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London's Population - See how it grows & shrinks

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LONDON's Changing Population









Population statistics for London

Year Population

1 Fewer than 5,000

500 Fewer than 5,000

1066 Est 5,000 - 40,000 (William the Conqueror)

1600 Est 200,000

1650 Est 350,000

1300 Est 50,000 - 100,000

1700 Est 700,000

1801 958,863

1821 1,378,947

1841 1,948,417

1861 2,803,989

1881 3,815,544 (or Greater London 4,776,661)

1891 4,211,056 (or Greater London 5,633,332)

1899 6,528,434 (Greater London)

1939 8,615,245 (Greater London) - population's peak

1951 8,196,978 (Greater London)

1961 7,992,616 (Greater London)

1971 7,452,520 (Greater London)


1981 6,805,000 (Greater London - midyear est)

1991 6,829,300 : + 024,300, over 10 years

2001 7,322,400 : + 493,100, over 10 years / +7.22%

2002 7,361,600 : + 39,200 : + 0.54 %

2003 7,364,100 : + 02,500 : + 0.03 %

2004 7,389,100 : + 25,000 : + 0.34 %

2005 7,456,100 : + 67,000 : + 0.91 %

2006 7,512,400 : + 56,300 : + 0.76 %

2007 7,556,900 : + 44,500 : + 0.59 % : www.statistics.gov.uk

2008 7,620,000 : + 63,100 : + 0.83 % : LDA.gov.uk

2009 7,753,600 : +133,600 :+ 1.75 %

2010 7,825,200 : + 71,600 : + 0.92 % : ONS data, 6/2011

2011 7,900,000E: +577,600 : over 10 years : +7.89% Estimate


/source1: http://www.londononline.co.uk/factfile/historical/

/source2: http://www.demographia.com/dm-lon31.htm

/newer- : http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Update%2011-2011%20Mid-2010%20population%20estimates.pdf

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Historical Overview of London Population


London has been a trading centre for nearly 2000 years, from the time the Romans had possession of it; relics of Roman buildings are frequently found, and part of the old Roman walls remains to this day. Roman London was about one mile in length and half a mile in breadth.


London has passed through many troubles and tribulations, each of which had an impact on the population. In the year 664 it was ravaged by the plague; in 764 it suffered severely by fires; in 1380 occurred the rebellion of Wat Tyler, who was slain by Lord Mayor Walworth at Smithfield; in 1450 Jack Cade's outbreak occurred; during the reign of Henry VIII and his daughter Mary, from 1509 to 1558, a great many protestants were burnt at the stake in London.


In 1649 Charles I was beheaded at Whitehall; in 1665 the Great Plague of London occurred claiming about 100,000 lives; in 1666 the Great Fire of London took place: in 1760 the Gordon "No Popery" riots occurred, so well described by Charles Dickens in Barnaby Rudge.


1740 was the year of the great frost, during which a fair was held on the Thames; in 1806 Lord Nelson's funeral took place; and in 1852 the Duke of Wellington was also buried at St. Paul's. Other great public events included the reception of the Princess Alexandra, on her arrival to marry the Prince of Wales in 1863, and the Thanksgiving for the Prince's recovery from illness in 1872.


London experienced an exponential level of growth throughout the 19th century due to the growth of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution. It was during this period that the city expanded into a giant metropolis and became known as Greater London.


Comparing the beginning of the 19th century with the end we see two starkly different cities both in terms of size and also in terms of technological advancement. In 1800 there were no railways, no cabs, no buses, no telegrams, no telephones, no gas, no electric-light, no 'penny post', and no new Metropolitan Police. In 1900 all of the above existed.


London had become a network of railways, and hardly a month passed without some suggestion for some new tunnelling, and buses (then called omnibuses) were so numerous that it was actually proposed that the Home Secretary should bring a Bill into Parliament to regulate their routes and limit their numbers. The first locomotive, which was constructed by Stephenson, and attained a speed of 6 miles an hour, was not built until 1814, and the first omnibus did not run in England until July 4th, 1829.


But we can see the difference still more if we think that the crowded suburbs from which millions go to work every day, were little country villages, and if we look for the bridges and streets.


London Bridge existed in 1800 but not the bridge we know now, which is not on quite the same site as the former one, and was opened first in 1831, then redeveloped and opened by the Queen in 1973. The only other bridges in existence then were Old Westminster, which was opened in 1750, and Old Blackfriars, which was opened in 1769.


The chief of the other bridges were opened as follows :- Vauxhall 1816, Waterloo 1817, Southwark 1819, Hungerford 1845 and Chelsea 1858, Tower Bridge 1894, Lambeth Bridge 1932, Hampton Court Bridge 1933, Waterloo Bridge 1945, Millennium Bridge 2002. In 1800 people who wished to cross the river had to tramp some way for the means of doing so, or employ a waterman, but during the 19th century the watermen entirely disappeared due to the emergence of the bridges.


London's most popular street, Regent Street was not in existence in 1800; it was not commenced until 1813.


Of places of amusement Cremorne and Vauxhall have gone, though Drury Lane and Covent Garden, both rebuilt after destruction by fire, still exist.


