Sunderland is a city located in Tyne and Wear, North East England. This coastal city is located along the River Wear, Roker, and Seaburn. Sunderland has a history as an important port for coal and salt trading and now is a center for industries including technology, science, and automotive. The city at the time of its last census in 2011 had a population of 174,286.
Based on census data, the majority – 93.6% -- of Sunderland’s population is White British. The population of Asian residents is 3.4% of the total population. Blacks account for 0.7% of the population. Some wards, however, have a higher population of ethnic minorities, including Barnes, Hendon and St. Peter’s.
When it comes to religion, data from the census shows that over 70% of the population identify as being Christian. Minority religions including Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish. Almost 22% of residents do not follow a religion.
Sunderland’s history started all the way back during the Stone Age. Evidence of hunter-gatherers residing in the area during this time peiod have been discovered. During the 100s, the city was a fishing village that was known as Soender-land.
In the 1500s, salt was made in Sunderland from seawater. The seawater was heated using coal and when the water evaporated, there was salt, which was sold. Because of the need for coal, a coal mining community formed. The poorer quality coal was used to make salt, while the higher quality coal was traded at the city’s port.
During the 1600s, Sunderland was taken by the parliament. The city became known as Sunderland-near-the-Sea. In the late 1700s, barracks were constructed as well as an iron bridge.
Troubles came to the city during the 19th century when Sunderland was struck by Indian cholera. The city was quarantined and the port blockaded to prevent spreading. However, it spread across the country, killing over 32,000. In 1835, there was a demand for a more organized local government, so the Borough of Sunderland was established. In the late 1800s, the boundaries of Sunderland continued to expand.
Heading into the 20th century, the coal and salt industries were on the decline. Now, the city was involved in other industries including chemical, paper and auto manufacturing. An electric tram system came to the city in the early 1900s and ran through the 1950s.
Sunderland was a target during World War II. Over 260 people died and thousands of homes were destroyed. The city began to rebuild, and boundaries were further expanded in the 1960s. Shipbuilding and coalmining were suffering greatly and by the 1980s, 20% of the workforce in Sunderland were unemployed. The service and manufacturing sectors continued to expand during the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1992, Sunderland was designated as a city. In recent years, the city has become an industrial center, has many attractions that appeal to residents and visitors, and has a professional football team.
Sunderland Population Growth
Sunderland has seen some highs and lows in its population throughout the years, from a cholera outbreak that killed many people throughout the entire country of England to a period of unemployment that led residents to seek employment in other cities. In 2016, hundreds of people in the 16 to 19 demographic left the city, and it seems to be a trend for the younger generation to move away from Sunderland. The primary reason that the younger generation is leaving is because there are few job opportunities. The unemployment rate continues to be higher than the national average. It’s also been noted that the residents age 65 and older surpass those of the younger generation. With an older population and younger residents moving elsewhere to find new opportunities, it’s likely that Sunderland will see a drop in its population in the years ahead.