City Region and Regionalism: A Geographical Contribution to Human Ecology

By Robert E. Dickinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
THE CITY-REGION IN ENGLAND AND WALES

I. THE GROWTH OF URBAN POPULATION

Comparative study of the regional relations of the cities of Britain must begin with particular reference to their extent and expansion as revealed by population data.

The census of 1931 revealed that 80 per cent. of the population of England and Wales and 70 per cent. of the population of Scotland lived in urban districts. There were 113 urban administrative areas having populations exceeding 50,000. Twenty- eight of these recorded increases of more than 10 per cent. Of these fifteen are in Greater London, one is a suburb of Manchester, and three are holiday resorts in the south-east of England. The remainder are small towns with 50,000-100,000 inhabitants scattered over the land -- Oxford, Doncaster, Coventry, Luton, Cambridge, Wakefield, Exeter and Ipswich. Most of these, with several others where the increase has now slackened, record high increases since 1901.

Twenty-five towns decreased during the 1921-31 decade. Nine of these are in Lancashire, and in six of them the decline is a continuation of a loss in the previous decade. With the exception of Leeds and Wakefield, the Yorkshire textile towns have had almost stationary populations in the last three decades. Finally, since 1901, the cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants record increases less than the average for England and Wales, with the exception of Birmingham and Liverpool ( 1911-31) and Hull ( 1921-31). In the aggregate they increased only by 1·6 per cent. in the 1920-30 decade.

A half of the total urban population of Britain, and two-fifths of the total population, are contained in the seven great agglomerationsn or "conurbations".1 Further, the 37 large towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants each, contain more than half of the total population (53·7 per cent.), and 60 per cent. of the population lived in the sixty-five urban areas with more than 50,000

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1
C. B. Fawcett, "British Conurbations in 1921", Sociological Review, Vol. XIV, 1922, pp. 111-22, and "Distribution of the Urban Population in Great Britain, 1931", Geographical Journal, Vol. LXXIX, 1932, pp. 100-16. See maps and statistical analysis accompanying the latter. For definition and criticism see above, pp. 168-9.

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