Belfast metropolitan area

Coordinates: 54°35′49″N 5°55′48″W / 54.597°N 5.930°W / 54.597; -5.930
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Belfast Metropolitan Area
Metropolitan area
Belfast Metropolitan Area is located in Northern Ireland
Belfast Metropolitan Area
Belfast Metropolitan Area
Location in Northern Ireland
Coordinates: 54°35′49″N 5°55′48″W / 54.597°N 5.930°W / 54.597; -5.930
Sovereign StateUnited Kingdom
Constituent CountryNorthern Ireland
CountyCounty Antrim / County Down
 • UK Parliament
 • Total370 sq mi (960 km2)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (BST (WEST))
Area code028

The Belfast metropolitan area, also known as Greater Belfast, is a grouping of council areas which include commuter towns and overspill from Belfast, Northern Ireland, with a population of 672,522 in 2011, combining the Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, North Down, Castlereagh and Carrickfergus districts. This equates to 37.1% of Northern Ireland's population.


The area was first officially classified as a metropolitan area in the late 1990s when the British government began to prepare for a cohesive plan that would include the Belfast Region. Six local government districts – Belfast, Castlereagh, Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down, were identified as the key areas within the metropolitan area. The continuous built-up area centred on Belfast, which is contained within these six districts, is defined as the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area.[1] The Belfast metropolitan urban area had a population of 579,276 in 2001.[2]

The area is made up of established towns, their overspill and the general conjoining of settlements as Belfast expands. Established towns include Carrickfergus, Bangor, Lisburn and Holywood. Many of these towns were established and important long before Belfast rose to prominence; Carrickfergus, for example, was the Norman capital of the northern part of Ireland until Edward Bruce's defeat in 1318.[3] Bangor had been an important centre of Christianity and learning from its foundation in 555 AD.[4][5] The recent reclassification of Lisburn as a city does not change its position within the metropolitan area.

Places in the conurbation[edit]

Rank Urban Area[2] Population

(2001 Census)[2]

1 Belfast urban area 276,605
2 Lisburn urban area 71,403
3 Newtownabbey urban area 62,022
4 Bangor 58,368
5 Castlereagh urban area 54,636
6 Carrickfergus 27,192
7 Holywood urban area 12,027
8 Carryduff 6,564
9 Greenisland 5,067
10 Groomsport & Crawfordsburn 1,401
11 Helen's Bay 1,356
12 Milltown 1,356
13 Seahill 1,179
Total Belfast metropolitan urban area 579,276

2001 census[edit]

At the 2001 census, the demographic characteristics of the people living in Belfast metropolitan urban area (BMUA) were as follows:[6]

  • 22.0% were aged under 16 years and 19.2% were aged 60 and over
  • 47.4% of the population were male and 52.6% were female
  • 40.5% were from a Catholic background, 55.5% were from a Protestant background.
  • 4.3% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed

Population maps[edit]

In the 2011 UK Census, the distributions of population, religion, national identity and proportion of immigrants within the Belfast metropolitan area, were as follows.


  1. ^ "Map of Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Statistical Classification Band A – Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  3. ^ Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (1903). Highways and byways in Donegal and Antrim. Macmillan and Co. limited. p. 291. Retrieved 8 April 2018. capital.
  4. ^ Gauldie, Robin (2008). GLOBETROTTER Travel Guide IRELAND. New Holland Publishers. p. 118. ISBN 9781845378707. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  5. ^ Hamlin, Ann; Kerr, Thomas R. (2008). The archaeology of early Christianity in the North of Ireland. Archaeopress. p. 285. ISBN 9781407302850. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Area Profile of Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA)". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.

See also[edit]