Talk:List of urban areas in the United Kingdom

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Manchester - Liverpool a single metropolitain area[edit]

If Manchester and Liverpool are treated as separate conurbations I can't see why the two cities are considered as the same metropoiltan area. This is surely a mistake even if it is possible to have a place that could be regarded as both. Tetron76 (talk) 17:11, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

By your logic "If St Albans and London are treated as separate conurbations I can't see why the two cities are considered as the same metropoiltan area. This is surely a mistake even if it is possible to have a place that could be regarded as both." Metropolitan areas are different than urban areas and are usually much wider. Eopsid (talk) 17:55, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

I have never heard anyone regard Liverpool and Manchester as the same place. There might be a RS which would allow the usage as a metropolitain area or may be I am simply ignorant on this area. But from wiki definition it describes an area that has to have a core. There is a clear geogrphic split in the regions, no common administrative region. There are also metropolitan universsities for both cities. As for St. Alban's there is certainly a case that it shouldn't be regarded as London either but relative size makes the Manchester-Liverpool much more questionable. (talk) 18:12, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the ONS map used as a link for metropolitain areas Manchester and Liverpool are clearly very distinct as not even a touching boundary. Source 5 does mention Liverpool-Manchester but this is likely a cyclical reference and should not really be used as at best it is secondary source which doesn't state its primary source. Sinc eit states that it uses encyclopaedia as ref it cannot be known whether this includes wikipedia itself. (talk) 18:40, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
On the ONS map of Travel to Work Areas the wolverhampton and Birmingham TTWAs have no common boundaries either but they are in the same urban area and hence same metropolitan area. That reference is really used in cases where the urban area is not mentioned in the other sources. Source 5 is used as a source on numerous other pages such as List of metropolitan areas in the Americas, List of metropolitan areas in Asia and Metropolitan areas of Mexico so I think it can be used as it's usage here is so widespread. Eopsid (talk) 19:24, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

I have restored the article to sensibility. The point isn't worth discussing, somebody is POV pushing. Until the ONS says it is a single urban area, then it isn't. In some contexts, it is useful to take them together but this is not one of them. See also North West England#Metropolitan areas. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 11:54, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

The division of Liverpool and Birkenhead into separate urban areas is a statistical anomaly due to the fact that the Mersey is over 200m wide. In reality they function as a single urban entity and this should probably be acknowledged in the article. Anyone who doubts this should travel to Birkenhead and examine the (small and very local) scale of its commercial/retail district. By contrast, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and Wakefield are separated by many miles of sporadic development and exist as proudly independent settlements, as any examination of their commercial/retail districts would confirm. They might satisfy the strict definition of a contiguous urban area, but they generally don't function as one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:04, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Before this page was changed to List urban areas of the UK from List of conurbations of the UK and thus excluding the Liverpool Manchester Conurbation. There are plenty of sources out there referencing to a Liverpool Manchester conurbation samples found from the AESOP-University of Manchester article here:, and in this book here: Liverpool-Manchester conurbation and in this book on Metropolitan Governence and Spatial Planning here: Liverpool-Manchester conurbation and this book here: Liverpool-Manchester conurbation and from Invest in Sefton here: and here liverpool-manchester conurbation jointly have a combined population of 5.56 million as the article was changed they don't fit current criteria and to previous editors who are not happy with those sticking to there guns in keeping the two cities separated Look at "conurbation which is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area" example of one link where Greater Manchester links directly with Liverpool continuously starting from Manchester city centre-Salford-Swinton-Walkden-Worsley-Astley-Tyldesley-Atherton-Leigh-Golborne-Ashton in Makerfield-Haydock-St Helens-Prescot-Huyton-Broadgreen-Wavertree-Edge Hill-Liverpool City Centre,there are others via Warrington. Which according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary's definition of a conurbation " a large area consisting of cities or towns that have grown so that there is very little room between them" the urban link I have shown has no room between them consider a separate UK article based on the original conurbation article.--Navops47 (talk) 08:12, 19 March 2015 (UTC)


Shouldn't that be on the list, According to the Camborne article it has a population of 59,100. (talk) 01:11, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The source this article uses has a lower figure of 39,937. The Camborne article's source gives a 404 error so I am doubtful whether the 59,000 figure is real or not. Using the power of Google I found the working source and it seems the 59,100 figure is for the Camborn, Pool and Redruth Community Network Area which doesn seem the same thing as an urban area but the source does say that it is the largest urban conurbation in Cornwall. Eopsid (talk) 11:58, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

What should happen to this list when the 2011 census data comes out[edit]

