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List of urban areas in the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of the most populous urban areas in the United Kingdom based on the 2011 census, as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The methodology used by ONS in 2011 is set out in 2011 Built-up Areas – Methodology and Guidance, published in June 2013. When ONS reported the results of the 2011 UK census, it used the term "built-up area" rather than the term "urban area" as used in previous censuses. ONS states, however, that the criteria used to define "built-up area" have not changed:[1]

the definition follows a ‘bricks and mortar’ approach, with areas defined as built-up land with a minimum area of 20 hectares (200,000 m2), while settlements within 200 metres of each other are linked. Built-up area sub-divisions are also identified to provide greater detail in the data, especially in the larger conurbations.

In reporting the 2001 census, ONS gave a clearer definition of the term "built-up" as follows:

This comprises permanent structures and the land on which they are situated, including land enclosed by or closely associated with such structures; transportation corridors such as roads, railways and canals which have built up land on one or both sides, or which link built-up sites which are less than 200 metres apart; transportation features such as airports and operational airfields, railway yards, motorway service areas and car parks; mine buildings, excluding mineral workings and quarries; and any area completely surrounded by builtup sites. Areas such as playing fields and golf courses are excluded unless completely surrounded by builtup sites...[2]

List of most populous urban areas

The list below shows the most populated urban areas in the United Kingdom as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), but as readily referenced at The list includes all urban areas with a population in excess of 100,000 at the 2011 census.[3]

# Area[4] Population
Area (km2)[note 1] Density (People/km2) Primary sub-divisions[note 2] Metropolitan Area[5][note 3] Notable changes from 2001 to 2011[6][note 4]
1 Greater London Built-up Area 9,787,426 1,737.9 5,630 London boroughs, Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Woking, Harlow, St Albans, Bracknell London Guildford, Harlow, Bracknell and St Albans added.
2 Greater Manchester Built-up Area 2,553,379 630.3 4,051 Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Trafford, Tameside Manchester Golborne, Glossop and Newton-le-Willows added.
3 West Midlands Built-up Area 2,440,986 598.9 4,076 Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Dudley, Walsall, Solihull Birmingham
4 West Yorkshire Built-up Area 1,777,934 487.8 3,645 Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Keighley, Halifax Leeds-Bradford Halifax added
5 Greater Glasgow Built-up Area 957,620 368.5 3,390 Glasgow, Paisley, Clydebank, Rutherglen, Newton Mearns, Bearsden, Cambuslang, Clarkston, Bishopbriggs Glasgow
6 Liverpool Built-up Area 864,122 199.6 4,329 Liverpool, Bootle, Litherland, Crosby, Prescot, St. Helens, Ashton-in-Makerfield Liverpool/ Birkenhead Ashton-in-Makerfield added
7 South Hampshire Built-up Area 855,569 192.0 4,455 Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Horndean Southampton-Portsmouth Portsmouth Urban Area and Southampton Urban Area combined.

Hedge End, Locks Heath, Bursledon and Whiteley added. Stubbington and Lee-on-the-Solent removed.

