Census 2021: East of England is fastest-growing region, while Bedford and North Norfolk top lists

The 2021 census shows the East of England has seen the biggest population rise in Britain. Credit: ITV News

The East of England has seen the biggest growth in population in the last 10 years according to newly-released 2021 census figures.

The number of people living in the region has risen by 8.3% - an increase of nearly 500,000 people.

In 2011 the population in the East of England was 5,846,965 - and in the results of the latest census, it stands at 6,334,500.

Bedford Borough has seen a boom in its population with the biggest percentage rise in the east at 17.7% - placing it in fourth place behind some of the highest areas of population growth in the country seen in Tower Hamlets, Dartford and Barking & Dagenham.

It is followed by Cambridge which has seen a rise of 17.6% - with Peterborough not far behind, seeing a 17.5% growth in its population.

Central Bedfordshire saw a rise of 15.7% with both North and West Northamptonshire seeing population increases of 13.5%.

North Norfolk now has the title of having the highest proportion of people aged over 65 in the UK at 33.4%.

Tendring in Essex is not far behind with the over 65s, at 29.6% with East Suffolk at 27.8%.

On Census Day in March 2021 there were 1,800 people in North Norfolk aged 90 or older representing 1.75% of the population in that area. The Tendring area had 2,200 people aged 90+ with 3,600 in East Suffolk

Despite North Norfolk having the highest number of over 65s, it has seen the smallest increase in population in the region at just 1.5% in ten years.

Other areas with slower population growth include, East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth, both with a rise of just 2.6%

The East of England's newly-declared cities in the east have grown too in the last 10 years.

Milton Keynes saw a population rise of 15.3%, Colchester was up 11.3% and Southend-on-Sea also grew 4.1%.

Luton, Thurrock, Peterborough and Harlow now have the highest number of people under the age of 15.

Meanwhile, Cambridge, Norwich and Welwyn Garden City have the highest number of people in the region aged between 15-64.

Population density is the highest in Luton, followed by Southend-on-Sea and Norwich across the East of England.

On the opposite scale, Rutland, King's Lynn & West Norfolk, North Norfolk and Breckland are the least densely populated.

The population density was about 5,200 people per square kilometre of land in Luton compared to just 107 in the same area in Rutland. If want to picture it in terms of people on a football pitch it would be 36 in Luton and less than one in Rutland.

Across the country there are more women than men but in four areas of the Anglia region the men outnumber the women - they are Cambridge, Luton, West Suffolk and Rutland.