approximately in conformity with the average, there are 206 in which the proportion of the population per member is more or less below the average, and 185 in which it is more or less above the average. Of those Constituencies which, from this point of view, may be said to be over-represented, there are eleven in which the population per member is under 20,000, viz., the County of Rutland (19,709), and the Boroughs of Taunton (19,723), Salisbury (19,421), Whitehaven (19,167), Winchester (19,001), Grantham (18,001), Montgomery District of Boroughs (17,791), Penryn and Falmouth (16,312), Bury St. Edmunds (16,255), Durham (15,122), and the City of London (26,923 for two members). On the other hand, there are no fewer than 41 Constituencies in which the number of inhabitants per member is 100,000 or more, extreme examples of such amongst boroughs being Wandsworth (179,877), Cardiff District of Boroughs (167,592), and the South Division of West Ham (161,639); and amongst Counties, the Romford and Walthamstow Divisions of Essex (217,085 and 185,549 respectively), and the Harrow Division of Middlesex (167,392).

It may be further remarked that, taking 70,000 population as a dividing line, there were 112 Constituencies in 1891 with populations above this limit and 356 below it, the numbers in 1901 being 185 and 283 respectively. Seventy-five Constituencies, by increase of population in the decennium, have passed out of the category of the less populous into that of the more populous, while two, through decrease of population, viz., the Holborn Division of Finsbury and the South-West Division of Manchester, are now included in the less populous category. It is noteworthy that in 1901 there were 41 Constituencies with populations exceeding 100,000, while in 1891 there had been only seven.

8. Petty Sessional Divisions and County Court Circuits and Districts.

Petty Sessional Divisions

By means of lists of Civil Parishes comprised within Petty Sessional Divisions, with which we were favoured by the Clerks of the Peace for the several Administrative Counties of England and Wales, it has been possible to tabulate (see Table 7 of each County Part), as in previous Censuses, the population of each Petty Sessional Division; in the same Table are distinguished those Municipal Boroughs which have separate Courts of Quarter Sessions or separate Commissions of the Peace.

As a rule, the Petty Sessional Divisions are constituted of entire Civil Parishes, but there are many instances of a parish being partly included in two Divisions.

In the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, Petty Sessional Divisions as then constituted were made the basis of Parliamentary County Divisions.

County Court Circuits and Districts

For the first time, a Table (Summary Table XVIII.) has been constructed showing the populations of County Court Circuits and Districts, which have been recently re-arranged in accordance with an Order in Council dated 7th March, 1899, as appended by subsequent Orders in Council; the provisions as regards London being, however, in abeyance. The Districts consist of Poor Law Unions or parts of Poor Law Unions, but are not in all cases co-extensive with these administrative areas or with an aggregate of entire Civil Parishes, inasmuch as it is provided in the Order in Council that detached parts of parishes "shall be taken to be within the Court Districts within the precincts and outer boundary of which they severally lie or by which they are severally surrounded, or (if not wholly surrounded by any one Court District) within that County Court District with which they have the greatest common boundary." Moreover, there is no provision for altering a County Court District when the boundaries of a Poor Law Union are changed.

The figures in the Table relate, not to the several Circuits and Districts as they would have been constituted had the scheme been adopted in its entirety, but to those areas as modified by the arrangement for London remaining unaltered at the date of the Census. For example, the Bromley District in Circuit No. 48 consists, according to the scheme, of Bromley Union; but, as the parish of Mottingham is still regarded for County Court purposes as part of the Greenwich and Woolwich District in Circuit No. 47, the figures for Bromley District relate to the Bromley Union exclusive of the parish of Mottingham.

The Circuits, of which there are 54, greatly differ in the extent of their populations; there are six in each of which the population exceeds one million, the most populous of all being Circuit No. 45 (with which for the present is included the Metropolitan Union of Wandsworth and Clapham), with a population of 1,262,680, while the populations of nineteen are each below half a million. The City of London is not comprised in any Circuit.

9. Civil Parishes.

For the purposes of the Relief of the Poor the areas of Ecclesiastical Parishes were originally adopted, but so many changes have since been made in Poor Law or Civil Parishes which have not affected Ecclesiastical Parishes, and so many of the latter have undergone sub-division or alteration, without reference to Civil Parishes, that, out of a total number of 14,900 Civil Parishes in 1901, only 5,1757 were co-extensive with Ecclesiastical Parishes.

Civil Parishes differ greatly both as regards area and population. From the following Table it will be seen that 25 Parishes are without inhabitants, while in 812 the number of inhabitants is under 50, and in 1,339 the number is between 50 and 100; at the opposite extreme are 38 Parishes with populations between 100,000 and 200,000 and 13 with populations over 200,000, the most populous Parish in the whole Country being Islington with 334,991 inhabitants. There is at the present time a tendency to consolidate, for Civil purposes, the separate Parishes within urban Areas.

Nearly half the 14,900 Parishes have populations between 100 and 500.

Population in 1901. Number of
Civil Parishes.
Percentage of all
Civil Parishes.
No population 25 0.2
1 and under 50 812 5.4
50 " 100 1,339 9.0
100 " 500 6,987 46.8
500 " 1,000 2,399 16.1
1,000 " 5,000 2,411 16.2
5,000 " 10,000 413 2.8
10,000 " 20,000 241 1.6
20,000 " 50,000 164 1.1
50,000 " 100,000 58 0.4
100,000 " 200,000 38 0.3
200,000 and upwards 13 0.1
      14,900 100.0

Table XIII. of the Summary Volume shows the numbers of Parishes having populations within various limits in Administrative Counties (together with County Boroughs), and it will be seen that Northumberland has by far the largest proportion of the least populous Parishes, for the inhabitants of more than 50 per cent. of the Parishes in that County are below 100. The North Riding of Yorkshire follows with about 50 per cent. of its Parishes having each a population under 200.

