SUNDERLAND is shrinking – the city had the joint third biggest population fall in the country between 2011 and 2001, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Census data showed the number of people dropped by 3.2 per cent, from 284,600 to 275,500, which made Sunderland smaller than Newcastle for the first time in many years.
Neighbouring South Tyneside’s population also fell during the same period, by 3.1 per cent from 152,800 to 148,100.
The areas were out of step with the region and nation as a whole, which recorded increases.
The population across England and Wales rose by seven per cent to 56.1million, the largest in any 10-year period since census taking began in 1801.
The population of the North East on census day – March 27, last year – was 2.6million, an increase of 2.2 per cent from 2001.
The number of residents over the age of 65 has gone up, from 16.5 per cent of the population to 17.3 per cent.
County Durham was the largest local authority in the region with 513,200 people, which is an increase of 19,440, 3.9 per cent, between 2001 and 2011.
National statistician Jil Matheson said: “I’d like to thank everyone in the North East for their support.
“The 2011 census has been a resounding success and I am proud of the incredible effort that has been put in.
“It is a rich source of information about the population and its characteristics.
“Across England and Wales around 19 out of 20 people responded and we have excellent statistical methods for ensuring we have a complete estimate of the whole population.”
Ms Matheson added: “These statistics will provide valuable information for planners, policy-makers and the public for years to come.”
Glen Watson, census director said: “The whole operation has worked well.
“We met our targets both for response and quality. We’ve had fantastic support from the public, and also from voluntary groups, community groups and local authorities throughout England and Wales.”