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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 19:39 GMT
Analysis: What does the census say?

The key statistics which explain what modern Britain looks like have been released from the 2001 census - but what do they tell us?
The UK population is ageing. Between 1991-2001 this process continued, but only in some areas of the country.

In general the population aged 75+ is growing rapidly but that pattern is not universal. Metropolitan areas (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Northern Ireland have had decreases in their 75+ populations.

This decrease is driven by migration out of big cities into smaller cities, towns and the countryside.

The areas of southern and northern Britain outside metropolitan areas have experienced substantial increase in the elderly population.

Open in new window : Census 2001
The numbers at-a-glance

The seaside resorts around the coast, which were formerly the preferred destinations of retirement migrants no longer experience the greatest ageing because these retirees are dying and being replaced by younger migrants (as in Brighton).

Household growth

The number of households with two or more cars continues its upward path.

Particularly high increases were recorded in the urban areas of Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

THE FACE OF BRITAIN
What do we look like? How do we live?
Belfast tops the list with a percentage increase of 51%, with Derry, Edinburgh and West Dunbartonshire increasing by over 20%.

In contrast many areas in rural Scotland have experienced quite small increases or the occasional decrease in the percentage of households which have two or more cars available.

For example, the Highland Council Area saw a fall in the percentage of households with two or more cars by nearly ten percent.

In and around London the growth of two car households has been much lower than in the rest of the UK.

This may help London Mayor Ken Livingstone's plans to reduce traffic congestion in the centre of the capital.

People living alone

There has been an overall increase of 23% in single-persons households in the UK between 1991 and 2001.

In particular, single-person households under pensionable age rose by 47%, whereas single-person households over pensionable age increased by 4.6%.

ETHNIC MINORITIES
The greatest change can be seen in Greater London, particularly in Hounslow, Lewisham, Croydon, Tower Hamlets, Harrow and Redbridge

Prof Philip Rees
It is interesting to investigate the changes in the single person households as shares of the population across different areas in the country.

The largest increases among single person households under pensionable age occurred in Greater Glasgow and North East London.

Similar increases were also observed in the coastal areas of Sussex, Liverpool and Manchester.

There have been relative increases in single person households over pensionable age as a share of the total population in Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, Merseyside and Suffolk.

Nevertheless, there have been decreases in elderly single person households as a share of the total population in most districts.

The most significant decrease occurred in Camden, where elderly singletons as a percentage of all households dropped from 28% in 1991 to 23% in 2001.

People with degrees

All local authorities show an increase in the percentage of adults achieving a degree level education.

The changes range from an increase of 2 % in the share of adults with degrees in Great Yarmouth (which increased from 7 % in 1991 to 9 % in 2001) to an increase of 44 % in the City of London, with the increase being from 16 % in 1991 to 60 % in 2001.

Overall it is clear that London and the South East, together with Northern Ireland, have the greatest increase in the proportion of degree-educated adults.

Ethnic minority changes

Ethnic minority populations have increased their share of the population in most local authorities in the UK, although some areas such as Newcastle and Rugby have seen decreases.

On the other hand, Luton, Birmingham, Leicester and Blackburn have seen an increase in their ethnic minority shares of greater than five percent since 1991 with the conurbations of Manchester, Bradford and Oldham seeing an increase of around the 3-5% mark.

The greatest change can be seen in Greater London, particularly in Hounslow, Lewisham, Croydon, Tower Hamlets, Harrow and Redbridge.

Newham has seen the greatest increase in its ethnic minority share with an increase of 18% over the 1991-2001 decade.


Phil Rees is professor of population geography and head of the School of Geography at the University of Leeds


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