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New data reveal substantial neighbourhood changes since the last census

By Guy Lansley at CDRC in London

New research by the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) has found that unprecedented levels of neighbourhood change have occurred in almost every city centre neighbourhood since 2011.

An interactive map shows the proportion of addresses that are now occupied by households that have moved in since the start of 2011.

For example, more than half of the properties in central parts of Bristol and Liverpool are now occupied by new residents.

Bristol since 2011

Liverpool since 2011

The emerging trend suggests it is cosmopolitan neighbourhoods with high proportions of young adults that have the greatest rate of neighbourhood change. This means residents only reside at their addresses for a couple of years on average before moving on.

Many residents in these areas have migrated from elsewhere in the UK or further afield for work or to study. Hence these neighbourhoods tend to be near to employment centres or university campuses, much like the central and western parts of Sheffield. The majority of properties here are rented from the private rental sector. Usually, short tenancy agreements are common meaning that large numbers of rental properties are regularly becoming available.

Sheffield since 2011

There have also been changes in suburban areas, although to a far lesser extent. The rate of change since 2011 in most suburban neighbourhoods has been less than 30%. Our research found that households are more likely to live at their addresses for longer in suburban areas where home ownership is common.

However, it is not just middle-class suburban neighbourhoods that have had limited change since 2011. Households in suburban areas that have historically been working class also change address less frequently and become settled in their neighbourhoods. This is evident in Leeds.

Leeds since 2011

There are exceptions: high concentrations of new residential developments have also led to the creation of pockets of change within otherwise relatively stable neighbourhoods. For instance, over 70% of households in Stratford have lived at their address for less than 6 years due to the construction of large numbers of new homes near the 2012 Olympics site.

Stratford since 2011

All of these trends have occurred since the recording of the last census and were discovered by pooling consumer data. The research utilised annual datasets that comprise a range of different sources made available from 1998 until 2017. You can also use the interactive map to view population change between 2020 and each proceeding year back to 2011.

Although a work in progress, this is a positive step away from our reliance on censuses for population data. Accurate data on the population are vital for the planning of services such as the provision of public transport, retail offerings and the emergency services. Given that research has identified that considerable local population changes occur every year, consumer data could present an invaluable opportunity to improve our knowledge of the UK.

Explore the full interactive map here.
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