When the 2011 census data comes out, I propose that we rename this article as 'List of urban areas in the United Kingdom (2001)' and start a new list for 2011. The new list would take over the title of 'List of urban areas in the United Kingdom' and is not renamed with the 2011 qualifier until 2022 when the 2021 list comes out. My reason for this is that it will be interesting to see where there has been growth and where there has been decline.
Does anyone have the 1991 data? --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 16:30, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Can we just update the figures and then add a seperate column of some of the 2001 values (this could end up appearing cluttered but we could just delete some of the less useful columns) or a seperate section comparing the two.
On the subject of the 1991 data if you look at the notes section of this articles source the definition of an urban area changed slightly between 1991 and 2001 also the ONS dont have the 1991 data accessible on their website. Eopsid (talk) 17:12, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
I suspect that other factors (local government, definitions) have changed in ten years. I don't doubt that we will need to replace this article - I'd just rather we didn't simply over-write it with the new data. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 19:52, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

2010 estimates and 2011 census data[edit]

Just in case anyone is interested. The ONS have estimates of the population in 2010 for most of the urban areas listed in this article. See this spreadsheet [1].

Also on this page [2] the ONS talks about when they will release the data for the urban ares. They say that they have yet to finalise the date but it appears it will be some time before or during February 2013.

On a speculative (OR-y) note. The new data should show that Newport and Cwmbran are now one urban area and so are Basildon and Wickford because they are when looking at Google maps. Eopsid (talk) 19:07, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

I recently contacted the ONS about when the 2011 census data will be released. They replied that it will be released in Summer 2013 but that they are going to be called Built-up Areas rather than urban areas to "avoid previous inconsistency in terminology with the rural-urban definition, and provide a name that more accurately describes the geography". Eopsid (talk) 20:34, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

The 2011 census data on built up areas has been released and can be viewed here [3] This is only for England and Wales. So I propose we split this article into 3 sections one for Scotland, one for Northern Ireland and another for England and Wales. What forms part of some built up areas has changed massively from the 2001 data especially for Newport, Cardiff, Sunderland and Tyneside. So I'm not sure a column showing how much the population has changed would be useful. Eopsid (talk) 13:52, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I just updated the article with the 2011 census data. I split it into three sections as I mentioned before. Eopsid (talk) 19:34, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Farnborough/Aldershot Largest Settlement[edit]

This has been changed back a few times but the largest settlement in the Aldershot Urban Area is Farnborough, with a population of 57,147.

Aldershot has a population of 33,840. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:57, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

This article's souce gives the following populations which differ from your claims which you no doubt got off Aldershot and Farnborough's Wikipedia articles: Aldershot Urban Area 243,344 Aldershot 58,170 Camberley/Frimley 47,123 Farnborough 57,147 Farnham 36,298 Frogmore 9,665 Sandhurst 19,546 Yateley 15,395 Eopsid (talk) 09:42, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

This articles listings are incorrect. Rushmoor has a total population of 94,400 at the 2011 census. Farnborough's 2001 figure of 57,000 has increased, athough the figures are not yet released. This leaves 37,000 in Aldershot even if the increases only took place Aldershot, which they haven't as over 2000 homes have been built in Farnborough in the last 5 years. Further to this Farnborough has 8 local council wards to Aldeshots 5 and 3 county council wards to Aldershots 2. In the 2012 local elections 67% of votes cast were cast in Farnborough. Aldershots own wiki page list, it's population correctly in 2001 at 33,840. Farnborough is the largest settlement in the AUA by some distance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

This entire article is about the Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2001 definition of urban areas and the population figures of 2001 from ONS. We can update this only when ONS issue new urban area data from the 2011 census; I don't know if they've done that yet. When they do, we can then update the entire article, but we can't guess the figures ourselves. For one thing it's likely some of the urban areas will be redefined at that point. The ONS 2001 figures are based on "urban areas" and conurbations within them, not towns, so the figure Eopsid quoted is for the Aldershot conurbation (Aldershot subdivision of Aldershot Urban Area) in 2001, not Aldershot town in 2011. -- Dr Greg  talk  18:51, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

ONS as a poor source for Urban Area data[edit]

There is currently a discussion at Talk:Largest urban areas of the European Union about whether is a better source for UK Urban Area data than the Office for National Statistics. 19:10, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

No, you wrong. Discussion is about use of additional (national) sources in the article. For this changes must to be consensus. Subtropical-man (talk) 19:59, 21 October 2013 (UTC)


