Skip to main content

Characteristics of Built-Up Areas

This report provides an insight into the characteristics of the built-up areas in England and Wales in 2011. The information is derived from the 2011 Census and is presented for a variety of census topics. Comparisons between built-up areas of different sizes are made, as well as comparisons between built-up areas and non built-up areas.

Key Points
Built-up areas are characteristic of settlements including villages, towns or cities. In 2011 across England and Wales 95 per cent of the usually resident population lived in built-up areas. The total land area of the built-up areas in 2011 was 1.4 million hectares (9.6 per cent of England and Wales). There are 5,493 built-up areas across England and Wales, with the smallest areas having a population of just over 100, and the largest, Greater London having a population of nearly 9.8 million.

Depending on the population size, the characteristics of the usual residents1 within built-up areas do noticeably differ. Across all built-up areas, as population size gets larger the usual residents were:

• More likely to:
o Be younger
o Be living in a socially rented home
o Have no access to a car or van
o Be born outside of the UK

• Less likely to be:
o White
o Christian