On this page you can find material from the book People and Places: A 2001 Census atlas of the UK. To find out more about the book, please go to the book overview.


Some examples of the cartograms and maps in People and Places, together with the associated text, are shown here. The Population cartograms and map are an extract from the book. All of the other cartograms and maps are simplified versions of those in the published book. In each case the left hand cartogram and map show the 2001 value, the right hand map the change since 1991. The Population cartograms and maps show the number of people in each local authority in 2001 together with the change since 1991. The Poverty cartograms and maps show the percentage of households living in poverty in 2001 and the change since 1991. In all the subsequent maps the denominator is the total population, so that for example the Late twenties cartograms and maps show people aged 25-29 as a proportion of the entire population.

Index of maps:
Cities Locator

This cartogram and map show the locations of some of the major cities of the United Kingdom. Full locational details can be found in People and places.

This is an example of the cartograms and maps in People and Places

The population of the UK in 2001, as counted in the 2001 Census, was the infamous One Number: 58,789,194, infamous because it was released as being the most accurate count ever made. It certainly was the most accurate, but it will still be several hundred thousand people adrift of reality in one direction or the other. The comparable figure, following counting and correcting in 1991, as 57,770,226. Thus in 10 years the population is thought to have grown by roughly one million people.

The first map and cartogram pair on this page show the population of each local authority in the UK in 2001. At most almost a million people are living in Birmingham, fewer than in 1991 as most major cities have experienced declining populations other than London [7]. At the least, just over 2,000 people are now recorded as being resident in the Isles of Scilly.

Local authorities tend to be more populous in the North as large metropolitan boroughs were created there in the 1970s. London was split in the 1960s into slightly smaller boroughs. Local authorities have their smallest populations in rural England and Northern Ireland. Outside of London it is these that are growing most in population. Authorities tend to be a little larger in population in Wales and Scotland as these were reorganised in the 1990s to be so. Within both of these countries the population is falling in some parts and rising in others. In general, however, the population of the UK is slowly moving towards the South and particular parts of the South that are now growing very quickly.

This is an example of the cartograms and maps in People and Places

Censuses can aid the estimation of rates of poverty in the UK, but do not contain sufficient information alone to measure poverty. Here we show estimates of the proportions of households living in poverty in 2001 made by combining census data with surveys explicitly designed to measure poverty. Note that the measure of poverty here and hence the rates are for households, not people. The poverty measure used is the Breadline Britain measure that defines a household as poor if the majority of people in Britain, at the time of calculation, would conclude that the resources available to that household constituted living in poverty. Thus, as overall living standards rise, poverty can also rise if society becomes more unequal and more people lack what the majority come to consider to be necessities. In 1991 21% of all households in the UK were poor; by 2001 that proportion had risen to 24%. Poverty is now most concentrated in East Central London and Glasgow [11]. Poverty has risen everywhere save in much of Northern Ireland. It rose the least in Britain in North Tyneside (by only 0.3%) and in Cotswold (by 0.9%). It rose the most in London and in other large urban areas as well as some coastal resorts, and fastest by 13% in Newham.

The method used to calculate this measure of poverty is explained further in the Introduction above [see footnote 4], and was implemented for this atlas by David Gordon at the University of Bristol. This is a preliminary mapping of poverty in 2001. A definitive mapping will require a great deal more work [see the Appendix].

This is an example of the cartograms and maps in People and Places
Late Twenties

We next move from considering four years to five years of life: the late twenties. Some 3.9 million people are aged 25-29, 6.6%, 1.7% down on 1991 [12]. Here the main story is London. The top 12 districts, each with over a tenth of their populations at these ages, are all boroughs in the capital [13]. Of the next 12 a majority are in London and the rest within easy commuting distance of London [14]. Even three of the next 12 districts most popular with 25 to 29-year- olds are in London [15].

London has far more than its fair share of late 20-somethings. Given that, it is even more remarkable that outside Northern Ireland and the Isles of Scilly these proportions are actually rising in the City of London, Camden, and Tower Hamlets, all to 13%, and in Wandsworth to 16% of the population. One in six people in Wandsworth is now aged between 25-29.