I've arrived to Ramsgate by ferry from Oostende, Belgium quite a few times. I drove a small lorry to Weymouth (Bill of Portland) and exported (from a UK point of view) still alive crabs. I was sometimes difficult to adjust departure from Portland, to a perfect time arrival on the way back. Since I liked the area , I several times drove around while waiting for next the ferry. It semt to me that Ramsgate was builded together with Broadstairs, and Broadstairs with Margate. I've now learned that the Thanet area counts 135.000 inhabitants. So I'm surprised to not be able to find the Thanet area in the list. ( Totally beside the point, I think the welcoming road-sign at the ferries was nice - but in the phrase "Welcome to Ramsgate - please drive on left, I cannot help thinking that the word "please" in this context was a bit funny. ) Boeing720 (talk) 11:56, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

It's on the "List of most populous built-up areas in England and Wales" at no.56 after High Wycombe and before Accrington/Rossendale. Eopsid (talk) 16:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

UK Top 5[edit]

Is it possible if we could have a quick top 5 list in the UK on the top of the page? I needed to know and had to scroll down and cross check each table. Thought it would be easier for people like myself to check. If so, that would be awesome. --Erzan (talk) 13:03, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

2011 census[edit]

When information from 2011 census will be added?--Yacatisma (talk) 19:51, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Information from the 2011 census has already been added except in the Northern Irish case. I couldnt find the relevant data when google searching. The scottish figures hadnt been updated until just now so thank you for giving me the motivation to try and find the new data. Eopsid (talk) 00:05, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Does anyone agree that there should also be an article showing the figures for the 2011 BUASD's (Built Up Area Sub-Divisions) not just the BUA's?Acklamite (talk) 13:40, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
There is one. There is this one for England: List of localities in England by population and it needs updating.
The Welsh One (List of localities in Wales by population) has already been updated.
They use the terminology Locality rather than BUASD for some reason. Eopsid (talk) 18:29, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
That was due to some people trying to defend (invisible) 1974 boundaries in 2014 for places that have become part of a greater urban area. It is all a bit 'mine is bigger than yours according to my rules' and rather undignified. Up to the 2001 Census, the ONS also used the term 'locality', so the practice was defensible. Now that they don't any more, it isn't. Any rolled forward article would have to be given a new name, 'list of BUASDs', which is hardly attractive, but that is what the primary source uses. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 23:17, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Notable changes column[edit]

The final column on the England/Wales table points to the 2001 census but not to a source that sets out key differences from 2001 to 2011. You shouldn't have to wade through all the details of the two census in order to understand the differences - that would be OR or Synthesis. Is there a source clearly setting out the changes? Eldumpo (talk) 13:35, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

They have maps its very clear what the differences are if you compare two maps. Comparing them in this way is pretty much the same as a comparing the populations from each census. Eopsid (talk) 14:03, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
The info in the column is taken from the 2011 census which itself includes a list of differences, not sure why the reference points to the 2001 census. WatcherZero (talk) 22:26, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
If the 2011 census clearly sets out the differences (I would suggest it should be a better reference than having to compare two different maps) can someone add a better link please. Eldumpo (talk) 07:46, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

Table headings references to Nomis[edit]

Further to the above I have noticed that most of the table header columns point to a Nomis introduction page. Where is the actual data (including population) for all this information. I have had a quick look and couldn't find it. Please could someone post a direct link to the actual page(s)? Eldumpo (talk) 08:10, 2 November 2014 (UTC)

I think this is it. I am not sure if the link'll work. [4] From the intro page you have to go to key statistics then choose a table, usual resident population is the main one used here, then wizard query and from there you can choose built-up areas and which ones you want data for. Eopsid (talk) 11:06, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
Is there not a better way of obtaining the data. It's surely Synthesis to have to do the above to extract each BUA. There must be summaries somewhere that give an easier access reference for people? Where is the link for determining what areas are included in each of the BUAs in the list. I did the above process for Leicester and there were 8 entries which have presumably all been added - but where are the reliable sources making that assumption. Finally if it is decided to keep the census as the basis of this article then shouldn't the article name be changed to BUAs to reflect the source. Sorry, I know lots of questions above but this article needs to be more transparent. Eldumpo (talk) 22:35, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
The name probably should be changed to Built-up areas. They have built-up areas including subdivision which shows subdivisions of the BUAs you can use that for finding whats in each area as well as the maps. I dont see how its synthesis, its all from the same source. I think there might be summaries on the ONS site which links to this one but that shows less areas then is in the list here. Eopsid (talk) 15:01, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Can you dig out the ONS summaries. If they show only certain entries so be it, the picking of 100k is presumably arbitrary and not reflected by sources? This article would be perfect but is for the 2001 census. Must be a half-decent 2011 summary somewhere? Eldumpo (talk) 22:55, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Suggested source for this article[edit]