The Haymarket existed in 1800, as did the Lyceum, under the name of the English Opera House. The Adelphi was not opened until 1806, the St. James until 1835, the Princess's until 1840. Astley's, which was open in 1800, has gone. The Surrey was in existence, but our other theatres are of later date, except old Sadler's Wells, Music-halls in 1800 were unknown, so perhaps one of the greatest contrasts between London past and London present is in her night life and entertainment.


/source: http://www.londononline.co.uk/factfile/historical/

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BOUNDARY CHANGES - may mean figures are not comparable


Here are the actual and update figures from : a new thread


You are forgetting the boundary changes, which have had a large effect.


There have been a considerable number of small changes to the Greater London boundary since its creation in 1965. The most significant of these were the 1969 transfers of Knockholt to Kent and Farleigh to Surrey[1]




- so says John Doe

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LONDON's Changing Population








There are limitations in the population data I collected - but it still shows us a lot.


I have data approximately only every ten years until 2000, and then every year. But this still allows me to compare the recent data with long term trends going back to 1800. The striking thing is how dramatic the trend change was about 1980. In about that year, Greater London population made an important change in trend. The population had been in a falling trend since about 1951. From that year, Greater London had been losing people an average of about 50,000 people per year for two decades. If you look at the data more carefully, you will see that Central London (which represented perhaps 36% of Greater London's population in 1981, had been losing population at nearly the same number of people per year, but at a percentage rate which was roughly double during the worst years of 1971-1980.)


But all this changed in about 1980. The trend reversed and we saw :


Average Population Gains, per annum

========== : Greater London : London, Central

1951 - 1960 :-20,436/-0.25% :-18,867/-0.53%

1961 - 1970 :-53,992/-0.69% :-53,356/-1.63%

1971 - 1980 :-64,752/-0.90% :-53,369/-1.94%

1981 - 1990 : 02,430 /+0.04% : 07,882 /+0.32%

1991 - 2000 : 53,230 /+0.78% : 26,152 /+1.00%


Population losses from 1951-1981 were nearly all in Central London:

Greater London : 1,391,807 : -16.98%

London,Central : 1,255,922 : -34.11%

Non-Central ---- : 0,155,775


Why the dramatic change in trend?


I believe the key things were three big changes: North Sea Oil, Property speculation and the Financialisation of the global economy.




The arrival of massive North Sea oil revenues (in late 1970's) finally turned around the UK economy, stabilised Sterling, reduced interest rates, and allowed London to rebuild its economy around the financial sector and property speculation. Since then, a mostly steady trend of falling interest rates, and a shift of the UK population back into London have created a huge (and unsustainable) financial sector, and a huge (and unsustainable) property bubble.


Year : Gr. London : Change / Pct. Chg. :

2001 7,322,400 :

2002 7,361,600 : + 39,200 : + 0.54 %

2003 7,364,100 : + 02,500 : + 0.03 %

2004 7,389,100 : + 25,000 : + 0.34 %

2005 7,456,100 : + 67,000 : + 0.91 %

2006 7,512,400 : + 56,300 : + 0.76 %

2007 7,556,900 : + 44,500 : + 0.59 %

2008 7,620,000 : + 63,100 : + 0.83 %

2009 7,753,600 : +133,600 :+ 1.75 %

2010 7,825,200 : + 71,600 : + 0.92 %


The financial crisis of 2008 triggered quantitative easing (which the UK pioneered). That restimulated financial markets and the UK property market and the result was MORE people were attracted to London, bringing the largest jump in population since the post-WW2 rebuilding days, and the old glory days of Britain's empire. But is this sustainable?


The two self-reinforcing bubbles of finance and property may be about to burst together. Interest rates are now at ultra-low levels - the lowest in Britain's long history. Can they possibly fall any lower while the UK's debt builds relentlessly, and a second and more serious banking crisis looms? Surely, those who still have some capital to lend when the banking bubble bursts, will want a higher return for lending it out.


In a world of banking stress, I can hardly imagine that the UK will be able to maintain employment and salary levels in its financial sector. Also, to save money, government and other employers will be looking to shift jobs out of London to less expensive locations.


As I write this the ratio of London property prices is at a record in relation to the average property prices in the UK. This can hardly be sustained, if rates rise, and the UK financial sector begins to shrink.

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From a thread on the Main board (post #xx):


London will remain as the financial centre of Europe and half way house between the US and Far East.


To suggest that Qatar or Dubai or somewhere else in Europe could replace London is nonsense...


Greater London remains a relative "safer" haven for mideasterners, Africans, Far Easterners, not only for the high net worthers, but also the emerging middle classes in those countries. The UK represents (along with German property) a good inflation hedge too as far as they are concerned.

Competition is relative.

I am not suggesting that Dubai or anywhere else "replace" London as a financial center, but rather that the world will begin the relocalise, and so big financial centers to service (and master!) global business will be in less demand, and do less business. We have already seen a clear downwards trend emerge since 2007. Some of the lines of business (CDO's, convertible bonds, even derivatives eventually) may just fade away as banks "get back to business", less lucrative traditional lending. And there may be less of that too, as people realise what a trap debt can be.


I do think that "push back" (in the form of higher taxes) may be coming against the global elites that want a home in London. Does the average law-abiding, tax-paying Londoner really benefit from their presence ?


Certainly, they push up prices for luxury housing, and probably many other goods and services too.

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