The Growth of London

How has London’s Population Changed?

The population of Greater London is higher now than it has ever been at 8,77,9800.

London’s population has been growing for most of the last two hundred years. In 1801, with just over a million inhabitants, it was the largest city in the world. The city grew rapidly during the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century due to migration, mainly from other parts of the UK.

London’s population reached its previous peak at the start of the Second World War. The city was badly bombed during the war, and its population fell after 1941. Numbers continued to decline after the war as housing was demolished and people moved out. During the twentieth century, many cities in other countries grew bigger than London.

London’s population has been increasing since 1991. It will likely continue growing and become a mega city by 2030 when the population reaches 10 million.

How old is London’s Population?

The population pyramid below shows the age-sex structure for England for comparison with London.

London’s population is much larger than any other UK city. It also has a younger population. This helps explain why its population is growing.

Young people, especially in their 20s and 30s, move to London for work. They are attracted by employment opportunities, higher pay and the perception of a better social life.

Young people, especially in the 20-30 age group, are more likely to have children. That leads to a high rate of natural population increase.

Migrants from around the world add to London’s population. As people arrive, others leave. The balance between the two groups is net migration.

Although net migration into London is quite low, most immigrants are quite young while most leaving are older. This reduces the population’s average age and leads to a great natural increase.

What ethnic groups make up London’s population?

London is the most diverse city in the UK. Less than half of London’s population is of white British origin.

People have migrated to London since Roman times. Saxons and Normans also settled in London. In the seventeenth century, French protestant refugees arrived and settled just outside the city walls to the east of Spitalfields. Later, in the nineteenth-century Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe arrived, and more recently, economic migrants from Bangladesh moved to London. Each group of migrants have helped change the character of Spitalfields.
Today, London’s population come from all over the world. The largest numbers are from countries such as Jamaica, Nigeria and India, as each was part of the British Empire. Since 2007, more migrants have come from Eastern Europe due to the freedom of movement associated with being a former member of the EU.
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Geography Infographics Set 1

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