In the absence of a directly available source for this list (see above) I suggest we use an alternative to the census. City Population is I believe a reliable source, and it is noted that they only actually order the 13 UK Urban Areas greater than 500k, so there is an argument to only list those, but they do also list (but not order) areas greater than 100k. It is also noted that they combine the data as UK wide [5] which fits better with the title of this article. Having checked their Top 4 against our Top 4 the numbers are the same, which can give some confidence about the use of the source. The use of City Population also ties well with WP:SECONDARY, although it need not be CP if anyone has another reliable source. Appropriate links to the actual census could still remain for completeness. Eldumpo (talk) 09:02, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

I am shortly going to commence on making the above changes, but keeping the 100k cut-off. Eldumpo (talk) 14:17, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Greater Manchester built up area[edit]

Hi can someone explain a report published by the City Growth commission in February 2014 stating Greater Manchester Metro had a resident census population of 2,894,240 in 2011 calculated by using ONS defined built-up areas found here: and why are those figures not included if they don't belong here where do they belong ?--Navops47 (talk) 10:52, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Wigan is not in GM Built-up Area[edit]

@Deano wig: Wigan is in the county of Greater Manchester. It is not in the Greater Manchester Built-up Area which is officially defined differently. The map File:GMBUA2011.png shows what is and is not in the built-up area.

Wigan has its own Wigan Built-up Area which is currently number 43 in the list.-- Dr Greg  talk  21:01, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Wigan and Ashton actually falls within Liverpool..List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom. Wigan is even served by the Liverpool Merseyrail metro. (talk) 10:28, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Wrong on both counts WatcherZero (talk) 13:01, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

Birkenhead urban area[edit]

An anonymous editor keeps seeking to remove any mention of Ellesmere Port from the ONS-defined Birkenhead urban area. I keep reverting them. The issue is not whether Ellesmere Port is "really" part of the Birkenhead urban area or not. The issue is whether ONS define it as part of the Birkenhead urban area - which they do. The criteria for the ONS definition may seem strange, but they are logical - based on the distance between built-up areas, which can be treated as contiguous. What should remain in this article is the definition of the Birkenhead urban area as it is defined by ONS, not what any individual thinks it should be. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:18, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Any data from OSN should dropped in favour of the EU EPSON. List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom. EPSON are impartial. (talk) 10:30, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

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This article should be deleted[edit]

It hopelessly inaccurate. EPSON got it right. This article has Liverpool at over 800,000, omitting Birkenhead and Wallasy, on the opposite river bank, while Manchester is 2.6 million. These have it right List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom. (talk) 10:24, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

You do know that under EPSON (which is outdated data, not updated since 2011 and due for next update in 2020) Liverpool is considered part of Manchester with a combined population of 5.6m right? They removed the pan-metropolitan entries from that wiki article. WatcherZero (talk) 13:00, 9 June 2018 (UTC)


The urban area has a population of 118,200 according to its own wiki page but is not in the list (where it would have been 66th). CALDlykLIJ (talk) 08:09, 27 June 2018 (UTC)

I would have to say that the source for Chesters population (the Telegraph) is likely just not right and that is probably the answer. The Telegraph may be using some wider district figure which includes areas outside of the 'urban' area. Koncorde (talk) 13:03, 27 June 2018 (UTC)
Accurate figure for the Urban Area is 92,919.[6] Koncorde (talk) 13:19, 27 June 2018 (UTC)

"Larger urban zone" instead of "Metropolitan area"[edit]

I have just deleted a number of cases where places clearly outside London [eg, Reading/Wokinghan] had been shown as in the London Metropolitan Area. (I have reverted my deletions pending discussion). I don't believe that we have a reliable source for what is or isn't in a "Metropolitan Area", whereas there is a clear definition of Larger urban zone. If we mean commuter belt, then surely we should say so. What I'm really saying is that I consider the term "Metropolitan Area" too vague and too open to POV/OR.
Comments?--John Maynard Friedman (talk) 11:49, 22 October 2018 (UTC)

