Population change in Liverpool, 1981 to 2001


Liverpool is one of the three most important Atlantic ports in Britain (with Glasgow and Bristol) and for two hundred years was a centre for trade and communications with Britain's former colonies. However as Britain lost its leading position among world economies, Liverpool's fortunes suffered and already by the 1930s its ports and associated industries were in a decline which has continued to the present (Champion & Townsend, 1990). During the second half of the twentieth century Britain experienced a considerable movement of population from North to South, from urban areas to non-urban, and from inner cities to suburbs; the effect of all these wider movements on Liverpool was made more acute by economic decline and between 1950 and 2000 Liverpool's population declined by forty per cent.

Using the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (LS) it is possible to study population change in Liverpool in some detail; using information from four censuses for people alive and in the study in two consecutive censuses, one can study who moved in, who moved out, and who stayed in Liverpool. The chart below shows that about twenty per cent of the 1981 Liverpool population was living elsewhere by 1991 while of those in Liverpool in 1991, about ten per cent had moved in from elsewhere in England and Wales, mostly from other parts of the North West. By 2001, fourteen per cent of the 1991 population had moved out and nine per cent of the 2001 Liverpool population had moved in from elsewhere in England and Wales, again mostly from the North West. Of course Liverpool's population also changed over these decades as a result of births, deaths and migration from further afield, but the chart illustrates the extent of stability and change from one census to the next. It is interesting that the proportion moving out was slightly lower from 1991-2001 than from 1981-1991 and also that such a high proportion of the Liverpool population in both 1991 and 2001 had been in Liverpool ten years earlier.

Proportions of movers and stayers varied considerably by age group and by Social Class (based on usual or most recent occupation). Twenty per cent of Liverpool residents aged 16-39 years in 1991 were living elsewhere in England and Wales in 2001, compared with ten per cent of people aged 60 and over in 1991. Ninety percent of people in Liverpool in 1991 who were out of the labour force or who worked in a partly or less skilled manual job still lived in the City in 2001; by contrast forty-five per cent of those who had been in a professional or managerial job in 1991 had moved out (most often within the North West). We have prepared the following tables in an Excel file to show these patterns.

List of tables:

Table 1.1: People resident in England & Wales at 1981 and 1991: area of residence, 1981 and 1991

Table 1.2: People resident in Liverpool in 1981: area of residence in 1991 by age group in 1981

Table 1.3: People resident in Liverpool in 1981: area of residence in 1991 by sex

Table 1.4: People resident in Liverpool in 1981: area of residence in 1991 by Social Class in 1981

Table 1.5: People resident in Liverpool in 1991: area of residence in 1981 by age group in 1981

Table 2.1: People resident in England & Wales at 1991 and 2001: area of residence, 1991 and 2001

Table 2.2: People resident in Liverpool in 1991: area of residence in 2001 by age group in 1991

Table 2.3: People resident in Liverpool in 1991: area of residence in 2001 by sex

Table 2.4: People resident in Liverpool in 1991: area of residence in 2001 by social class in 1991

Table 2.5: People resident in Liverpool in 2001: area of residence in 1991 by age group in 1991

Technical details:

The tables were based on a group of Longitudinal Study members who:

  • Were present at two consecutive censuses (1981 and 1991 or 1991 and 2001).
  • Were at their usual address for each census.
  • Lived in a private household (i.e. not an institution) at each census.
  • Had mainly complete census records (especially on area of residence).
  • Were not in full time education at both censuses (because students are a highly mobile population).

This gave a sample of approximately 3,800 for 1981-1991 and 3,200 for 1991-2001.

Since administrative boundaries in England and Wales underwent several changes between 1981 and 2001, LS support staff have created variables which classify people in the 1991 and 2001 Censuses according to the boundaries as defined in 1981. These variables are used in these tables in order to provide comparability between residence in 1981, 1991 and 2001.

Reference:

Champion AG & Townsend AR (1990) Contemporary Britain: A Geographical Perspective, Edward Arnold, London.

Last modified 22 August 2011