ESPON metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom

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A metropolitan area is generally defined as consisting of an urban area, conurbation or agglomeration, together with the surrounding area to which it is closely economically and socially integrated through commuting.

The European Union's ESPON project defined a harmonised series of metropolitan areas across Europe, made up of two components: Morphological Urban Areas (MUAs), which are similar to urban areas that form the densely populated urban cores of metropolitan areas, and Functional Urban Areas (FUAs), which form the labour basin surrounding Morphological Urban Areas.[1]

Morphological Urban Areas were calculated by combining contiguous local administrative units with population densities greater than 650 inhabitants per square kilometre, with Functional Urban Areas then being calculated by combining surrounding local administrative units where 10% or more of the workforce works within the core Morphological Urban Area.[2]

According to the harmonised European definition, there were eighteen metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom with populations of more than 500,000 at the time of the 2001 census.

This article lists the UK metropolitan areas defined by ESPON, which excluded combined conurbations such as the Liverpool-Manchester megalopolis, which (in 2001) had a combined population of 5.6 million.[3] It also excluded city regions such as those formed in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, which are typically areas covered by a combined authority.

Metropolitan areas in the UK[edit]

In 2001, there were 46 metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom with a populations in the range 150,000 to 25 million inhabitants, according to the ESPON project, with the following population distribution:

Summary[edit]

Category Populations (2011) Count
A 12.8 – 25 million 1
B 6.4 – 12.8 million 0
C 3.2 – 6.4 million 1
D 1.6 – 3.2 million 3
E 0.8 – 1.6 million 7
F 0.4 – 0.8 million 9
Gi 0.2 – 0.4 million 19
Gii <0.2 million ~6
Total 46

Source[citation needed]

List by population (2001 data)[edit]

Source[4]

Rank Metropolitan area Population (2001) Morphological Urban Areas within metropolitan area (population)
1 London 13,709,000 London (8,265,000), Southend (291,000), Chatham (231,000), LutonDunstable (216,000), Reading (216,000), AldershotFarnborough (174,000), Woking (124,000), Basildon (113,000), Slough (112,000), High Wycombe (100,000), Crawley (99,000), BracknellAscot (96,000), Harlow (87,000), Chelmsford (76,000), Hemel Hempstead (68,000), Maidstone (65,000), Maidenhead (59,000), St. Albans (59,000), Basingstoke (55,000), Aylesbury (49,000), Stevenage (49,000), Sittingbourne (42,000), Wokingham (42,000), Tunbridge Wells (39,000), SandhurstYateley (37,000), Guildford (34,000), Windsor (33,000), Bishop's Stortford (31,000), Letchworth (28,000), Horsham (27,000), East Grinstead (26,000), Burgess Hill (24,000), Sevenoaks (24,000), Haywards Heath (22,000), Hitchin (21,000), Tonbridge (20,000)
2 Birmingham metropolitan area 3,683,000 Birmingham–Wolverhampton (2,363,000), Coventry (308,000), Nuneaton (87,000), WarwickLeamington (71,000), Redditch (61,000), Bromsgrove (25,000), Tamworth (21,000)
3 Manchester metropolitan area 2,556,000 Greater Manchester Urban Area (2,207,000), Macclesfield (59,000)
4 Leeds–Bradford metropolitan area 2,302,000 Leeds (534,000), Bradford (341,000), Huddersfield (219,000), HalifaxQueensbury (155,000), Wakefield (111,000), CastlefordPontefract (102,000), Harrogate (60,000), Dewsbury (36,000)
5 Liverpool–Birkenhead metropolitan area 2,241,000 LiverpoolBirkenhead (1,170,000), WiganAshton (220,000), Warrington (168,000), WidnesRuncorn (121,000), Chester (58,000), Southport (44,000), Ellesmere Port (40,000), Ormskirk (24,000), Skelmersdale (20,000)
6 Tyneside metropolitan area 1,599,000 Newcastle (814,000), Sunderland (270,000), BlythCramlington (55,000), Peterlee (42,000), Ashington (27,000), Seaham (24,000), Chester-le-Street (23,000)
7 Sheffield metropolitan area 1,569,000 Sheffield (693,000), Rotherham (150,000), Doncaster (80,000), Darfield (73,000), Chesterfield (73,000), Barnsley (56,000)
8 Portsmouth-Southampton metropolitan area 1,547,000 Portsmouth (500,000), Southampton (376,000), Bognor Regis (66,000), Salisbury (29,000), Winchester (27,000), Andover (26,000)
9 Nottingham–Derby metropolitan area 1,534,000 Nottingham (532,000), Derby (217,000), Mansfield (185,000), Ilkeston (53,000), Newark (25,000), Alfreton (23,000)
10 Glasgow 1,395,000 Greater Glasgow (1,228,000), East Kilbride (59,000), Cumbernauld (45,000), Kilmarnock (39,000), Dumbarton (23,000)
11 Cardiff and South Wales valleys metropolitan area 1,097,000 Cardiff (353,000), Newport (192,000), Merthyr Tydfil (35,000), Pontypridd (28,000), Caerphilly (26,000), Bridgend (24,000), Ebbw Vale (22,000)
12 Bristol metropolitan area 1,041,000 Bristol (568,000), Weston-super-Mare (70,000), Bath (65,000), Clevedon (25,000)
13 Belfast 799,000 Belfast (501,000), Bangor (15,000)
14 Edinburgh 782,000 Edinburgh (478,000), Livingston (46,000)
15 Brighton–Worthing–Littlehampton 769,000 BrightonWorthing (410,000), Eastbourne (74,000), Littlehampton (40,000)
16 Leicester 745,000 Leicester (442,000), Loughborough (53,000), Coalville (39,000), Hinckley (20,000)
17 Middlesbrough 656,000 Middlesbrough (389,000), Darlington (58,000), Hartlepool (53,000)
18 Bournemouth–Poole 531,000 BournemouthPoole (390,000)
19 Swansea 462,000 Swansea (219,000), Port TalbotNeath (51,000)
20 Stoke 456,000 Stoke-on-Trent (359,000)
21 Hull 419,000 Hull (284,000)
22 Blackburn–Burnley 391,000 Blackburn (182,000), Burnley (125,000)
23 Norwich 364,000 Norwich (193,000)
24 Preston 354,000 PrestonLeyland (249,000)
25 Plymouth 343,000 Plymouth (228,000)
26 Aberdeen 332,000 Aberdeen (183,000)
27 Blackpool 304,000 Blackpool (239,000)
28 Northampton 288,000 Northampton (220,000)
29 Cambridge 283,000 Cambridge (142,000)
30 Milton Keynes 271,000 Milton Keynes (136,000)
31 Swindon 260,000 Swindon (144,000)
32 Exeter 259,000 Exeter (105,000), Exmouth (25,000)
33 Oxford 244,000 Oxford (122,000)
34 Ipswich 240,000 Ipswich (120,000)
35 York 234,000 York (135,000)
36 Torbay 231,000 Torbay (178,000)
37 Peterborough 219,000 Peterborough (127,000)
38 Dundee 211,000 Dundee (150,000)
39 Telford 209,000 Telford (105,000)
40 Bedford 202,000 Bedford (108,000)
41 Colchester 191,000 Colchester (95,000)
42 Lincoln 176,000 Lincoln (99,000)
43 Grimsby 174,000 Grimsby (123,000)
44 Gloucester 166,000 Gloucester (134,000)
45 Hastings–Bexhill 164,000 HastingsBexhill (103,000)
46 Cheltenham 164,000 Cheltenham (82,000)

