Monday 26 November 2012

Population growth in Manchester city centre, 2001 to 2011

Manchester city centre experienced a population explosion between 2001 and 2011. In the area covered by the map below the population increased by nearly 400% - from 5,957 to 23,295; a rise of 17,388 people.  In 1991, the same area (roughly) had a population of 2,887, as you can see here. Anyone who knows Manchester will know about this but possibly not about the scale of the change. A lot has been written about these changes (e.g. Centre for Cities in 2006, Manchester Evening News in 2012) but it is clear that much of the growth experienced in Manchester has been driven by a new phase of city centre living. Click an area on the map to find out more about it and zoom in to the larger version of the Google map to see it in more detail.

But who are these new residents? Chris Allen, writing in 2006, said they might be a mix of 'counter-culturalists' from the new middle class, 'city centre tourists' from the service class and 'successful agers', who tend to be over 50. Whoever they are, they're living in the new apartment buildings that began to sprout in the perforated urban landscape of central Manchester over a decade ago.

The map above contains a total of 15 small areas known as super output areas. If you click on any area you can find out how many people now live in each. The map also tells you the total land area of each small parcel and how many households are in it. You can find more of this kind of information via the Guardian datablog and also by clicking through to the raw data on the ONS web pages. It was only released on Friday but I've been looking at it now because I'm writing a short paper on small area population change in the English core cities. Central Manchester has grown the most but other cities have also experienced rapid expansions.

A note for spatial analysts: the 15 LSOAs you see in the map above are new. They are just 15 of the 229 new LSOAs across the core cities and this makes change over time analysis a little more tricky. Manchester's total population growth during this period was just under 20% (or 80,000) so the growth in the centre accounted for just over 21% of the increase.