Bradford has experienced the biggest population boom in the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region, according to newly-released Census figures.
It also has the largest proportion of under-fives and under 19-year-olds, as well as the biggest average household size.
Bradford’s overall population count has increased by 11 per cent from 470,800 in 2001 to 522,500 in 2011, the figures revealed.
This compares to a six per cent increase for Yorkshire and Humber and seven per cent across England and Wales.
The news of the boom has not surprised the district’s party leaders, who want the new figures to be put to practical use to pull in more Government funding for council services.
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said the census figures showing Bradford as the fastest-growing area in Yorkshire and Humber added weight to the argument for more central government funding.
“The growth is something we have been aware of for many years. We are the fastest growing district in Yorkshire and Humber and outside of London which is why we have continued to argue that we need the resources from the Government to reflect that – what we don’t need is the massive cuts.”
He said the increasing younger population should be seen as “more of an opportunity than a threat” on services, adding: “The fact we have young people coming through education and getting work skills shows we are ripe and ready for more Government investment in job creation.”
The district’s Conservative leader Councillor Glen Miller said his concerns revolved around future education and training provision that would be needed to cater for the booming population.
“In three years time we will not have enough school places for children coming into mainstream education and I think the Council is not addressing that issue with as much vigour as it could. Issues around people not in education and training are also a concern.”
But he said the population increase also reflected a positive point that the current boom showed people feel “confident enough” to make their home in Bradford.
“People are feeling confident enough to move here and bring up their families which can only be a benefit.”
Bradford’s Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said she was not surprised by the leap in population figures and questioned if the increase could be even bigger.
“We need to be careful with these figures because there are areas in our district that are vastly under-reported, I don’t know how accurate they are. The fact we have more and more children and our population is increasing has not surprised me but we need to make sure we have an exact population count to make sure we get the right amount of government grants.”
Bradford’s Green party leader Councillor Martin Love said: “I hope that central Government looks at these figures carefully when it comes to working out Bradford’s funding. In these past two years our services have been harder hit than any other authority in West Yorkshire and virtually any other authority in the country. it’s happening when our services are needed more than any other time – it shows shows these cuts have not taken our current population count into account.”
National Statisticians said the 2011 Census had been a resounding success with around 19 out of 20 people having responded helping provide valuable information for planners, policy-makers and the public for years to come.
All local authorities in Yorkshire and the Humber grew in population but Bradford’s 11 per cent population growth looked gigantic compared to the smallest increase of just one per cent in North East Lincolnshire. The average household size in Bradford is 2.6 people - Craven and Scarborough have the smallest households at 2.2 people Bradford has the largest proportion of people aged-19-and-under with 29 per cent – Scarborough was the smallest in that category with 21 per cent. Bradford’s under-fives population makes up eight per cent of those living in the district, Craven has the smallest proportion at five per cent.