Outside of these ghettos of the nearly middle-aged, rates have fallen least where numbers were highest to begin with, in the rest of London, in commuter towns and in cities near London, and around Bristol and Edinburgh to a much lesser extent. Numbers are falling most rapidly in other major cities and in South East London, which is becoming much less the place to be at these ages.

The other remarkable story of this age group is that events in Northern Ireland have finally abated the normal exodus by these ages, at least between 1991- 2001. That population is now nearly stable.

This is an example of the cartograms and maps in People and Places
Late Middle Age

Just when life appeared to be getting dull, everything changes. Late middle age is defined here as the 15 years from 45-59. By 2001 this group comprised some 11.1 million people, 18.9% of the population, up 2.5% on a decade earlier; but note that changing mortality rates begin to influence these maps [18].

London does not hold its charms forever, and with ever growing numbers of young people fighting to enter the Capital, between early and late middle age is the time to leave. Similar trends are seen in other cities such as Manchester, Leicester and Nottingham. This flow, between early and late middle age, from the cities has been long recognised. However, something changed during the 1990s and what was a trickle became a flood.

A dividing line is emerging between the places to leave and the places to head for. As people enter late middle age they leave London, the greater Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds conurbations, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and the districts east of Cardiff. For those that could afford it, early retirement began in earnest during the decade of change shown here. Those, who could, moved to the South West, Mid Wales, the more rural Midlands and East Anglia, Cumbria and northern Scotland. Just as the young were leaving the countryside, the old entered, or forced the young out, by buying the homes the young people might have bought. Additionally, or alternatively, older people may have left the cities in greater numbers because so many more young people were entering. We cannot be sure of the precise drivers but whatever went on occurred in a way that is now clear to see in its effect.

This is an example of the cartograms and maps in People and Places
Muslim and Hindu

The two largest non-Christian religions in Britain are Islam and Hinduism, with 1.6 and 0.6 million people affiliated to each respectively, 2.8% and 1.0% of the population. It is for these religions that the census question is most likely to have produced results that can be clearly interpreted. The largest part of the Christian religion is affiliated with the state churches, and thus many people may tick the Christian box without actually holding many Christian beliefs or taking part in many Christian practises. The same is unlikely to be true to the same extent for other religions.

People affiliated to the Muslim religions are most likely to be found in North London, Birmingham, Leicester and in some Pennine towns. Just over a third of the population of Tower Hamlets are Muslim, the next largest proportion is just under a quarter of the population of Newham, then just under a fifth of Blackburn with Darwen (in Lancashire) [5]. After Islam, Britain's third largest religion, Hinduism, has most of its followers living in suburban London, Leicester and Oadby & Wigston (in Leicestershire) [6]. The geographical locations of these two religious groups are closely linked to geographies of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian ethnic groups, as can be seen from the following maps in this chapter. However, there is no simple mapping from ethnicity to religion, and thus the differences between the maps of ethnic and religious identity highlight where religious affiliations are less easily attributed to ethnic identity.

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Black African

In 2001, 0.57 million people were of Black African or White/Black African ethnicity. We have combined these two categories to allow comparison to be made with the number of Black Africans in the UK in 1991 (0.23 million). It is very important to note that a large part of this rise will be due to the inclusion of the mixed group here in 2001. Many people who would have chosen this option, had it been offered in 1991, may instead have chosen the White or Black Other labels at that time. Thus the rise in proportion of 0.56% from 0.40% to 0.96% of the population is partly due to changing labels on the census forms.

The highest proportions of Black African people are all found in a few London boroughs where more than a tenth of the population now tick these boxes: Hackney (12.8%), Lambeth (12.4%), Newham (13.8%) and Southwark (16.9%). Some 51.1% of all Black Africans lived in their most populous 13 districts in 2001 [20]. In 1991 these 13 areas contained 54.0% of all Black Africans in Britain, and so again we see geographical dispersal of a small population through large relative rises for very small populations in many areas [21]. Outside of London the Black African population has increased by just over a percent of the population in only six places: Manchester (to 2.3%), Luton (to 2%), Reading (to 1.8%), Slough (to 2.1%), Watford (to 1.2%) and Leicester (to 1.4%). Part of these increases will be due to the inclusion of the mixed category in our comparisons. Less than a tenth of one percent of the population were Black African in 150 districts in the UK in 2001.

