Population of Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough is a town and borough in North Yorkshire, North East England. It is located on the south bank of the River Tees, around 7 miles from the North Sea.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Middlesbrough was a hamlet with just a handful of residents. Stockton-on-Tees was the main town in the area. It was a port and terminus of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The main business of the Stockton and Darlington Railway was transporting coal from the mines in County Durham to the port at Stockton for transport by sea.

Stockton-on-Tees lies around 12 miles from the coast. Large ships were unable to navigate the River Tees to reach it.

Joseph Pease, a coal mine owner and founder of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, looked for a more convenient site for a new port. In 1829 he purchased the farmland where Middlesbrough now stands. He began to develop the port and town of Middlesbrough, extending the railway line to it.

In 1850, John Vaughan discovered iron ore at Eston Hills near Middlesbrough. Iron was now in big demand in Britain, particularly for the rapid expansion of the railways being built in every part of the country.

As the UK’s railway network expanded, the appetite for iron grew. To satisfy this demand, Vaughan and his business partner, Henry Bolckow, built many blast furnaces in Middlesbrough. The town’s iron output would reach nearly a third of the country’s total by the 1870s.

In 1856 Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer Process, the first method for mass-producing steel. The method had some drawbacks. In particular, it was not effective in removing the phosphorous impurities in British iron ore. This resulted in low-grade steel.

In 1879 a new process was implemented at Bolckow, Vaughan and Co Limited’s works in Middlesbrough. The Gilchrist Thomas Process solved the issue of phosphorous impurities and helped the town become a major steel centre. By the 1900s the company was the biggest steel producer in the UK.

Dorman Long and Co Limited, founded in 1875, was another major steel producer based in the town. They were also involved in bridge building, particularly after their takeover of Bolckow, Vaughan in the late 1920s. Bridges built by Dorman Long include the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (1928), the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932), Lambeth Bridge in London (1932), and the Tees Newport Bridge in Middlesbrough (1934).

Between 1851 and 1891 Middlesbrough’s population grew from just a few thousand to over 80,000. Many of the town’s new workers hailed from South Wales, famous for its coal mining and iron smelting. Middlesbrough also attracted a large number of Irish workers. They left Ireland in large numbers in the 1850s as a result of the Irish Potato Famine.

From the 1920s onwards, the chemical sector grew to become one of the area’s major industries. ICI, formed in 1926, operated a large chemical plant at Billingham, just north of Middlesbrough.

By 1921, the population of the town was around 129,000.

By the late 1920s, steel production in Middlesbrough had begun to suffer from a loss of competitiveness. The relatively new plants developed by the competition in continental Europe, particularly in Germany, took advantage of economies of scale.

The competitiveness of steelmaking in the area was still further eroded in the 1950s and 1960s. Because of uncertainty over nationalization and other factors, new technologies, such as basic oxygen steelmaking, were not properly implemented.

In 1967, the Labour administration nationalised the largest steel firms in the UK (including Dorman Long) to create the British Steel Corporation.

The strategy of the British Steel Corporation was to concentrate steelmaking in 5 areas; one of which was Teeside. In 1979, a huge steelworks was built in Redcar, northeast of Middlesbrough.

The British Steel Corporation was privatised in 1988 to form British Steel. In 1999, British Steel merged with a Dutch company to form the Corus Group.

In 2007 the Corus Group was purchased by Tata Steel. In 2009, Tata Steel announced a partial mothballing of the Redcar steelworks, which resulted in the loss of approximately 1700 jobs.

The Redcar steelworks were acquired by Thai-based SSI in 2009. In 2015 SSI stopped production at Redcar due to a drop in world steel prices. SSI UK then went into liquidation.

Demolition of the Redcar steelworks began in 2021.

Despite the demise of Middlesbrough’s traditional industries, its leaders left cultural legacies for its residents. Albert Park, the town’s first municipal park, opened in 1868 and was funded by Henry Bolckow. Arthur Dorman, a founder of Dorman Long, founded the town’s Dorman Museum.

The problems faced by the town throughout the 20th and 21st centuries have meant that its population has stagnated over this period.

The current population of Middlesbrough is 148,300.

Current Population Statistics

According to data from the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS), the current population of Middlesbrough is 148,300.

As of , the latest ONS statistics are for 2022.