It's a very "meh" situation. The ESPON study has been used to form the backbone of List of metropolitan areas in Europe and List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom which has merged together different methodologies to identify / explain something that isn't readily understood or conveyed (and muddied with the existence of "Metropolitan Counties" / "Metropolitan Districts"). The definition by the EU Commission doesn't necessarily gel well with all these different ONS standards which can lead to oddities like Warrington and Chester, which fall outside of any "Urban Area" other than their own, but fall within a "Metropolitan Area" (which I believe is also the case with Reading) which has the same or similar name to an Urban area.
I had a vigorous debate on the issue on the Liverpool article[7] which is currently using the 2.24 million people value of the "Liverpool/Birkenhead Metropolitan area" and conflating it with a solely Liverpool Metropolitan area / Merseyside / City Region / Urban Area / Council, in the same way some other articles conflate "London" with "London Metropolitan Area" and "London Metropolis" and "Greater London", nevermind various authorities etc. Koncorde (talk) 12:36, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I'm not surprised. However if the table heading were "X commuter belt", then at least the methodology would be transparent, but if and only if the CB had an NPOV RS. Which is maybe a big ask. Taking Oxford as a "for instance", yes lots of people commute from Oxford to London but a lot more people commute into Oxford, So if Banbury (say) is in the Oxford commuter belt does that make it part of the London metro area? Reductio ad absurdum.
It seems to me that we are tying ourselves in knots trying to apply USA low-density concepts to high-density England. TBH, I question the value and merit of that column, full stop, --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 15:19, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
The terms used in the article are the officially used ones, but if you want the dumbed down equivalents Built Up Area is continguous urban sprawl, a distinct agglomeration of residential, commercial and industrial development without green gaps (and so may feature many smaller urban centres which have been absorbed by urban sprawl from a larger neighbour); Meanwhile Metropolitan Area is the distinct commercial and economic centre it belongs to, i.e. highest net commuter flow. So far example there may be a 20 mile or more break of countryside between them however the people in the smaller settlement do still primarily commute to the larger neighbour for employment. The distinction from using the term commuter belt is that while many people within a cities commuter belt may flow in to a central city, that city may not be the primary source of employment for local residents (e.g. 20% of the population may work in London but 40% work locally so while its within the London Commuter belt London is not the primary Metropolitan area to which the local population belongs). WatcherZero (talk) 17:30, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
It's not a US system at play, it's a very EU standard. The problem is just lots of ways of slicing the land up, often overlapping, using marginally different definitions (or grossly similar). The mix between authorities, counties, FUA, MUA etc just makes it even worse. Koncorde (talk) 18:29, 22 October 2018 (UTC)


Can anyone justify the claimed figure for the population of Leicester? According to ONS (the only reliable source) the population as of the 2011 census was 443,760.[1] --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 11:43, 16 July 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Leicester BUA (E35001399)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics.
There was a couple of IP addresses changing all things Leicester for a few months a few years back. Probably one of those. Leicester Urban Area was protected as a result of the constant changes being made. Koncorde (talk) 13:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Per next section (Worrisome lack of citations), I suspect that there will be a lot of changes so maybe it would be best if an enthusiastic editor would go through at least the top 20, checking and citing the figures, and only then resorting the table? For now, I will just cite the true figure but not change the order.--John Maynard Friedman (talk) 13:33, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Chaps - I was one of the main editors on clarifying much of the population data for Leicester and Bristol as well as several other areas, indeed I was wrestling with the aforementioned IP editor a couple of years back with the Leicester page. As to the current changes, the figures changed by John only tell part of the story - the numbers and Nomis links provided by John only show the cities built up area subdivision (BUASD) population counts, but not the full built up area (BUA). There is breakdown of the areas in the tables at the following links with maps to demonstrate the BUASDs at these links:
Leicester 2011 full BUA details - for 2011 the Leicester BUASD is 443,760, the full BUA is 508,916
Bristol full BUA details - for 2011 the Bristol BUASD is 535,907, full Bristol area is 617,280
To obtain the full BUA details John you'll need to do a database query on Nomis, the SQL scripting used there means you cannot directly link to the results and so when I added refs I could only put a general Nomis url. If you need clarification on how to use the db query I am happy to provide further details.
Note that these BUA numbers are basically the population of city council areas, plus the population of any suburbs outside the council area before countryside. Leicester's council area population (329,839)[1] for example is different to the BUASD (443,760)[2] which is different to the full BUA (508,916). For your interest I even broke down how the BUASD figure is obtained with Leicester on the talk page here.
The List of urban areas in the United Kingdom table was actually correct before the changes therefore, and so the changes made by John will need to be pulled back. I am not in the UK at the moment so may correct if not done by the time I have returned.
Regards, The Equalizer (talk) 17:27, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
My edits were made in good faith and fortunately not too much damage has been done. As I explain below under 'worrisome' etc, NOMIS has broken a facility that previously worked, which offered the KS for true overall BUA, not just the BUASD that happens to have the same name. I will follow up with them. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 21:34, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Just to close out this discussion, I confirm that the original figure for Leicester was correct. My challenge was based on incorrect data due to a fault in NOMIS and was thus invalid. As noted below, NOMIS have repaired access to the overall Built-up Area figures. It now says: "There were 508,916 usual residents as at Census day 2011".[3]


