Preston Population

Preston is a city and non-metropolitan district in North West England. It is the most populous settlement in Lancashire and its administrative centre. It was granted city status in 2002.

In Victorian times, Preston was a major center for textile production.

In 1801, the population of Preston was around 15,000. By 1911 it had reached 130,000. The growth was driven by both higher birth rates and internal immigration.

The textile industry entered a terminal decline in the 20th century and population growth slowed. The current population of Preston is 147,600.

Asian immigrants came to Preston after the Second World War. Today, it is a diverse city. The percentage of whites is lower than the average for England. The proportion of Asians is higher than the English average.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a global university, recognised for its teaching quality and innovation. The main campus is in Preston but it also has bases in Burnley, Cumbria, and Cyprus. More than 25,000 students attend the university.

Current Population Statistics

According to data from the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS), the current population of Preston is 147,600.

As of , the latest ONS statistics are for 2021.

The table below details population statistics for Preston over the past few years, split by age group.

YearTotal Population
of Preston
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 Preston increased from 140,500 in 2012 to 147,600 in 2021.

This represents a population growth rate of 5.05%.

Demographics of Preston - Age Groups

In 2012, 26,900 children lived in Preston; 19.15% of the total population.

In 2021, 29,200 children lived there, which was 19.78% of the total population. The percentage of children living in Preston in recent years has been rising.

In 2012, 93,800 adults lived in Preston, representing 66.76% of the total population.

In 2021, 96,400 adults lived there, representing 65.31% of the total population. The percentage of adults living in Preston in recent years has been declining.

In 2012, 19,800 elderly people lived in Preston, 14.09% of the total population.

In 2021, 22,000 elderly people lived there, or 14.91% of the total population. The percentage of elderly people living in Preston in recent years has been increasing.

Demographics of Preston - Gender

There are currently more females than males in Preston.

73,700 males were living there in 2021 (49.93% of the total).

74,000 females were living there in 2021 (50.14% of the total).

Population statistics by gender for Preston between 2012 and 2021 are shown in the table below.


2021 Census - Preston

The census is a snapshot of the UK that includes important data on population figures and social changes.

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

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the organization responsible for collecting and publishing official statistics in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland it is the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NIRSA), and in Scotland it is National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Census statistics provide detailed information about national and local demographics. Census data is used by the government to plan and deliver public services, create legislation, and apportion financial resources.

The 2021 Census took place on March 21, 2021. It was the first census to be carried out primarily online.

Statistics from the 2021 Census (for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) will be reported in summer 2022.

The 2011 census was prior to this. Demographic information for Preston is shown below.

2011 Census Data - Resident Population of Preston

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 Preston was 140,202.

The number of males living in Preston was 70,284 (50.13% of the total resident population). The number of females was 69,918 (49.87% of the total resident population).

Population Density

Preston covers an area of 14,229 hectares. The population density was 9.85 persons per hectare.

2011 Census Data - Ethnic Groups in Preston

Whites were the largest ethnic group in Preston. 112,415 (80.18%) of the total population of 140,202 identified as white.

Preston has a lower percentage white population than the average for England (85.42%).

Asians were the second-largest ethnic group in Preston. 21,732 (15.50%) of the population identified as Asian.

Preston has a higher percentage Asian population than the average for England (7.82%).


2011 Census Data - Religion in Preston

Christians were the largest religious group in Preston. 85,518 (61.00%) of the total population of 140,202 identified as Christian.

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

Muslims were the second-largest religious group in Preston. 15,769 (11.25%) of the population identified as Muslim.

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

No Religion25,75418.37
Religion Not Stated8,0205.72

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

121,470 (86.64%) of the 140,202 residents of Preston were born in the UK; 117,372 in England, 2,239 in Scotland, 887 in Wales, and 959 in Northern Ireland.

896 (0.64%) were born in the Republic of Ireland, 4,734 (3.38%) in other EU countries, and 13,102 (9.35%) in other countries.

Country of BirthNumber%
Northern Ireland9590.68
Republic of Ireland8960.64
Other EU4,7343.38
Other Countries13,1029.35

Location and Transport

Preston is located in the county of Lancashire in North West England. It is bordered by Wyre, the Ribble Valley, South Ribble, and Fylde.

The city lies on the route of the M6, the motorway linking Rugby in the West Midlands to Gretna in Scotland. Other cities and towns on the M6 include Birmingham, Crewe, Warrington, Wigan, Lancaster, and Carlisle.

The M55 connects Preston to Blackpool, while the M65 offers quick access to Blackburn, Burnley, and Colne.

The M61 links Preston to Bolton and the M60 (Manchester Ring Motorway).

Preston Train Station lies on the West Coast Mainline.

Preston Bus Station is a vital transport hub, offering bus services to destinations all over Lancashire. It is an excellent example of Brutalist architecture. The station has been praised for its geometric design and dramatic use of concrete.

The closest airports are Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester Airport.

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