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Born in Empire India

The sixth largest group of people living in the UK by country of birth are those born in what was India by its boundaries as they existed when it was part of the British Empire (India and Pakistan gained independence in 1947, Bangladesh was established in 1971). Depending on when they are born, two people born in the same place can be born in different countries and so we have amalgamated these three nations. A total of 0.94 million people living in the UK in 2001 were born within the boundaries of Empire India, 1.6% of the population, 0.3% more than a decade ago.

The population has fallen in many costal districts, particularly along the south coast [6]. These falls are mainly due to the deaths of former colonial officers born in India and their children, who left around the time of independence and before.

The population born in Empire India, has risen mainly in cities [7], and by more than 2% only in Newham (mainly Bangladesh born increase), Redbridge (largest proportionate increase is of Pakistani born) and Tower Hamlets (mainly Bangladeshi born rise).

In 1991, 54.7% of all people born in Empire India living in Britain said they were born in what is now India; by 2001 that proportion had fallen to 49.6%. A majority of people now living in Britain born in what was India before 1947 were born in Pakistan or Bangladesh. The deaths of older people born in India have contributed to that change as much as has the increase of 49,000 people born in Bangladesh and 87,000 people born in Pakistan since 1991.

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International Migration

The national census asks people where they were living a year before the census was taken. A total of 0.4 million people living in the UK in 2001 were living abroad at the same time in the year 2000. Many of these people will have lived in the UK before, and a proportion of these will have been born in the UK, so this is not a count of the number of people immigrating to the UK. At 0.7% of the total population, the proportion is 0.1% higher than that recorded in 1991, mainly reflecting higher rates of international travel over time. However, changes in the national and international housing markets over the decade will have also increased mobility. A similar proportion of the population counted in the 2001 Census as living in the UK was probably living overseas a year later in 2002.

London, the Home Counties and university towns and cities attract the bulk of international migrants. They will also include UK armed forces who were stationed overseas a year before the censuses were taken, and their locations explain some of the areas which have experienced a decline in international migrants over time. The three largest declines in the UK of the decade are all associated with areas where large numbers of US armed forces travelled to the UK between 1990 and 1991 [20]. The largest rises in the proportions of the population who were international migrants were recorded almost exclusively in areas with large universities, but also in three of the parts of central London traditionally associated with international migration [21].

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University Degrees

The holding of a university degree or its equivalent has been recorded at successive censuses, and thus we can measure the extent to which the geographical distribution of people holding this highest general level of qualification has changed over time. The first map and cartogram shown here are identical to the first shown on the last page, of people with level four and five qualifications, except that a slightly different scale has been used to shade these figures [7]. Thus, again, the same 8.3 million people, 14% of the population in 2001, are being shown, but now alongside the change from the 5.8 million people, 10% of the population in 1991, who then held equivalent qualifications at these ages. Note that everyone aged 18+ was asked if they had a degree in 1991 and we are thus including some people then aged 75+.

Although nowhere has seen their proportion of graduates in the population decrease, it has not risen in the retirement areas of Christchurch, Purbeck and Rother, and has hardly risen in many other districts away from the capital and the major cities. In contrast, the proportion in the City of London has risen by thirty percentage points and next fastest in Westminster by twenty-one percentage points, from 18% of the population there in 1991 to 39% in 2001. It was, of course, during the 1990s in Westminster that the local council illegally worked to change the characteristics of the local population through encouraging particular forms of selective migration [8]. However, as we see below, London continues to be home to large numbers of people with poor economic prospects.

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Full Time at Home

'Economically inactive - other' is the official title for this fifth possible option people have to tick on the census form. If you are not working, but are neither unemployed, in education, neither sick nor retired, what else are you doing between the ages of 16-74? The large majority of these 4.1 million people are caring for their children, unpaid, full time. They make up 7.0% of the population, far less than the 9.6% or 5.5 million who ticked this box in 1991. Numbers of children who need to be looked after have risen, so this decline is not due to lack of demand [see Chapter 2, footnote 7]. Instead it is caused by increased use of childcare and the rise in part-time working. Both the geography of 'Full time at home' and the changes to that geography are fascinating.

