Census 2011

We use the latest Census data to help us plan and deliver services within the borough such as housing, education, healthcare and transport. The last census took place on 27 March 2011 with the results creating a snapshot of Wigan Borough’s population as it looked on that day.

The Census is carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) (external link) every ten years and provides population statistics from a national to neighbourhood level for government, local authorities, businesses and communities. Some of the key points from the 2011 Census, Population and Household Estimates for England and Wales (external link) are available on the ONS website.

Key facts for Wigan from the first release

  • The population of Wigan Borough is estimated at 317,800 people. This is the largest the population had ever been.
  • The population of Wigan grew by 16,378 in the 10 years since the last census, rising from 301,422 in 2001, an increase of 5.4 per cent.
  • In 2011, there were 19,700 children under the age of 5 in Wigan, 2,138 more than in 2001, representing an increase of 12 per cent.
  • The number of individuals aged 0-19 reduced by 936 in Wigan to 75,600, a 1 per cent reduction on 2001 figures.
  • The percentage of the population aged 65 and over was the highest seen in any census at 16.2 per cent. 1 in 6 Wigan residents are now over the age of 65.
  • The number of 85+ year olds increased from 4,326 to 5,400 in 2011, an increase of over 24 per cent.
  • The number of households in Wigan increased by just over 9 per cent, from 125,096 to 136,400.
  • 50.3 per cent of the population in Wigan were female, with males making up the remaining 49.7 per cent.
  • 94% of Wigan's usual residents provided a response to the Census, reflecting the average for England and Wales.

Small area data

Population and Household Estimates for Small Areas in England and Wales, provides additional information to supplement the data published in the 2011 Census.

All the tables from this data release can be found on the ONS - Population and Household Estimates for Small Areas webpages (external link).

In addition to tables and commentary, data visualisations to aid interpretation of the figures can be accessed from the ONS - Population and Household Estimates for Small Areas webpages (external link).

  • The average ward population in Wigan on 27 March 2011 was 12,714.
  • The average number of households per ward in Wigan on 27 March 2011 was 5,455.
  • >The electoral ward of Douglas experienced the highest population increase, with a 16.6 per cent rise in 10 years, from 11,056 to 12,892 in 2012.
  • Shevington with Lower Ground was one of four electoral wards that experienced a decrease in population, reducing by 586 people to 11,482. A decline of 4.9 per cent.
  • Population density in Wigan on 27 March 2011 was 16.9 persons per hectare.
  • Wigan West is the most densely populated ward in the borough with 34.5 persons per hectare. Aspull/New Springs/Whelley is the least densely populated with 6.1 persons per hectare.
  • Atherton has the highest number of households with 6,579, Winstanley has the lowest with 4,334 households.
  • Winstanley has the highest average household size with 2.6 persons per household. Wigan Central had the least with 2.1 persons per household.

The detail behind this data can be accessed using the links below:

Further results from the census will be released in 2013 and statistics for the whole of the UK will be compiled and published by ONS in due course.

For information on further releases and access to frequently asked questions visit the ONS website (external link)


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