The Civil Parish is the unit for nearly all administrative purposes—County Boroughs, Municipal Boroughs, Urban Districts, Rural Districts, Poor Law Unions, and Registration Districts being, with very few exception, all constituted of entire Civil Parishes. But the Local Government Act of 1894-invested the Rural parish with administrative powers of its own, which are exercised by the Parish Council or by the Parish Meeting according to the population of the Parish. The Act provides that the Parish Meeting shall consist of the parochial electors, and the Parish Council (to which much more extensive powers are granted than to the Parish Meeting) of councillors elected by the parochial electors.

10. Ecclesiastical Provinces, Dioceses and Parishes.

In Table VI. of the Summary Volume are given the number of inhabited houses and the population in each of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Canterbury and York and of the several Dioceses therein comprised; the number of Ecclesiastical Parishes in each is also shown, The constitution of each Diocese is shown in Summary Table VII, from which it may be seen that the Islands in the British Seas are linked with England and Wales for ecclesiastical purposes, the Isle of Man forming the Diocese of Sodor and Man in the Province of York, and the Channel Islands being included in the Diocese of Winchester in the Province of Canterbury.

The aggregate population in the 2.5 Dioceses of the Province of Canterbury is 21,694,387, and that of the 10 Dioceses of the Province of York 10,983,826. The inhabitants in the most populous of the Dioceses number 3,585,209 in London, 2,972,166 in Manchester, and 2,255,084 in Rochester (largely Metropolitan); while the least populous Dioceses are Sodor and Man (54,752), Hereford (215,271), Bangor (221,520) and St. Asaph (288,175).

In England and Wales together with the Islands in the British Seas, there were 14,080 Ecclesiastical Parishes at the date of the Census of 1901; of which 3.7 per cent. had fewer than 100 inhabitants each, 35.4 from 100 to 500, 19.2 from 500 to 1,000, 26.2 from 1,000 to 5,000, and 10.8 from 5,000 to 10,000, while no fewer than 666, or 4.7 per cent. of the parishes had 10,000 or more inhabitants (Summary Table VIII.).

Thus, of the 14,080 parishes in the aggregate, 2,190 or 15.5 per cent. had populations exceeding 5,000. In individual Dioceses, however, the proportion of these populous parishes differed considerably, the highest proportions being 60.7 in the Dioese of London 58.3 in that of Liverpool, 55.7 in that of Rochester, and 47.1 per cent. in that of Manchester ( Summary Table V111.).

11. Density of Population.

The aggregate area of England and Wales, including land and inland water but excluding tidal water and foreshore, is 37,327,479 statute acres or 58,324 square miles, The total population at the date of the Census was 32,527,843, and therefore each square mile would, on the assumption that the population was evenly distributed over the entire area, have been occupied by 558 persons. On the same assumption, the space available for each person would have been 1.15 acres, and the proximity of person to person, or the distance from person to person, 80 yards.

From the following Table, it will be seen how greatly the density of population increased during the Century:—

Date of
Persons per
Square Mile.
Acres per
Proximity in
1801 152 4.20 153
1811 174 3.67 143
1821 206 3.11 132
1831 238 2.69 123
1841 273 2.35 114
1851 307 2.08 108
1861 344 1.86 102
1871 389 1.64 96
1881 445 1.44 90
1891 497 1.29 85
1901 558 1.15 80

The degree of density of population differed widely in various parts of the Country, the aggregation of the inhabitants being determined by the presence or absence of large towns or centres of industry, and by the character of the land or the uses to which it is put.

Taking the Administrative Counties of England together with the associated County Boroughs, the most sparsely inhabited Counties were Westmorland, in which there were only 82 persons to a square mile, Rutlandshire (130) Herefordshire (136), Lincolnshire, the parts of Kesteven (143), Huntingdonshire (148), Isle of Ely (173), Cumberland (176), the North Riding of Yorkshire (177), and Shropshire (178); while, on the other hand, there were in London 38,795, in Middlesex 3,410, in Lancashire 2,346, and p Durham 1,171 persons to a square mile. In Wales there were five Counties having fewer than 100 persons to a square mile, viz., Radnorshire (49), Montgomeryshire (69), Brecknockshire and Merionethshire (74), and Cardiganshire (88); the density of population reaching 1,061 persons to a square mile in Glamorganshire and 320 persons in Flintshire.

1 For details of this estimate, see p. 44.

2 See note to Table on page 20.

3 Bournemouth has since been extended, and the population of the Borough in 1901, as thus enlarged, was 59,762.

4 Aston Manor and Hornsey have since been created Municipal Boroughs.

5 Exclusive of the City of London, but inclusive of the entire Municipal Boroughs of Brecknock and Folkestone. See fourth paragraph on page 32 of this Report.

6 Including County Boroughs.

7 In addition, there were approximately 600 cases in which the Ecclesiastical Parishes was co-extensive with two or more Civil Parishes, and 800 cases of united Benefices in which each formerly separate Benefice was co-extensive with a Civil Parish.

Next Selection Previous Selection