The 2001 geography is of a high proportion of the population being in this group in many cities and North London. In some areas it is where there is a high proportion of lone parents, in others it is where there are high numbers of people in particular ethnic groups. Why high rates should stretch across almost the whole of North London is difficult to fathom, unless childcare costs are so high that it is cheaper for a significant proportion of parents to stay at home there? Although the proportions have fallen generally, they have fallen faster in retirement areas, which may be due to women being more likely over time to label themselves as 'retired' rather than 'housewife'. The areas where there has been a rise in 'Economically inactive - other' are not dissimilar to those where the proportions of children have risen most [19].

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Elementary Occupations

In contrast to the semi-skilled work required to operate machinery, unskilled occupations are on the rise. The elementary trades included here are plant and storage related occupations (such as stacking shelves), elementary administrative jobs (such as filing) and elementary service occupations (such as cleaning). In 2001, 3.2 million people (5.4%) worked in these kinds of occupations, a massive rise from 2.1 million (3.7%) in 1991, second only in magnitude to that seen in the numbers employed in associate professional work. There are only six areas of the country where the proportions engaged in such routine work have fallen or remained static [17].

Elementary employment has risen most quickly in a set of districts that ring the Home Counties, in new towns such as Milton Keynes and Stevenage and former garden cities such as Wellingborough, places never designed to become centres of such work. What could be causing this rise, why now and why in these places (Islington, Alnwick, Eilean Siar, Moray, Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands)? One reason could be the rise in demand for servants, for people to cook, clean and garden for others. This partly accounts for 11.0% of the population of the otherwise affluent Isles of Scilly being employed in these jobs, largely in the hotel trade. Another reason could be that in some areas agriculture has become more labour intensive. This certainly accounts for some of the areas of highest concentration [18]. Elsewhere a whole range of reasons may account for these changes, but in general the UK now employs a much higher proportion of its workforce in the lowest paid jobs, as well as many more in the higher paid ones.

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The decline in employment in manufacturing that was the major feature of comparisons made between the 1981 and 1991 Censuses continued throughout the 1990s. Second only in speed to the final decline of the mining industries, the numbers employed in manufacturing were reduced from 4.4 million (7.6%) in 1991 to 3.9 million (6.7%) by 2001. Nowhere does the rump still working in the northern half of England employ more than 15.7% of the population (Corby still employs the most, but it employed 16.2% a decade ago). The largest falls have been around the East and West Midlands and in the North West of England, and in other places that still had a significant industry to lose [28]. It had already departed from other areas traditionally associated with this industry by 1991.

What is most surprising about the map of change is not the areas of decline but where there has been a growth in work in manufacturing despite the overall falls, in Wales, around the coasts and in Central London. The largest increases have been in Copeland, where an additional 5.0% of the population are now employed in manufacturing. It is not easy to discover what led to the renaissance of industry in this Cumbrian district most closely associated with the town of Whitehaven. The rise of many small-scale and small production run projects rather than the success of a single large employer may well account for an increase which, like the rural rise in machine operatives, may not amount to much actual additional production.

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Two Parents, One Working

The traditional form of family structure for children in the UK is of there being two parents in a household, one of whom is working. Only 9.7% of people in the UK now live in such households with children, 5.7 million people, down from 12.4% in 1991 (then 7.2 million people). This form of household has become more rare almost everywhere despite there now being fewer two-parent households in which neither parent works [4].

The traditional one earner, two adults and children household is most commonly found in the more rural parts of Northern Ireland, and in some suburbs of London, as well as in former mining areas. The 10 highest rates are in: Chiltern, Forest Heath, Elmbridge, Cookstown, Dungannon, Limavady, Magherafelt, Newry & Mourne, Omagh and Strabane. This is an eclectic group of areas. It is where work is scarce or childcare costs are high, as well as where people still believe that one parent should stay at home, perhaps, that the traditional family is still found to make up between 13.7% and 16.3% of the population as it does in those 10 places.

