London Population 2021

9,425,622
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The latest official estimate of the population of London comes from the Office for National Statistics. According to their data, the estimated population of Greater London in 2016 is 8,787,892.

The Census in the United Kingdom takes place every ten years, with the most recent one completed in 2011. According to this census, the population of London was 8,173,941. The next census in England and Wales is scheduled for 2021.

London's population makes it by far the largest city in the United Kingdom. The second largest city in the UK - Birmingham - has a population of 1.1 million.

It is the third largest city in Europe, behind Istanbul (14.8 million) and Moscow (10.3 million), and the 27th most populous metro area in the world, slightly larger than Lima, Peru.

Different definitions of London

Estimating London's population is made more complicated by the various ways of defining the city. Here are just a few of the methods of breaking down London's geography along with estimates of their population.

  • City of London 7,375 (2011 Census)
  • Inner London 3,231,901 (2011 Census)
  • Outer London 4,942,040 (2011 Census)
  • Greater London 8,173,941 (2011 Census)
  • London Metropolitan Area 10-18 million (number of residents depends on the definition used)

Generally, throughout this article, we've used the term London for simplicity, but when we're referring to modern day London, we mean Greater London. The City of London is a much smaller area (just over a square mile) with less than 10,000 residents, although over 300,000 people commute there for work.

City Size and Population Density

The City of London is sometimes referred to as "The Square Mile," due to the 1.12 square miles (2.9 square kilometers) that the city itself is located on. The Greater London area is much larger, coming to about 606 square miles (1,569 square kilometers). In combination with the estimated 2017 population for the city and the Greater London area, the population density for each comes to about 7,700 residents per square mile in the city and 14,550 residents per square mile in the Greater London area.

London's Population History

Although there had been settlements in the area for centuries, London first became recognized as a significant population center during the Roman occupation of Britain. Londinium, as it was known, quickly became the capital of Rome's Britannia province, and by the 2nd century AD, Londinium was a thriving trade center with a population of around 60,000 people.

After the Romans withdrew, the settlement of Londinium was more or less abandoned in favor of Lundenwic, located a mile down the river. Lundenwic had a reduced population of around 10,000 people, and it's vulnerability to Viking raids eventually led to it being gradually moved back east to the old Londinium site to take advantage of the ancient Roman city walls.

From there, the city prospered and grew steadily again, reaching a population of 100,000 for the first time, somewhere around 1500 AD. As the British Empire expanded, so did London's importance as one of the world's major trading cities, and shortly after 1800, London reached the 1,000,000 resident milestone for the first time.

Industrialization led to increased urbanization and this, combined with London's growing prominence, led to some dramatic population increases. According to census records, the number of people living in London increased more than fivefold from 959,300 in 1801 to 5,572,012 in 1891. For much of the 19th century and the early 20th century, London was the largest city in the world.

The first half of the 20th century saw sustained, and fairly rapid growth and London's population reached its highest point in 1939. By the outbreak of the second world war, 8,615,245 people were living in London, although by then it had just lost its status as the largest city in the world to New York.

From the end of the World War II until the 1980s, London saw its population gradually decline, as the city lost its status as the hub of Empire and one of the world's greatest trading cities. By the time the 1981 census was taken, the number of people living in London had fallen to just 6,607,513, a decline of more than two million, or around 25%, in only four decades.

However, a population boom in the 1980s occurred, and increasing prosperity combined with increased immigration has once again resulted in an increase in population. Just 20 years later, the population had increased to 7,172,036 at the time of the 2001 census, and further increases are expected to push the population past 9 million by 2021. The current 2021 projection puts the London population at 9,221,300 according to the London Datastore.

Ethnicity in London

London as a city is considerably more diverse than the rest of the United Kingdom. Across England and Wales, 86% of the population is white based on the 2011 Census, but in London that number falls to 69.7%. Additionally, in 2011, Scotland's population was 96% white, while Northern Ireland's population was over 98% white.