Worrisome lack of citations for built-up area population figures[edit]

Few of the figures given for built-up area populations are cited. I have found at least one so far (#Leicester above) that doesn't match the ONS data. In the past, it has seemed (to me at least) very difficult to extract this data from Nomis but they appear to have made a change that makes it a lot more accessible. So if anyone wants to spend the time citing each entry, here is how to do it:

  1. (I have forgotten how I found that!)
  2. Name of urban area and then Search ... Example: Bristol
  3. Select the relevant built up area ... Example: Built-up areas (villages, towns or cities), ...Bristol (in South West Region)
  4. Get the E number from the URL ... Example: E35001261 from
  5. Plug into template:NOMIS2011 ... Example UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Bristol BUA (E35001261)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics.

Questions? --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 13:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

I have struck out the above because, as of 16 July, it does not work. It may become available again at a later date. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 18:45, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
(That example showed that the figure for Bristol was wrong too, so I have corrected the table in the article). --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 13:40, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
The whole point of single sourcing the figures is to make them comparable, if you start using different figures from different sources and/or different dates then they are no longer comparable and the table becomes meaningless. WatcherZero (talk) 17:21, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
As explained in the Leicester subsection above, the definition of BUA has been blurred and I am glad GSS codes ('the E number') are being referenced as that can help clarify the differences a little.
E34004965 is the full Bristol BUA
E35001261 is the Bristol subdivision BUASD
E06000023 is the Bristol council/county area
E34004647 - full Leicester BUA
E35001399 - Leicester BUASD
E06000016 - Leicester council area
Note that the Nomis search above does not find the E34******* references.
My comments on the lack of citations and incorrect population numbers being added are in the Leicester section above.
--The Equalizer (talk) 18:00, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Until recently, NOMIS was providing the figures for the overall BUA, not just the BUASD. (I am familiar with the issue because the ONS assigned the name "Milton Keynes" to just a part of it for no obvious reason, yielding a laughable figure). Evidently NOMIS has changed something because, as you correctly point out, the E34nnnnnnn codes no longer work and these are the only ones of real world value. I see also that the 111nnnnnn codes have become E35nnnnnn codes, but our citations that use them still work. I am writing to NOMIS to ask for an explanation. In the meantime, I will back off. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 21:29, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

E3400nnnn codes working again[edit]

NOMIS have fixed the error that broke E3400nnnn codes, so it is again possible to use them and any existing citations are valid again. However as yet there is no easy way (sing the 'easy access' functions of the website) to find out the code for a given urban area. This needs more work and is planned. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 09:50, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Hi John - thanks for highlighting the fault to Nomis - the report definitely works now.
As for codes, do you mean the GSS codes? There is a link to a DB containing the codes at the bottom of the ONS coding system Wiki page.
Also if you look at the Nomis webpage url for the report it shows the code at the end of the url.
Regards, The Equalizer (talk) 12:41, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Revised instructions that I now believe to be correct[edit]

NOMIS have fully repaired their system so that it gives the correct data for 'Greater Xxxxxx" Built-up Area (as well as the 1970s (?) boundaries Built-up Sub-area). (revised 20 July 2019):

  1. then section headed Local Area Report
  2. Name of urban area and then Search ... Example: Bristol
  3. Select the relevant built up area ... Example: Built-up area (villages, towns or cities), ...Bristol (in South West Region) (caution! not "Built-up area sub divisions (town or city sub divisions)").
  4. Get the GSS E number from the response ... Example: "This report covers the characteristics of people and households in Bristol Built-up area in South West (GSS code E34004965)".
  5. Plug into template:NOMIS2011 ... Example {{NOMIS2011|id=E34004965|title=Bristol BUA}} produces UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Bristol BUA (E34004965)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. which reports "There were 617,280 usual residents as at Census day 2011".
  6. Wrap in ref tags and attach to figure in table.