The table below shows the population statistics for Middlesbrough in recent years, split by age group.

YearTotal Population
of Middlesbrough
Population Aged 0 to 15Population Aged 0 to 15 %Population Aged 16 to 64Population Aged 16 to 64 %Population Aged 65+Population Aged 65+ %

Population Growth

As can be seen from the data in the table above, the population of Middlesbrough increased from 138,600 in 2013 to 148,300 in 2022.

This represents a population growth rate of 7.00%.

Demographics of Middlesbrough - Age Groups

In 2013, 28,100 children lived in Middlesbrough; 20.27% of the total population.

In 2022, 30,500 children lived there, which was 20.57% of the total population. The percentage of children living in Middlesbrough in recent years has been rising.

In 2013, 88,800 adults lived in Middlesbrough, representing 64.07% of the total population.

In 2022, 92,900 adults lived there, representing 62.64% of the total population. The percentage of adults living in Middlesbrough in recent years has been declining.

In 2013, 21,700 elderly people lived in Middlesbrough, 15.66% of the total population.

In 2022, 24,900 elderly people lived there, or 16.79% of the total population. The percentage of elderly people living in Middlesbrough in recent years has been increasing.

Demographics of Middlesbrough - Gender

There are currently more females than males in Middlesbrough.

73,900 males were living there in 2022 (49.83% of the total).

74,400 females were living there in 2022 (50.17% of the total).

Population statistics by gender for Middlesbrough between 2013 and 2022 are shown in the table below.


2021 Census - Middlesbrough

The census is a periodic social and demographic survey that provides a picture of the country.

Since 1801, there has been a census in the United Kingdom every 10 years (with some exceptions).

They are currently run in England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NIRSA), and in Scotland by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Census statistics help paint a picture of the country. The census data is used by the government to allot funds to local and regional service providers.

The most recent UK census took place in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland on March 21, 2021. Scotland delayed the census to 2022 due to the pandemic.

The results from the 2021 Census for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be reported in summer 2022.

The previous census was in 2011. Demographics for Middlesbrough are listed below.

2011 Census Data - Resident Population of Middlesbrough

As of today, the most recent published UK Census data was for 2011. Results of the 2011 United Kingdom Census showed that the total population of Middlesbrough was 138,412.

The number of males living in Middlesbrough was 67,732 (48.94% of the total resident population). The number of females was 70,680 (51.06% of the total resident population).

Population Density

Middlesbrough covers an area of 5,387 hectares. The population density was 25.69 persons per hectare.

2011 Census Data - Ethnic Groups in Middlesbrough

Whites were the largest ethnic group in Middlesbrough. 122,055 (88.18%) of the total population of 138,412 identified as white.

Middlesbrough has a higher percentage white population than the average for England (85.42%).

Asians were the second-largest ethnic group in Middlesbrough. 10,768 (7.78%) of the population identified as Asian.

Middlesbrough has a lower percentage Asian population than the average for England (7.82%).


2011 Census Data - Religion in Middlesbrough

Christians were the largest religious group in Middlesbrough. 87,511 (63.23%) of the total population of 138,412 identified as Christian.

Middlesbrough has a higher percentage Christian population than the average for England (59.38%).

Muslims were the second-largest religious group in Middlesbrough. 9,757 (7.05%) of the population identified as Muslim.

Middlesbrough has a higher percentage Muslim population than the average for England (5.02%).

No Religion30,79722.25
Religion Not Stated8,5316.16

2011 Census Data - Resident Population of Middlesbrough - Country of Birth

127,042 (91.79%) of the 138,412 residents of Middlesbrough were born in the UK; 124,794 in England, 1,433 in Scotland, 371 in Wales, and 439 in Northern Ireland.

439 (0.32%) were born in the Republic of Ireland, 2,350 (1.70%) in other EU countries, and 8,581 (6.20%) in other countries.

Country of BirthNumber%
Northern Ireland4390.32
Republic of Ireland4390.32
Other EU2,3501.70
Other Countries8,5816.20

Location and Transport

Middlesbrough is located in North East England, on the south bank of the River Tees.

The A66 connects Middlesbrough to Workington in Cumbria. It joins the A1(M) near Darlington.

Middlesbrough is the town’s main train station.

Teeside International Airport is 8 miles southwest of the town centre.