The section on ethnicity below, compiled using 2011 census data from the ONS provides details of the ethnicity of London residents compared to residents of England and Wales.

London's diversity can also be seen in statistics for London residents' country of birth. Of the 8.88 million people living in London at the time of the most recent UK estimates, 3.32 million (37%) were born outside of the United Kingdom. Of these, approximately a third were born within European Union countries, while the other two-thirds were born outside of the European Union. The most common country of birth for London residents outside of the UK is India. According to the 2011 census, 262,247 people living in London were born in India.

Religion in London

London is the most diverse area within the UK when it comes to religious beliefs, with the highest percentage of people identifying as Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish. The latest data from the 2011 census recorded that 48.4% of Londoners considered themselves to be Christian, 12.39% considered themselves Muslim, 5% Hindu, 1.82% Jewish, 1.5% Sikh, 1% Buddhist and 0.6% Other. A large proportion, 20.73% of respondents, stated that they followed no religion. You can see the specific numbers from the 2011 census in the religion section below.

Year Population
203510,556,486
203410,493,014
203310,428,701
203210,363,298
203110,296,537
203010,228,051
202910,157,506
202810,084,377
202710,007,878
20269,927,015
20259,840,742
20249,748,033
20239,648,110
20229,540,576
20219,425,622
20209,304,016
20199,176,530
20189,046,485
20178,916,251
20168,787,892
20158,661,381
20148,536,861
20138,414,132
20128,293,332
20118,173,941
20108,044,433
20097,916,978
20087,791,713
20077,668,093
20067,546,600
20057,501,217
20047,456,170
20037,411,269
20027,366,701
20017,322,400
20007,272,819
19997,223,438
19987,174,459
19977,125,813
19967,077,563
19957,029,508
19946,981,844
19936,934,504
19926,887,549
19916,840,784
19906,794,400
19896,783,677
19886,772,986
19876,762,282
19866,751,610
19856,740,954
19846,730,330
19836,719,694
19826,709,089
19816,698,500
19806,751,196
19796,824,317
19786,898,127
19776,972,736
19767,048,047
19757,124,383
19747,201,439
19737,279,328
19727,357,951
19717,437,643
19707,509,405
19697,579,890
19687,650,937
19677,722,850
19667,795,337
19657,868,506
19647,942,259
19638,016,909
19628,092,157
19618,168,112
19608,195,769
19598,212,148
19588,228,540
19578,244,963
19568,261,397
19558,277,907
19548,294,430
19538,310,985
19528,327,549
19518,344,192
19508,360,847

London Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate Growth
203510,556,4860.60%63,472
203410,493,0140.62%64,313
203310,428,7010.63%65,403
203210,363,2980.65%66,761
203110,296,5370.67%68,486
203010,228,0510.69%70,545
202910,157,5060.73%73,129
202810,084,3770.76%76,499
202710,007,8780.81%80,863
20269,927,0150.88%86,273
20259,840,7420.95%92,709
20249,748,0331.04%99,923
20239,648,1101.13%107,534
20229,540,5761.22%114,954
20219,425,6221.31%121,606
20209,304,0161.39%127,486
20199,176,5301.44%130,045
20189,046,4851.46%130,234
20178,916,2511.46%128,359
20168,787,8921.46%126,511
20158,661,3811.46%124,520
20148,536,8611.46%122,729
20138,414,1321.46%120,800
20128,293,3321.46%119,391
20118,173,9411.61%129,508
20108,044,4331.61%127,455
20097,916,9781.61%125,265
20087,791,7131.61%123,620
20077,668,0931.61%121,493
20067,546,6000.61%45,383
20057,501,2170.60%45,047
20047,456,1700.61%44,901
20037,411,2690.60%44,568
20027,366,7010.61%44,301
20017,322,4000.68%49,581
20007,272,8190.68%49,381
19997,223,4380.68%48,979
19987,174,4590.68%48,646
19977,125,8130.68%48,250
19967,077,5630.68%48,055
19957,029,5080.68%47,664
19946,981,8440.68%47,340
19936,934,5040.68%46,955
19926,887,5490.68%46,765
19916,840,7840.68%46,384
19906,794,4000.16%10,723
19896,783,6770.16%10,691
19886,772,9860.16%10,704
19876,762,2820.16%10,672
19866,751,6100.16%10,656
19856,740,9540.16%10,624
19846,730,3300.16%10,636
19836,719,6940.16%10,605
19826,709,0890.16%10,589
19816,698,500-0.78%-52,696
19806,751,196-1.07%-73,121
19796,824,317-1.07%-73,810
19786,898,127-1.07%-74,609
19776,972,736-1.07%-75,311
19767,048,047-1.07%-76,336
19757,124,383-1.07%-77,056
19747,201,439-1.07%-77,889
19737,279,328-1.07%-78,623
19727,357,951-1.07%-79,692
19717,437,643-0.96%-71,762
19707,509,405-0.93%-70,485
19697,579,890-0.93%-71,047
19687,650,937-0.93%-71,913
19677,722,850-0.93%-72,487
19667,795,337-0.93%-73,169
19657,868,506-0.93%-73,753
19647,942,259-0.93%-74,650
19638,016,909-0.93%-75,248
19628,092,157-0.93%-75,955
19618,168,112-0.34%-27,657
19608,195,769-0.20%-16,379
19598,212,148-0.20%-16,392
19588,228,540-0.20%-16,423
19578,244,963-0.20%-16,434
19568,261,397-0.20%-16,510
19558,277,907-0.20%-16,523
19548,294,430-0.20%-16,555
19538,310,985-0.20%-16,564
19528,327,549-0.20%-16,643
19518,344,192-0.20%-16,655
19508,360,8470.00%

London Population Data (Urban Area)

Place White Asian Black Mixed Other
East Midlands89.3%6.5%1.8%1.9%0.6%
East of England90.8%4.8%2%1.9%0.5%
England and Wales86%7.5%3.3%2.2%1%
London59.8%18.5%13.3%5%3.4%
North East95.3%2.9%0.5%0.9%0.4%
North West90.2%6.2%1.4%1.6%0.6%
Northern Ireland98.28%1.06%0.2%0.33%0.13%
Scotland96.02%2.66%0.12%0.37%0.27%
South East90.7%5.2%1.6%1.9%0.6%
South West95.4%2%0.9%1.4%0.3%
Wales95.6%2.3%0.6%1%0.5%
West Midlands82.7%10.8%3.3%2.4%0.9%
Yorkshire and the Humber88.8%7.3%1.5%1.6%0.8%

Ethnicity in London vs Rest of United Kingdom

Religion Persons Percentage
Christian3,957,98448.42%
None1,694,37220.73%
Muslim1,012,82312.39%
Not Stated692,7398.47%
Hindu411,2915.03%
Jewish148,6021.82%
Sikh126,1341.54%
Buddhist82,0261.00%
Other47,9700.59%

Religion in London (2011 Census Data)

Name 2021 Population 2021 Growth
London9,425,6221.31%
Manchester2,750,1200.73%
Birmingham2,626,3740.73%
West Yorkshire1,901,9470.68%
Glasgow1,680,6690.44%
Southampton935,8680.86%
Liverpool906,4430.53%
Newcastle Upon Tyne813,8070.53%
Nottingham794,0080.81%
Sheffield735,2920.70%
Bristol693,5521.07%
Belfast634,5940.63%
Brighton612,1590.87%
Leicester556,9300.86%
Edinburgh542,5991.08%
Bournemouth510,0210.86%
Cardiff481,0820.72%
Coventry432,3861.60%
Middlesbrough388,9690.41%
Stoke On Trent387,7850.46%

Other Cities in United Kingdom

  1. London Assembly - London information and statistics
  2. London Datastore - Analysis of London census data
  3. Population Estimates for UK
  4. Table KS209EW: Religion 2011 Census

Sources