Tested for Leicester and Bristol but I won't apply to the article to allow rather more time than I did last time for gremlins to emerge. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 16:04, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Uncited changes to the table data[edit]

J mareeswaran, slightly concerned that your edits are based upon "feels" rather than facts. I haven't had chance to review the changes as yet, but at the very least your change to "Greater Merseyside" is very much incorrect. Your changes do not appear to be based upon any given source, and you haven't explained the criteria for change. Entities such as the Liverpool City Region, and Leeds City Region are very different to Metropolitan areas for instance. I would suggest you explain your changes here because at present I am considering reverting prior to the changes made 16th August onwards. Koncorde (talk) 13:17, 28 August 2019 (UTC)

I would say the Metropolitan area should be equivalent to the Travel to work area.
There is no specific wikipage for each TTWA. I have tried to be as accurate as possible. As you can see Greater Merseyside is just a wikilink to Greater Merseyside section in Merseyside article which has the necessary explanation. Specifically I understand that Warrington is part of the Liverpool metropolitan area but not part of Merseyside. That is why I have updated that to Greater Merseyside
1. "I would say" is not a sourced change.
2. If such a thing as a TTWA exists and needs an article for it, create it?
3. Warrington is not part of Liverpool Metropolitan Area, nor is it part of the Liverpool Urban Area, nor is it part of the Liverpool City Region, nor is it part of Merseyside. Greater Merseyside has no official status, and I would struggle to think of any given source that would use the definition of "Greater Merseyside" to include Warrington that would be considered a reliable source for the claim. Diverting an article to a subsection so people can read what it isn't is not the correct answer.
I would suggest you please stop re-diverting the articles until you can come up with a rationale for these changes. Koncorde (talk) 13:59, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
as I mentioned above, my source is Wikipedia. Below is extract from Greater Merseyside section of Merseyside wikipage:
Other nearby towns are not part of Merseyside, such as Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, Warrington, Runcorn, Widnes and Ellesmere Port (all parts of either Cheshire or Lancashire), but the designation "Greater Merseyside" has sometimes been adopted for Merseyside and these six towns unofficially. J mareeswaran (talk) 14:37, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
As no doubt you are aware, Wikipedia never cites itself for obvious reasons. If you want to use material from other articles, you must check their citations and use those. If those articles lack citations, that is a good clue to stop until you or somebody else has provided them. What you must not do is propagate errors. In addition, I strongly suggest that you follow Koncorde's check list. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 15:09, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a reliable source. This sentence "has sometimes been adopted for Merseyside and these six towns unofficially" is a massive red flag, in particular as the sourcing for this claim is exceptionally weak and not based upon any clear rationale (the claim is sourced to a provider of Atlas) and can be refuted through referring to all official sourcing.
The table should reflect the Official versions of the Built Up Area, Subdivisions, Corresponding Metropolitan Area, and Overseeing Combined Authority. This may in fact mean it refers to historic entities or may not be up to date if changes have been made recently (such as Local Government Changes in 2019), but this means that the corresponding articles should be created and or referenced, and / or sourced specifically to the primary, secondary or tertiary sources discussing the implemented changes.
Referencing the changes made is critical to ensure that what has been changed is accurate and can be backed up. Koncorde (talk) 15:55, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
I didn't expect this specific issue to generate a controversy as Warrington is included in the Liverpool ESPON metropolitan area (which is where the header for this column is redirecting today). If there are are no reliable/acceptable links for metropolitan area /TTWA, then maybe we should remove this column as it is very confusing? J mareeswaran (talk) 16:02, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
There is no such thing as a "Liverpool ESPON metropolitan area". There is a "Liverpool / Birkenhead metropolitan area" as part of the ESPON study which is how Warrington and Chester ended up being included. However both concepts are distinct but regularly conflated by people trying to write puff pieces. The Liverpool "metropolitan" area itself corresponds to the Liverpool Built-up Area. The problem is that, again, changing definitions and conflation of FUA / BUA / MUA / City Regions / Combined Authorities / Counties / LEP / Met Boroughs / Met Areas etc etc.
The problem is - nobody thinks of "Liverpool - Birkenhead" as a single entity, no more than "Leeds–Bradford metropolitan area". They are generally considered as distinct components with their own metropolitan dimensions. As such the underlying article for such a met area does not exist as beyond the ESPON study it doesn't functionally do anything. Koncorde (talk) 16:48, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
My confusion remains. I am not from UK, so how do I know when ESPON criteria should be used and when it should not be used? I see that Luton TTWA is distinct from London TTWA but Luton is included in London Commuter Belt based on ESPON reference. How would you decide what goes where? What is the criteria?
The ESPON study is very old and created for itself a definition of metro areas that it could use consistently for every urban area of the EU, to make cross-Union comparisons. It had to make many compromises to achieve that. Accordingly, it is only valid within its own context and cannot be used generically. So the best answer to your question is "never". --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 17:30, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately people do use it for everything. Which leads to much confusion when adjacent towns are included in two met areas, or not in any met area such as Warrington. Nobody ever refers to the Birkenhead Metropolitan Area for instance. I don't believe it has ever been defined, certainly not to include Warrington and Chester anyway. The ESPON is very odd data in that respect. Koncorde (talk) 22:23, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
I've got to agree with the changes since 16th August not being very structured and using a less-standard definition of what is classed as an urban area by an EU body. Of course their base data would almost certainly be obtained from the UK's national statistical body, namely the ONS. So I would suggest we revert back to using NOMIS data. I have to question the addition of 'proposed' combined authorities when this implies they aren't active as yet. Also noted was the fact the populations have only been updated to 2019 estimates for the upper/larger entries, with the heading being retitled as such by user Lifeisamystery1980, yet the rest of the table still has 2011 population counts. 2011 may appear to be old now, but it is a census year and will be accurate as opposed to intermediate year rounded up estimates. Regards, --The Equalizer (talk) 02:48, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
Worse still, people are using an ESPON structure that relied on the 2001 census and trying to retrofit very recent LA estimates, which to is unambiguously WP:SYN. IMO, the table should only use the BUAs from 2011 census as this is the trustworthy source. It was difficult to do so when this article was first created because people were relying on (which only does BUASDs). Now that the BUA data is easily obtained from NOMIS, there is no good reason not to use it for England and Wales. Apart from the time it takes! --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 15:07, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
I am happy to use whatever is reliable. We just need to make sure it is reliable and using the best and most appropriate metrics wherever possible. Koncorde (talk) 16:38, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
I have reverted all mareeswaram's edits and gone back to the 15th August 2019 version before all the additional poorly sourced fluff was added. Eopsid (talk) 21:11, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Proposal to delete column "Corresponding Metropolitan Area" from table[edit]

