Skip to content

Regional Profiles: Key Statistics - North West, August 2012

Released: 13 August 2012 Download PDF

Also in this release

Population density: by local or unitary authority, 2010

Map showing range of population density in local or unitary authority areas within the North West region
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. Mid-year population estimates published on 30 June 2011

Download chart

  • PNG
    (206.4 Kb)

Download chart data

Interactive map

The North West region is the third largest region or country in the UK in population terms, with 6.9 million people in mid-2010, despite being the eighth in terms of area at 14,100 square kilometres (sq km) and covering 6 per cent of the total area of the UK.

Since 2001, its population increased by 2.4 per cent, compared with an increase of 5.3 per cent for the UK over the same period.

Over 87 per cent of the population of the North West live in urban areas, contributing to the second highest regional population density in the UK, 490 people per sq km, compared with London at 4,980 people per sq km.

Within the region population density varies widely. The region has the second largest area of National Parks in England, the highest mountain (Scafell Pike) and the largest lake (Windermere). It also has two large conurbations, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

Merseyside has 1.4 million residents living in 645 sq km, equivalent to 2,100 people per sq km. In comparison, Cumbria is largely rural with approximately 0.5 million residents living in 6,800 sq km, equivalent to 70 people per sq km.

The North West region contributed nearly 10 per cent of the UK’s GVA.

Between 2001 and 2011 the increase of traffic on major roads was higher in the region (5.9 per cent) than in England (3.9 per cent).

The employment rate in the region stood at 68.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the UK rate of 70.5 per cent.

In April 2011, the median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees on adult rates who were resident in the North West was £460, lower than the UK median of £501.

In 2010 gross disposable household income (GDHI) of North West residents was £14,200 per head.

In the North West, 58.4 per cent of pupils achieved five or more grades A*–C at GCSE level or equivalent including English and mathematics in 2010/11, the same as for England as a whole. There is an interactive map of GCSE results for unitary authorities in England.

The proportion of children living in workless households in the fourth quarter of 2011 was higher in the North West (17.8 per cent) than the England average (15.7 per cent).

There was a 2.3 per cent decrease in house prices in the North West in 2011.

Life expectancy at birth in the North West in the three-year period 2008 to 2010 was 77.0 years for males and 81.1 years for females compared with 78.2 and 82.3 years respectively for the UK.

The Regional Trends 43 article 'Rural and urban areas: comparing lives using rural/urban classifications' (2.81 Mb Pdf) looks at rural and urban areas statistically for several themes including population, using geographical classifications.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes and sources:

    All data are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) unless stated below.

    The data section of this release provides more data.

    Population estimates and population density are for 30 June each year. The mid-2010 population estimates are those published on 30 June 2011.

    Gross value added (GVA) measures the economic output of an area. The estimates are workplace based, which allocates the incomes of individuals to their place of work.

    Major roads are motorways and A roads. Traffic increase data are from the Department for Transport.

    Employment rates are seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline indicators, for all people aged 16 to 64.

    Median gross weekly earnings are residence-based estimates from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence.

    Gross disposable household income (GDHI) is a good indicator of the welfare of residents of an area. It covers the income received by households and non profit-making institutions serving households and is net of tax payments.

    GCSE figures relate to pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in Local Authority maintained schools only and are taken from revised (but not final) data published on 26 January 2012. GCSE data are from the Department for Education.

    Workless households for areas across the UK provides more information about the employment of household and the adults and children living in them.

    The House Price Index is based on mix-adjusted house prices, which allow for differences between houses sold (for example type, number of rooms, location). The annual rate of change shown is percentage change between December 2010 and December 2011.

    Life expectancy figures reflect mortality among those living in the area in each time period, rather than mortality among those born in each area. More information is available in Guide to: Life expectancy in the United Kingdom.

  2. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:

  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Regional Profiles - Population and Migration - North West, October 2011 - Key facts and figures about population and migration statistics for the North West region.
Regional Profiles - Social Indicators - North West - February 2012 - A range of social statistics for the North West region providing key facts and figures about people, lives, income and lifestyles in the area
Regional Profiles: Economy - North West, May 2012 - Key facts and figures about the economy, employment and unemployment for the North West region.
Regional Trends, No. 43 - Portrait of the North West, 2011 Edition (Pdf 1392Kb) - The Portrait of the North West presents a wide range of data giving an overview of what it is like to live or work in the North West. The article provides a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the region. It includes information for districts, unitary and local authorities which allows comparison between the various areas and the rest of the UK.

Related Internet links

The ONS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.