PORTSMOUTH is the most densely-populated region in England and Wales outside London, new figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics released the first figures from its 2011 census yesterday from statistics compiled at its base in Segensworth.
They showed there are 5,082 people per square kilometre in the city, which means on average 51 people share a space the size of a rugby pitch. Portsmouth grew far more than the national average of 7.1 per cent.
The population was up 9.1 per cent, from 188,000 in 2001 – the last time the census was carried out – to 205,100 in 2011.
City council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the figures showed the pressures on housing and transport in the city, and said there was no more space in Portsmouth for new housing aside from developments already planned.
But he insisted the statistics also reflected positives for Portsmouth.
He said: ‘On the upside we, unlike other places, have not had to shut schools, and while we have empty shops, we’ve got nowhere near the national average of 11 per cent closed shops in the city.
‘It’s apparent that the economy of the city is growing and there are jobs here.’
All local authority areas in the south east grew in population size. Havant’s population grew by 3.3 per cent, from 116,900 to 120,700.
The increase for east Hampshire was 5.7 per cent, from 109,400 to 115,600. Chichester’s rose from 106,500 to 113,800, a rise of 6.9 per cent. Fareham’s population increased by 3.3 per cent, from 108,200 to 111,600.
And Gosport’s population increased by 7.7 per cent, from 76,700 in 2001 to 82,600 last year.
As a whole, the population in the south east is 8.6 million, an increase of eight per cent from 2001.
It remains the region with the largest population in England and Wales.
Glen Watson, census directors, said: ‘I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved, including the 35,000 people who worked on the data collection and helped make the census a success.’