We have had multiple discussions above and elsewhere about the ESPON metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom, which is piped from "Corresponding Metropolitan Area". In a nutshell, ESPON devised a structure based on 2001 UK census data in a way that it could compare and contrast with very broadly similar census data across Europe. In doing so, it made (and had to make) delineation decisions that do not match those used by the ONS for the 2011 census. So we have mix of (munged) 2001 data and 2011 data, which is poor practice. IMO, the column is misleading to a modern readership and should be deleted.

[Full disclosure: I do not and never have lived in any of the larger conurbations and have no ulterior motive than to make Wikipedia as good as it can be].

Comments before I delete? --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 23:45, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Koncorde was proposing above to revert all changes back to how the page was on the 15th August. I suggest we go with that simply due to
1 - It already having a metropolitan area column which was correct;
2 - It contained 2011 population figures which are accurate, not the present mix of 2011 census and 2019 estimates;
3 - The current map of '15 largest areas' is not so (Norwich, Potteries, Hull);
4 - There being superfluous blank cells in the table that would get tidied up.
However, keeping the Overseeing Combined Authority column might have added value to the table.
Regards, The Equalizer (talk) 00:28, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
If Koncorde is about to make a more thorough reconstruction, I recognise his/her greater expertise and will wait until he/she has finished and then consider whether or not to reopen this mini-RFC. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 17:27, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, you can remove the metropolitan area column.
It is misleading to link ESPON(2001) data with ONS(2011) data in this way J mareeswaran (talk) 15:05, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Proposal suspended pending action by Koncorde. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 17:27, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
I have reverted it all back to the 15th August version as was suggested. Eopsid (talk) 21:13, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Eopsid. Sorry didn't realise we were waiting on any action from myself. Koncorde (talk) 22:41, 13 September 2019 (UTC)[edit]

At the moment, the lead says that is th main source because it is more accessible. That was certainly true five years ago but it is no longer so. Nomis is now a far preferable source, for two reasons.

  1. only gives urban area subdivisions and thus is certainly incorrect for at least Bristol, Leicester and Milton Keynes, and no doubt more. Nomis gives UAs (generally more appropriate) as well as UASDs.
  2. Nomis gives a map of the area that is being reported on, so there is no doubt about what is being counted in and what is not.
  3. Nomis reports England and Wales only, unfortunately, so will remain for Scotland and Northern Ireland (unless someone has better sources for their cities too?)

So I propose that we lose the reference to and let the citations take the strain. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 19:43, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

Sure, go for it. The official stats bodies websites in Scotland and NI are Scotland Census and NISRA respectively. However don't reference each figure, town, etc as that will be a huge undertaking - just a general ref to Nomis should suffice, as per the Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Types_of_citation 'general reference' guideline.
Regs --The Equalizer (talk) 23:10, 14 September 2019 (UTC)