Population and census

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The Local Government Finance and Improvement team closely follow the outcomes of the Census as it influences the level of funding provided to a local authority. It also provides a wide range of information about the people, housing and employment in the local area that supports evidence-based policy development and the planning, delivery and monitoring of local services.

Find information about your local borough below: 


Basic findings for London

The population for London was recorded as 8,799,800 people across a total of 3,423,800 households.

The overall response rate for London was 95%, which could mean not getting information about nearly 0.5million people.

This figure of 8,799,800 is an increase in population of 625,859 people and a percentage increase of 7.7% from the figures collected by the 2011 Census. 

Total population numbers
Population Census 2021 Census 2011 % change 2011 to 2021
London 8,799,800 8,173,941 7.7%
England 56,489,800 53,012,456 6.6%

Age groups

Historically London has a younger age profile compared to the other regions, which continues to be the case. Looking at the ages of the residents in London shows a small increase in the percentage of people over 65yrs of age.

Population by age bands
Population Census 2021     Census 2011    
  % age 0-14 % age 15-64 % age 65+ % age 0-14 % age 15-64 % age 65+
London 18.1% 70.0% 11.9% 18.7% 70.2% 11.1%
England 17.4% 64.2% 18.4% 17.7% 66.0% 16.3%


The number of households has only increased by 36,545 from the 2011 Census.

Numbers of households
Household numbers Census 2021 Census 2011 % change 2011 to 2021
London 3,423,800 3,387,255 1.1%
England 23,435,700 23,044,097 1.7%

Population density

London is far more densely populated that elsewhere at 5,598 people per square kilometre compared to the England average of 434. Which is nearly 13 times higher than the national average. This reflects the far higher population densities in inner London which remains 2.5 times higher than for outer London.

Population density (number of persons per square kilometre)
Population density Census 2021 Density Census 2011 density % change 2011 to 2021
London 5,598 5,200 7.7%
Inner London 10,662 10,122 5.3%
Outer London 4307 3945 9.2%
England 434 410 5.9%


Reasons the population figures may be lower than expected

Capturing all of London’s diverse communities is challenging at the best of times because of the capital’s higher levels of internal migration, language and cultural barriers, and high levels of homelessness. 

London’s population may have been lower than expected because the 2021 Census was taken during the third lCovid-19 lockdown. Some boroughs are concerned that at this time many of their residents – particularly students, young people on furlough, and migrant workers from abroad – may have temporarily relocated to family homes outside of the capital.


Member Briefing on the 2021 Census plans 


Compared to 2011 Census results

London’s population has grown rapidly over the past decade. By the time of the last census in 2011 it had grown to 8.2 million, 14% from 2001. Projections are for it to reach around 9 million by 2021. As well as such growth, the diversity, churn and mobility make estimating population numbers and characteristics profoundly difficult. More information about the 2011 Census and the results can be found on the ONS website.

What impact did the pandemic have on the 2021 Census?

ONS went ahead with the Census on March 21 2021 and had a contingency plan to ensure that everyone can could provide their information safely and securely. Full details are outlined in their operational plan.

How much does the census cost?

The information produced by the census is used to allocate nearly £58 billion of funding in England annually. The census will cost around £800m. That’s about £1.35 per person per year for the ten-year period between each census. This is less than half of the cost per person compared with the US census of approximately £3.45 per person.