8 Tyneside Built-up Area 774,891 180.5 4,292 Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South Shields, Tynemouth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay, Jarrow Newcastle-Sunderland Washington, Chester-Le-Street, Hetton-le-Hole and Houghton-le-Spring removed.
9 Nottingham Built-up Area 729,977 176.4 4,139 Nottingham, Beeston, Carlton, West Bridgford, Ilkeston, Hucknall Nottingham-Derby
10 Sheffield Built-up Area 685,368 167.5 4,092 Sheffield, Rotherham, Rawmarsh Sheffield
11 Bristol Built-up Area 617,280 144.4 4,274 Bristol, Filton, Pill, Frampton Cotterell, Kingswood, Warmley, Mangotsfield, Winterbourne Bristol
12 Belfast Urban Area 595,879 Belfast, Castlereagh, Greenisland, Holywood, Lisburn, Newtownabbey Belfast
13 Leicester Built-up area 508,916 109.4 4,653 Leicester, Wigston, Oadby, Syston, Blaby, Birstall, Narborough, Enderby Leicester Ratby removed and Narborough and Enderby added
14 Edinburgh 482,270 125 4,172 Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Wallyford Edinburgh
15 Brighton and Hove Built-up area 474,485 89.4 5,304 Brighton and Hove, Worthing, Littlehampton, Shoreham-by-Sea Brighton Rottingdean, Saltdean and Findon removed.
16 Bournemouth/Poole Built-up area 466,266 131.0 3,559 Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ferndown, New Milton, Wimborne Minster Bournemouth/ Poole Ferndown and Wimborne Minster added.
17 Cardiff Built-up area 447,287 102.3 4,370 Cardiff, Caerphilly, Penarth, Pontypridd Cardiff-Newport Caerphilly and Pontypridd added.
18 Teesside Built-up area 376,633 108.2 3,482 Middlesbrough, Stockton-On-Tees, Billingham, Redcar Middlesbrough Eston & Southbank added to Middlesbrough sub-division, no longer counted as separate sub-division
19 Stoke-on-Trent Built-up Area 372,775 103.9 3,588 Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Kidsgrove Stoke-on-Trent
20 Coventry Built-up area 359,262 81.3 4,420 Coventry, Bedworth Coventry
21 Sunderland Built-up area 335,415 83.5 4,018 Sunderland, Washington, Chester-Le-Street, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Spring Newcastle-Sunderland Washington, Chester-Le-Street, Hetton-le-Hole and Houghton-le-Spring added.
22 Birkenhead Built-up area 325,264 88.2 3,687 Birkenhead, Wallasey, Ellesmere Port, Bebington Liverpool/ Birkenhead
23 Reading Built-up area 318,014 83.7 3,800 Reading, Wokingham, Woodley, Crowthorne London Bracknell removed.
24 Kingston upon Hull Built-up area 314,018 82.6 3,802 Kingston upon Hull, Cottingham, Hessle Hull
25 Preston Built-up area 313,322 82.4 3,802 Preston, Bamber Bridge, Chorley, Fulwood, Leyland Preston Longton and Adlington added.
26 Newport Built-up area 306,844 84.2 3,643 Newport, Pontypool, Cwmbran, Blackwood, Risca, Ystrad Mynach Cardiff-Newport Pontypool, Cwmbran and Blackwood added.
27 Swansea Built-up area 300,352 87.6 3,431 Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Ystradgynlais, Pontardawe Swansea/ Neath/ Port Talbot Ystradgynlais added.
28 Southend-on-Sea Built-up area 295,310 71.8 4,111 Southend-on-Sea, Hullbridge, Rayleigh, Rochford London Hullbridge added.
29 Derby Built-up area 270,468 64.1 4,219 Derby, Borrowash, Duffield Nottingham-Derby
30 Plymouth Built-up area 260,203 59.7 4,356 Plymouth Plymouth
31 Luton Built-up area 258,018 50.7 5,088 Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis London
32 Farnborough/Aldershot Built-up area 252,397 78.5 3,217 Farnborough, Aldershot, Camberley, Farnham, Frimley, Sandhurst, Yateley London
33 Medway Towns Built-up area 243,931 52.2 4,677 Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester London
34 Blackpool Built-up area 239,409 61.3 3,908 Blackpool, Lytham St Annes, Poulton-le-Fylde, Thornton, Cleveleys Blackpool Fleetwood removed.
35 Milton Keynes Built-up area 229,941[7] 62.5 3,678 'Milton Keynes',[note 5] Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, Woburn Sands Milton Keynes Woburn Sands added.
36 Barnsley/Dearne Valley Built-up area 223,281 59.7 3,739 Barnsley, Wath upon Dearne, Wombwell, Hoyland Sheffield
37 Northampton Built-up area 215,963 57.9 3,731 Northampton, Collingtree Northampton
38 Norwich Built-up area 213,166 61.9 3,444 Norwich, Taverham, Costessey, Cringleford, Colney, Horsham St Faith, Queens Hills, Thorpe End, Trowse with Newton Norwich
39 Aberdeen 208,190 69.5 3,050 Aberdeen Aberdeen
40 Swindon Built-up area 185,609 47.1 3,945 Swindon, Haydon Wick, Stratton St. Margaret, Broad Blunsdon, Blunsdon St Andrew, Wroughton Swindon
41 Crawley Built-up area 180,508 58.1 3,107 Crawley, Horley, East Grinstead, Copthorne, Crawley Down London East Grinstead, Copthorne added and Crawley Down.

Reigate and Redhill removed.

