Where can I find population data (male, female, total) for all UK counties for last 7 decades, i.e. 1950,1960,1970,1980,1990,2000,2010. I tried my luck with Office for National Statistics and UK National Statistics, but all in vain.

  • Not all Census are full digitized (1950 etc) you might have to use more recent censuses, note that counties like 'Avon' do not exist anymore (in 1981 it did, so you need to understand that.) it was split up - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avon_%28county%29
    – Mapperz
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 14:35

2 Answers 2


This is actually more tricky then it sounds! Are you aware that the boundaries have changed quite considerably over the period (not least the 1974 boundary changes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Government_Act_1972)?

Fortunately the nice people at the University of Portsmouth have done quite a lot of the leg work for you (http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/index.jsp). So a chat with them is probably the way to go. Depending on your status (are you a student or working in charity / local government?) the data should be available to you free of charge.

Other then that, contacting the CASWEB people at the University of Manchester (http://casweb.mimas.ac.uk/) might be a good starting point. They provide access to Census material going back to 1971 - which I believe is the earliest date that digital micro-level data is available for.

UPDATE With regard to the Vision of Britain resource - a quick play around with their search capabilities shows that the work around they've done is using the country structure until 1971 and then Local Authority structure 1981 onward. This is pragmatic work around to the problem. Some of the boundaries are Creative Commons - but the data would need negotiating (see here: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/data/index.jsp).

  • Thanks. I was not aware of the fact of change in boundaries. Even the data for 1980 and aftrewards is ok for me. However from the links you have provided (CASWEB), data can only be accessed by members of UK Higher and Further Education institutions.
    – thelastray
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 8:56
  • 1
    Still might be worth your while contacting them - you never know! Also I'm assuming (!) that you're not particularly familiar with the UK Census - it's run every 10 years, starting in 1851 ;). Unless you're planning to use the information for a commercial application most academic institutions would be happy to give you a few pointers ... just ask nicely and be sure to cite where you got the information from.
    – Andy TIce
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 10:52

Population is by Unitary Authority or Local Authority in the UK.

Searching http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/index.html?pageSize=50&sortBy=none&sortDirection=none&newquery=population&content-type=Reference+table&content-type=Dataset

Has Population in Excel Format. You will need to extract that but country (there are tallies for county) then map that to county boundaries.

Use the Boundary-Line (May 2012) shapefile data from here: http://parlvid.mysociety.org:81/os/ create the lines into polygons and then you can map the data by county.

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