THE latest census figures
have revealed population
declines in four North-East
council areas – despite the
region’s population increasing
for the first time in
decades.
Data from last year’s census
shows there were 2.6
million people living in the
North-East in 2011, compared
to 2.5 million in 2001
– an increase of 2.2 per cent.
The populations of most
local authority areas increased
over the ten years,
however Middlesbrough,
Sunderland, Redcar and
Cleveland and South Tyneside
were among only a
handful of areas nationally
that saw their populations
decline.
Darlington had the
biggest population increase
in the North-East, with an
extra 7,700 now living in the
town – a 7.9 per cent rise.
In North Yorkshire, the
population increased in all
council areas, with Richmondshire’s
10.4 per cent
rise among the biggest.
Professor Ray Hudson,
professor of geography at
Durham University, said
the changes were caused by
a combination of factors,
adding: “The first is simply
economic change; the large
urban economies are continuing
to decline, prompting
people to move on.
“Secondly you have people
moving out to the
fringes of the big towns,
which may be in another
local authority area.
“You then have the retirement
migration where
people are moving into nice
areas where housing is relatively
affordable.”
Nationally, the first results
from the 2011 census
show that the population of
England and Wales surged
by 3.7 million in the past
decade – or 7.1 per cent – to
56.1 million people.
The rise in the North-
East population halts a decline
that has been continuing
since the 1970s.
However, the region still
has the smallest population
in the country and witnessed
the lowest increase.
Prof Hudson said: “I’m
not surprised that the
North-East population has
bottomed out and gone up a
little bit.
“There has been a long
period of industrial decline
– coal mining and ship
building for example – but
that decline has now fallen
off.”
The census showed there
were 10,300 more children
under five living in the
North-East compared with
2001 – a 7.4 per cent increase.
However, the number
of people in the North-
East aged over 65 also
increased to 17.3 per cent.
Middlesbrough was the
most densely populated
area with 2,600 people per
square kilometre, which
equates to about 26 people
on a rugby pitch.

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