For Northern Ireland the list of places corresponds closely to those areas which have the highest proportions (between 5.6% and 12.1%) of two-adult families with children in which neither adult works: Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets (the highest), Easington, Cookstown, Derry, Dungannon, Newry & Mourne, Omagh and Strabane. The list of places where less than 1% fall into this group is too long to include here [see footnote 6].

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Illness, Disability and Adults

The equivalent maps and cartograms for adults are shown on this page, illustrating how rates of limiting long-term illness have risen everywhere for them, but most clearly outside of a great circle of districts which surround Greater London. In 1991, 6.7 million people aged 16 or over suffered from a limiting long-term illness, 11.5% of the population. By 2001 that number had risen to 10.3 million people, 17.6% of all people living in the UK.

The cartogram and map of both the current distribution of these disabilities and their changes are some of the simplest of all the patterns to have been shown in this atlas. Illness rates are still highest where heavy industry was formally most concentrated, especially in coal mining areas [16]. Rates are lowest in the very core of the Home Counties and in the most affluent parts of London [17]. These illness rates tend to increase with age, but clearly local geography is more important even than this, and is becoming even more a determinant of people's chances of being ill over time. Rates of illness are rising most slowly in the South East because people are unlikely to move here if they are ill; they simply cannot afford to. If they become ill they may very well have to leave the area, and if they are no longer working they will have less reason to stay. Rates are increasing most quickly where the population is both ageing and was unlikely to have lived in more affluent areas when they were younger. The UK is becoming more clearly divided by its geography of long-term illness and disability as each year passes.

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Two Cars

Both the maps of where people are most likely to live in households with access to two cars and of the changes in those proportions are easier to interpret than that of single car access. The number of people of driving age [see footnote 1] who have access to two cars in their household rose from 10.4 million to 12.7 million, 18% to 22%, over the course of the decade. It fell only in a well-defined part of London where, as is becoming clear, car use fell over this time period [4].

On the cartogram of the pattern of access to two cars in 2001 two rings are visible. One almost encircles London, the other surrounds the West Midlands conurbation. A further ring can perhaps be imagined starting in North Yorkshire and beginning to encompass the combined conurbations of the North West and Yorkshire. Within these rings the cartogram of change suggests there is a zone of little growth in people having access to two cars. Outside of the rings are some of the areas of greatest growth, seen especially in rural Scotland, Northern Ireland and the more isolated parts of England and Wales. It is, however, still in only the most affluent of places that a high proportion of people have access to two cars through their household. The highest proportion in the country is 35% in Surrey Heath, where a further 15% of the population have access to three or more cars and only 3% to no car. The list of the areas where people in households are most likely to have two vehicles tends towards more rural wealthy areas, but includes nowhere outside of England so is not a pattern of rural necessity [5].

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Owned Outright

Just as there are an increasing number of people who own their own private means of transport outright (cars), rapidly growing numbers are now the sole owners of their own homes. Just as with cars, we are measuring tenure in terms of people, rather than households. In terms of people the greatest rise in tenure has been in outright ownership, up 5%, to now stand at 24% of the population in 2001, 14.0 million people as compared to 10.8 million in 1991. On the map the coasts of England and rural Wales and Northern Ireland where the population is most elderly stand out most clearly.

Because most property is only owned outright once a mortgage on it (or on another property) has been paid off, and that can take 25 years or more, this is largely a map of where the more affluent elderly now live or where home ownership is common and homes are relatively cheap [16]. The cartogram is most useful for highlighting how the growth in this tenure group is most concentrated in that now familiar ring of areas surrounding London [17]. Here it is increasingly people who are simply very wealthy, rather than relatively wealthy and old, who can afford to buy outright. Note too that in some generally poorer places the proportion owning outright is falling as an older generation who owned their homes there and brought in better economic times, die out, or where other tenures are on the rise for other reasons [18]. As outright ownership falls in a few places, is stable in many more, and grows in some of the most affluent parts of the UK, then inequalities in wealth will be polarising across the country too.

Footnotes and Appendix

The footnotes and appendix referred to in the text accompanying the above cartograms and maps are not reproduced here. They can be found in People and Places published by Policy Press.