03How did the demographic profile of cities change between 2001-2011?
Between 2001 and 2011 the population of city centres grew by 37 per cent, far faster than suburbs (8 per cent growth) and hinterlands (6 per cent) (Figure 14). This rate of growth in part reflects the relatively small size of city centre populations in 2001 compared to the populations of suburbs and their hinterlands.
The divergence between city centres of large and smaller cities has also grown over this period. Large cities have seen a notable increase in city centre living: the populations of large-city centres more than doubled in size over 10 years (Figure 15), driven by young professionals and students living close to their workplace and walking to work. This put significant pressure on housing in those city centres – the share of households in large-city centres classed as overcrowded increased by 69 per cent between 2001 and 2011.
Medium-sized city centres also saw growth in population, increasing in size by 35 per cent, while small-sized cities experienced slower growth (22 per cent). Interestingly, central London saw the slowest growth. This is partly a result of very limited growth in the City of London. But it is also likely to be caused by a combination of constraints on further development in the already tightly bounded urban area and an affordability challenge. London’s population growth was instead seen primarily in its suburbs, which grew by 13 per cent over the ten years, more than twice as fast as the suburbs of large cities.
1. The change in residents in cities was driven by those in work and by students
In city centres, as shown in Figure 16, the majority of the change in residents was driven by those in work. The student population, which more than doubled in city centres over the period 2001-2011, made the second largest contribution. Growth in the suburbs and hinterlands was also driven by those in work and across the three areas, there was a decrease in the number of people who are economically inactive. The number of people aged 75 and over living in city centres declined, but it increased in suburbs and hinterlands.
Employed residents more than doubled in number between 2001 and 2011 in large-city centres and increased by 33 per cent in central London (Figure 17). In the city centres of medium and small cities, employed residents increased by 51 and 36 per cent respectively.
The increase in students between 2001 and 2011 (by 188 per cent) was the most significant driver of the growth of large-city centres. By comparison their contribution to the overall population change in medium- and small-city centres was much smaller.
The number of people aged 75 and over declined across all city centres, while the number of children increased in the city centres of all cities, with the exception of London, which saw a decline.
Box 3: A comparison of growth in Manchester and Sheffield, 2001-2011
Manchester’s population change between 2001 and 2011 (198 per cent) was driven by those in work, while in Sheffield most of this growth (110 per cent) was accounted for by rising student numbers.
Both cities saw an increase in highly skilled residents during the period. Manchester city centre saw the third fastest increase in residents with at least a degree level qualifications over ten years: a 366 per cent increase, compared to 196 per cent in Sheffield. Sheffield city centre also saw the second fastest growth nationally of residents with A levels, which reflects its higher share of students studying for higher qualifications.
Both city centres have seen an increase in short commutes – the share of journeys made by bicycle increased by eight times in Manchester, and nine times in Sheffield. Both cities also saw a significant increase in journeys made on foot, with these journeys increasing by 436 per cent in Manchester and 187 per cent in Sheffield.
2. There was a substantial growth in residents working in high skilled occupations in city centres, but small cities lagged behind
Not only did large-city centres see the most significant growth in those in work over 10 years, but importantly, residents working in high skilled occupations nearly tripled (195 per cent growth). In central London, high skilled occupations increased by 47 per cent. In small cities, high skilled occupations grew more slowly (by 28 per cent), while lower skilled occupations grew by 52 per cent.
3. Most city centres have seen an increase in people both living and working in them
Over 10 years, 56 out of 59 cities saw an increase in the share of their city centre residents who also work in the city centre. In 2011, residents of central London and other large-city centres were more likely to also work there than was the case in medium- and small-city centres. The containment – or share of city centre residents who work in the city centre – was 53 per cent in London, compared to just 20 per cent in small-city centres (Figure 20).
The cities that saw the largest growth in both containment and in the share of jobs in their city centres have been large cities, and in particular London. On the whole, there is a close relationship between the growing containment of the city and the share of jobs in the city centre, as Figure 21 shows
4. Walking to work became increasingly common in city centres
The increase in people both living and working in the city centre over 10 years – which has been particularly significant in large cities – is reflected in changing travel patterns, which have seen journeys get shorter and more journeys being made on foot and by bicycle. In comparison, as Figure 22 shows, driving made the largest net contribution to increasing number of journeys to work made by suburban and hinterland residents.
This trend is reflected in the change in method of travel to work in city centres (Figure 23). All city centres saw an increasing number of workers commuting to work on foot (66 per cent) or by bicycle (98 per cent), but in large-city centres the change was higher than in the centres of medium and small sized cities (journeys made on foot increased by 198 per cent in large-city centres, compared to 52 per cent in medium-city centres and 25 per cent in small-city centres).
In central London, an increasing number of journeys were made on public transport, on foot or by bicycle, while the use of the car decreased. In medium- and small-city centres, trips made by car contributed the most to the growth in journeys to work, although in medium-sized cities commutes on foot also increased significantly.
- City centres grew much faster than suburbs and hinterlands between 2001-2011, and that growth was primarily driven by large-city centres.
- The majority of new residents in suburbs and hinterlands were employed. In city centres, there was a more even split between employees and students. But in large-city centres, nearly 55 per cent of new residents were students.
- Growth in high skilled occupations made the most significant contribution to increasing employment in central London and in large-city centres. In contrast, in centres of small cities it was the growth in low skilled occupations that drove the increase in the employed population.
- The share of city centre residents who also work there increased significantly in London and large-city centres. But this growth was much lower in small- and medium-sized cities.
- Large-city centres saw the fastest increase in journeys made under 2km, and the majority of these new journeys were made on foot.