Friday, 22 August 2008

How Many People Live in Inverness?

Coming back to a familiar topic here - that of the population of places. It is interesting in its own right - see this site for information on everywhere, but it is also pretty important in terms of policy formulation, implementation and delivery. Examples include Manchester's missing 25,000, (which equates to £7.5m in funding) and Slough's undercount of new migrants from outside the UK (which also has relevance for the Inverness case). Inverness is where I'm from and it's grown pretty quickly in terms of population over the past 20 years in particular, but there's some doubt as to exactly how many people live there. Everyone has ideas about this - from more generous figures (giving a 'city-region' population of 66,000 in 2001) to figures for the 'city' itself - a rather more conservative 40,949. This just illustrates the inherent difficulties in defining the population of places that have no statutory boundaries. Even if that was the case, the difference between city populations and urban area populations is often very large, as in the case of Manchester (the district) and the Manchester city-region.

So, I've done a bit of analysis, as follows. I attached the data zones for the Inverness city area (core city plus Smithton, Balloch, Culloden and other bits here and there) to the data zones for which we have mid-year 2006 population estimates and come up with a population of 54,685. I make no claims that this is a definitive representation of the population if Inverness but it does give an idea of how many people live in the area shown in the image below showing the google map of the population of Inverness that I've created. [The map may take a moment to load over a slower connection and I may eventually move it off the server it's on right now so the link may eventually die, but the screenshot below is good forever.]

So, once and for all the question has been answered. Or has it?