With a population of 551,800 in mid-2011, the City of Sheffield is England’s third largest metropolitan authority. The city grew rapidly during the industrial revolution.

In 1801 its population was 60,100. By 1851 it had increased to 161,500 and by 1901 it was 451,200. At its peak, in 1951, the population numbered 577,050.

Populations projections

There is a clear bulge in the population in the 20 to 24 age group. This is caused by Sheffield’s significant student population at its two universities.

The increase in recent years is largely the result of 2 factors:

  • there are now more births than deaths in Sheffield, resulting in a positive ‘natural change’ in the population
  • there has been an increase in the level of international migration to Sheffield

The most recent population projections for Sheffield are based on the 2012 population estimates. They show the population by age group up to 2037.

Sheffield's population is projected to increase by around 75,800 people over the 25 year period to 633,200 in 2037.

According to the projections, there will be more males than females in Sheffield from 2027 onwards. Longer life expectancy has meant that there were more females than males in the population, but increases in life expectancy for men coupled with higher male in-migration had resulted in this change. Figures also suggest that the number of people aged over 65 will grow by 46% in the next 25 years, whilst the number of those aged 85 and over will more than double.

Population projections from the Office of National Statistics. Figures based on 2014 population estimates are due to be released by ONS in May/June 2016. An infographic about Sheffield's population projections can be downloaded here or alternatively view an interactive version.

Ethnicity and diversity

Sheffield is an ethnically diverse city, with around 19% of its population from black or minority ethnic groups.

The largest of those groups is the Pakistani community, but Sheffield also has large Caribbean, Indian, Bangladeshi, Somali, Yemeni and Chinese communities.

More recently, Sheffield has seen an increase in the number of overseas students and in economic migrants from within the enlarged European Union.

Good estimates and projections of the population total and how it breaks down by age and gender are very important to the planning and delivery of our services.