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Census 2021


The Office of National Statistics (ONS) carried out the national census on Sunday 21 March 2021. The response rate for Middlesbrough was 94% (1% higher than in 2011). The national response rate was 97%.

The census asked about people’s work, health, national identity, citizenship, ethnic background, education, second homes, language, religion, marital status, etc. The data has been summarised into the following:

Middlesbrough key indicators provides statistics for a range of key indicators, including the change since 2011, and national comparisons.

Changes in demographics between Census 2011 and 2021 from the ONS: How life has changed in Middlesbrough: Census 2021.


Each report includes a summary of key points, facts and figures, tables, charts and maps in each of the following reports:

  • population and identity
  • health and care
  • employment
  • education and qualifications
  • poverty and deprivation

Key themes

Population and identity



Significant changes in the population demographics of Middlesbrough since Census 2011 show an increasingly diverse and younger population in the town.

Significantly higher numbers of residents were born outside of the UK. There is a large increase in the proportion of ethnic minority inhabitants and an increase in the population of younger people.

Key points

Census 2021 showed a 4% increase in Middlesbrough's total population during the past ten years, up from 138,400 in 2011 to 143,900. This is equivalent to an increase of 5,500 in the town's overall population.

A significant minority of Middlesbrough's total population (12.29%) were born outside of the UK, either in the EU or elsewhere (compared with 17.35% nationally). This is an increase of 4.1% since 2011, equivalent to an increase of 49.8% from within this particular cohort.

The proportion of residents from the BME community also rose by 5.9% over the past ten years, from 11.7% in 2011 to 17.6% in 2021. This is equivalent to an increase of 50.7% from within the BME group.

At ward level, there have been some major changes in the distribution of the population during the past 10 years. The largest increases in population are in the wards of Stainton and Thornton (60.4%), Trimdon (36.1%), and Marton East (28.4%). The largest decreases include Coulby Newham (-7.0%), Kader (-6.5%), and Newport (-3.3%). The significant increases in the ward populations can be attributed to the number of new housing estates that have been built in Middlesbrough in the last 10 years.

These changes in local population demographics, and in particular, the increase in the overall number of residents, have significant funding implications for Middlesbrough in an extremely difficult financial climate.

Health and care



Health in Middlesbrough has not changed significantly between Census 2011 and Census 2021.

Approximately 21% of the population do not have good health.

There are still persistent and clear inequalities between neighbourhoods in the town. Middlesbrough continues to perform below the England average on both of the health measures in Census 2021: general health and disability.

Key points

Approximately 20% of the population have a limiting long-term illness (disabled according to the Equality Act). This is similar to the figure reported in Census 2011, and is 3% higher than the national figure of 17%.

There was no change in the proportion of the local population who reported good general health in Census 2021.

There are significant geographical variations (or inequalities) in health status in Middlesbrough. In Park End and Beckfield, over 10% of the population have bad or very bad health, whereas in Nunthorpe the figure is approximately 3%.

Similarly, the range of the population who are disabled (according to the Equality Act) varies from 13.73% in Nunthorpe to 26.32% in Hemlington.

The proportion of the population with bad or very bad health in Middlesbrough is higher than both the North East and England.




Based on a range of indicators for measuring economic activity, the census results show that Middlesbrough consistently performs significantly below the national average on most variables.

The local rates for unemployment (including the long-term unemployed and those who have never worked) have all decreased over the previous 10 years, but are still well above the average for England.

Key points

Based on a range of indicators for measuring economic activity, Middlesbrough performs significantly below the national average.

In the population aged 16 years and over, the economically inactive population has increased from 36.7% in Census 2011 to 45.4% in Census 2021. The largest proportion of the increase is due to a rise in retired residents.

The overall employment rate in Middlesbrough in 2021 was 49.5%, compared with 57.4% nationally. The proportion of those who were unemployed in Middlesbrough in 2021 (5.1%) was significantly higher than the national rate (3.5%).

The highest rate of employees from Middlesbrough (15.9%) were employed professionals in 2021, compared with 20.3% nationally.

The largest industry of employment in Middlesbrough in 2021 was public sector services. 36.6% of people worked in health and social work, education, and general public administration, compared with 30.2% nationally.

The proportion of lone parents in part-time work decreased during the past ten years, from 33.1% in 2011 to 27.0% in 2021. However, those in full-time work increased from 17.3% to 19.4%. Employment for lone parents in Middlesbrough is significantly lower than in England.

Manufacturing shrank between 2011 and 2021 in Middlesbrough, but most public sector industries expanded or remained relatively stable during this period, and in line with Census 2021 results. Human health and social work saw an increase of 4.1%, from 16.7% in 2011 to 20.8% in 2021.

At ward level, there are significant variations or inequalities in the levels of economic activity and inactivity in Middlesbrough. Central, Hemlington, and North Ormesby have the highest proportions of economically inactive residents. However, a large proportion of Central ward's economically inactive residents are students.

Education and qualifications



There have been significant improvements in education outcomes in Middlesbrough over time. However, there are still persistent and clear inequalities in education between different neighbourhoods in the town.

Middlesbrough still has a higher proportion of residents with no qualifications than the England average. However, this has decreased by 6 percentage points between Census 2011 and Census 2021, from 29.9% to 23.9%.

Key points

Education indicators showed a clear improvement in educational outcomes over the past ten years in Middlesbrough. Those qualified to level 4 or above (NVQ4 Degree / HNC / Professional Qualification) increased from 18.5% in 2011 to 26.4% in 2021. However, this is still well below the national figure of 33.9%.

There are significant geographical variations (or inequalities) in education at ward level in Middlesbrough. Nunthorpe had the highest proportion of residents qualified to level 4 or above, and North Ormesby had the highest proportion of residents with no qualifications or a highest qualification of level 1 (1 to 4 GCSEs grade A* to C, any GCSEs at other grades, O levels or CSEs (any grades), 1 AS level, NVQ level 1, Foundation GNVQ, Basic or Essential Skills).

There is a strong linear correlation between educational outcomes and age, showing that the percentage of the population without any recognised qualification in Middlesbrough increases significantly for older age groups.

Poverty and deprivation



The ONS reported that the North East is the most deprived region in England, based on Census 2021. Middlesbrough ranks highly for poverty and deprivation, with a significant proportion of residents having never worked or being long-term unemployed.

High deprivation levels mean thousands of Middlesbrough families will fall well below the government's official threshold for those who are living in poverty. It highlights the structural nature of the social and economic problems that continue to face a very large proportion of the town's population.

Key points

Household deprivation in Census 2021 looks at four dimensions: education, employment, health, and housing. Middlesbrough has the second lowest proportion of households in the North East with no deprivation in any dimension (42.16%). Only Sunderland has a lower proportion (41.47%).

Nationally, the North East has the lowest proportion of households not deprived in any dimension (45.45%).

In the North East, Middlesbrough has the highest proportion of households with deprivation in three or all dimensions (6.05%). It also has the highest proportion of people aged 16 and over, who have never worked or are long-term unemployed (15.32%).

Changes between 2011 and 2021 show that the rates of poverty and deprivation in Middlesbrough have decreased during the past 10 years. But there has been very little change in the general pattern or polarisation of poverty and deprivation across Middlesbrough during this time.

There are very wide and persistent variations (or inequalities) in poverty and deprivation at ward level in Middlesbrough, and in certain parts of the town the rates of poverty and deprivation are critically high.