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London's geography and population

London's geography and population
Region Total population Population change (2012-2022) Population per km2 % BME % not UK-born
London sub-region: Central 1,435,500 1.40% 11,144 43% 44%
London sub-region: East 2,855,000 9.50% 6,184 50% 38%
London 8,866,200 6.20% 5,640 46% 41%
London sub-region: North 978,100 3.90% 4,960 44% 43%
London sub-region: South 1,643,900 5.20% 4,219 36% 32%
London sub-region: West 1,953,600 6.70% 4,949 53% 47%
Rest of England 48,240,200 6.30% 375 14% 13%

Data source: Mid-year population estimates, ONS (2022). Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality, 2021 Census. Ethnic group populations, 2021 Census.

Population change

Around 8.9 million people live in London, which had overall growth since 2012 of 6.2% - slightly lower than the rest of England’s growth of 6.3%. This growth was strongest in East London which saw an increase of 9.5%. South and West London also had sizeable population increases of 5.2% and 6.7% respectively.Central London had the smallest population increase, of just 1.4%. 

(Note: The map at the bottom of the page shows which boroughs make up London’s sub-regions of Central, East, North, South and West). 

Population density

London’s population is 15 times more dense than the rest of England, with 5,640 people per km2 compared to 375 people per km2. Central London has the highest level of population density with 11,144 people per km2, which is almost twice the level of London overall, and significantly above the level of the next most dense sub-region, East London (6,184 people per km2).

Ethnic diversity

London is significantly more diverse than England as a whole. 46% of Londoners are Black and Minority Ethnic, compared to 14% of England as a whole. West London has the highest proportion (53%) of its population that are Black and Minority Ethnic, followed by East London (50%). South London has the smallest proportion of people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (36%). 

41% of Londoners were born outside of the UK, compared to 13% of people in the rest of England. West London has the highest proportion - with 47% of residents not born in the UK, followed by Central London (44%).

London's sub-regions (2011)