42 Ipswich Built-up area 178,835 49.1 3,639 Ipswich, Kesgrave, Woodbridge Ipswich Woodbridge added
43 Wigan Built-up area 175,405 43.8 4,009 Wigan, Skelmersdale, Standish, Ince-in-Makerfield Manchester
44 Mansfield Built-up area 171,958 48.4 3,556 Mansfield, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Mansfield Woodhouse Nottingham-Derby
45 Oxford Built-up area 171,380 37.4 4,585 Oxford, Kennington, Wheatley Oxford Kennington and Wheatley added
46 Warrington Built-up area 165,456 44.9 3,686 Warrington Liverpool/ Birkenhead
47 Slough Built-up area 163,777 34.1 4,797 Slough, Stoke Poges, Poyle London
48 Peterborough Built-up area 163,379 44.2 3,693 Peterborough, Farcet Peterborough
49 Cambridge Built-up area 158,434 42.1 3,760 Cambridge, Fen Ditton, Girton, Histon Cambridge Histon and Impington and Fen Ditton added.
50 Doncaster Built-up area 158,141 43.5 3,634 Doncaster, Bentley, Armthorpe, Sprotbrough Sheffield Bessacarr added.
51 Dundee 157,550 49.9 3,180 Dundee, Monifieth, Invergowrie Dundee
52 York Built-up area 153,717 34.0 4,518 York, Earswick York
53 Gloucester Built-up area 150,053 40.4 3,718 Gloucester, Innsworth Gloucester-Cheltenham
54 Burnley Built-up area 149,422 35.7 4,183 Burnley, Padiham, Brierfield, Colne, Barrowford, Nelson Blackburn-Burnley
55 Telford Built-up area 147,980 47.7 3,103 Telford, Broseley Telford
56 Blackburn Built-up area 146,521 35.6 4,115 Blackburn, Darwen Blackburn-Burnley
57 Basildon Built-up area 144,859 37.1 3,902 Basildon, Wickford, Ramsden Heath, North Benfleet London Wickford added.
58 Grimsby built-up area 134,160 35.3 3,804 Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Waltham Grimsby New Waltham removed.
59 Hastings Built-up area 133,422 33.2 4,019 Hastings, Bexhill Hastings
60 High Wycombe Built-up area 133,204 39.2 3,398 High Wycombe, Cookham, Hughenden Valley London
61 Thanet Built-up area 125,370 27.9 4,495 Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs Thanet
62 Accrington/Rossendale Built-up area 125,059 30.0 4,168 Accrington, Rawtenstall, Bacup, Great Harwood, Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle, Church Blackburn-Burnley Accrington and Rossendale areas combined.
63 Motherwell Built-up area 124,540 45.1 2,765 Motherwell, Wishaw, Bellshill, Viewpark, Newmains, Holytown Greater Glasgow
64 Burton-upon-Trent Built-up area 122,199 35.0 3,487 Burton-upon-Trent, Swadlincote Burton-upon-Trent Swadlincote, Stapenhill and Winshill added.[note 6]
65 Colchester Built-up area 121,859 32.7 3,732 Colchester, Marks Tey Colchester
66 Eastbourne Built-up area 118,219 25.1 4,705 Eastbourne, Polegate Brighton
67 Exeter Built-up area 117,763 28.5 4,133 Exeter, Topsham Exeter
68 Cheltenham Built-up area 116,447 28.9 4,034 Cheltenham, Gloucester-Cheltenham
69 Paignton/ Torquay Built-up area 115,410 31.5 3,667 Paignton, Torquay, Marldon Torbay
70 Lincoln Urban Area 114,879 32.7 3,518 Lincoln, North Hykeham Lincoln
71 Chesterfield Built-up area 113,057 34.6 3,263 Chesterfield, Staveley, Wingerworth, Holymoorside Sheffield Wingerworth added.
72 Chelmsford Built-up area 111,511 26.2 4,259 Chelmsford, Little Waltham London
73 Basingstoke Built-up area 107,642 29.4 3,662 Basingstoke London
74 Maidstone Built-up area 107,627 25.4 4,229 Maidstone London
75 Bedford Built-up area 106,940 24.8 4,309 Bedford, Kempston Bedford
76 Worcester Built-up area 101,659 24.7 4,121 Worcester, Norton Worcester

See also


  1. ^ ONS definition. Excludes motorways, rivers, lakes, parks and other open space, even if fully contained but wider than 200m.[1]:10
  2. ^ ONS definition.[1]:6
  3. ^ These 'metropolitan area' definitions were created by ESPON with the intent to create a pan-European model. They were not defined by the ONS and have no official status. The list has not been refreshed after subsequent censuses.
  4. ^ Some of the names of subdivisions and the areas they represent have changed between the two censuses. So it may look as though an area has become part of a built-up area between the two censuses but it may have already been part of the 2001 urban area but was included under a different subdivision.
  5. ^ The urban sub-area that the ONS has called 'Milton Keynes' is actually just the northern 80% (approx) of Milton Keynes proper. The ONS has separated out Bletchley (which is about 20% of MK) for reasons that are not explained.
  6. ^ Stapenhill and Winshill were treated as a separate urban area in the 2001 census but in the 2011 census they were treated as part of the Burton-upon-Trent subdivision.


  1. ^ a b c Office for National Statistics, 2011 Built-up Areas – Methodology and Guidance, p.3 Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ ONS definition of urban areas Archived 27 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "United Kingdom: Urban Areas". Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  4. ^ "2011 Census – Built-up areas". ONS. Retrieved 1 July 2013. (needs a more direct citation)
  5. ^ Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Census 2001 Key Statistics, Urban areas in England and Wales Office of National Statistics
  7. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Milton Keynes BUA Built-up area (E34005056)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 March 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 April 2021, at 13:04
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