List by region (2001 data)[edit]

Region Region population
[citation needed]
Metro Rank Metropolitan area Metro Population (2001)
Greater London 8,173,941 1 London commuter belt 13,709,000
West Midlands 5,601,847 2 Birmingham metropolitan area 3,683,000
20 Stoke 456,000
39 Telford 209,000
North West 7,052,177 3 Manchester metropolitan area 2,556,000
5 Liverpool–Birkenhead metropolitan area 2,241,000
22 BlackburnBurnley 391,000
24 Preston 354,000
27 Blackpool 304,000
Yorkshire and the Humber 5,283,733 4 Leeds–Bradford metropolitan area 2,302,000
7 Sheffield metropolitan area 1,569,000
17 Middlesbrough 656,000
21 Hull 419,000
35 York 234,000
43 Grimsby 174,000
North East 2,596,886 6 Tyneside metropolitan area 1,599,000
South East 8,634,750 8 Portsmouth-Southampton metropolitan area 1,547,000
15 Brighton–Worthing–Littlehampton 769,000
30 Milton Keynes 271,000
33 Oxford 244,000
45 HastingsBexhill 164,000
East Midlands 4,533,222 9 Nottingham–Derby metropolitan area 1,543,000
16 Leicester 745,000
28 Northampton 288,000
42 Lincoln 176,000
Wales 11 Cardiff and South Wales valleys metropolitan area 1,097,000
19 Swansea 462,000
South West 5,288,935 12 Bristol metropolitan area 1,041,000
18 Bournemouth–Poole 531,000
25 Plymouth 343,000
31 Swindon 260,000
32 Exeter 259,000
36 Torbay 231,000
44 Gloucester 166,000
46 Cheltenham 164,000
East of England 5,846,965 23 Norwich 364,000
29 Cambridge 283,000
34 Ipswich 240,000
37 Peterborough 219,000
40 Bedford 202,000
41 Colchester 191,000
Scotland 5,404,700 10 Glasgow 1,395,000
14 Edinburgh 782,000
26 Aberdeen 332,000
38 Dundee 211,000
Northern Ireland 13 Belfast 799,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MUAs and FUAs delineation" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. ^ "The methodology" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 17. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  3. ^ Schulze Bäing, Andreas. "Shrinking cities and growing regions – emerging trends of new rural-urban relationships in the UK and Germany". 13 July. AESOP University of Manchester. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ "British urban pattern: population data" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 119. Retrieved 8 March 2019.