North East Devolution and Levelling Up
Penshaw Monument

North East population growth is lowest in England

Population growth in the North East between the 2011 and 2021 censuses was the lowest of any region in England, and in three of the region’s 12 local authority areas actually declined. The region’s population is also ageing.

The number of North East residents grew during the decade by 1.9% to 2.6m people, according to census data published by the Office for National Statistics. This was a higher rate than Wales, which grew by 1.4% but lower than every other English region

The population of England and Wales increased by more than 3.5 million (6.3%) from 56,075,912 people to 59,597,300. Figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland are released separately.

The north of England’s three regions had the lowest rates of population growth. Just ahead of the North East were Yorkshire & the Humber, with 3.7% growth, and the North West, with 5.2%.

The highest rates were in the East of England (8.3% and South West (7.8%), followed by London and the East Midlands, both up by 7.7%. The South East saw growth of 7.5% and the West Midlands 6.2%.

In the North East, Newcastle had the highest rate of growth of 7.1% and was the only part of the region to see a rise above the England and Wales average. It was followed by neighbouring North Tyneside, up 4.1%.

The Tees Valley neighbours of Middlesbrough and Stockton experienced growth of 4.0% and 2.6% respectively, followed by Darlington on 2.1% and County Durham on 1.7%.

Northumberland saw a rise of 1.4%, followed by Redcar & Cleveland on 1.0% and Hartlepool on 0.3%.

The three south of Tyne areas of South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead all suffered population loss – down by 0.2%, 0.5% and 2.1% respectively.

Every local authority area in the North East experienced a fall in its rank by population. The biggest drop was experienced by South Tyneside which fell 18 places to be 147th out of a total of 309 in England and Wales.

North Tyneside, in contrast, suffered the smallest drop, down just one place to 89th.

The largest age group in the North East in 2011 was those aged 45 to 49; ten yours later the largest group was those between 55 and 59. The largest age group in England in 2021 was those aged 30 to 34.