The Council and democracy Population

Understanding Population Statistics

Manchester's population statistics are calculated from various sources and are not a true count of individual residents. If you need population data for service planning or research purposes, be aware that the reliability of this data is variable and that they are published here as an indication of the population and its characteristics only.


There are several ways in which the population, can be calculated and they can result in different figures.


  • Population estimates are based on the previous Census and births, deaths and migration data.
  • Mid-year population estimates are released in June each year by the ONS. They are produced annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at local authority level.


  • Populated projections provide an indication of the future size and structure of  the population, based on estimates and evidence from the previous five years of demographic data.   
  • Population projections, often referred to as sub-national population projections (SNPP), are produced every two or three years by ONS at local authority level, with the most recent release in 2018.

Experimental data


  • Population forecasts are based on estimates and projections, but also take in to account other intelligence including proposed changes to the dwelling stock or policy implications.
  • ONS do not project population forecasts. Forecasts are produced by consultancies, think tanks and academics. The Manchester City Council Forecasting Model (MCCFM)  is produced by the Manchester City Council's Performance, Research and Intelligence Team and is the primary dataset used to understand population, and plan resources.

Contrived/derived data

  • Produced by the Council and based on ONS estimates, projections and experimental data, manipulated for new topics or geographic areas.

The Manchester City Council Forecasting Model (MCCFM)

The Manchester City Council Forecasting Model (MCCFM) has been developed to strengthen the mid-year estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using local intelligence including the city’s expected residential development.

In recent years the gap between the MCC and ONS forecasts has widened. This is in part due to differences between how ONS and the MCCFM calculate the spread of international migrants.

As a result the mid-year estimates released by ONS since the 2011 Census have given Manchester lower projected population growth than expected. These figures feed into ONS’ 2018-based Subnational Population Projections (SNPP), resulting in a significantly lower future growth. MCCFM addresses this anomaly by offering an alternative forecast that assumes expected growth patterns from migration based on previous years.

MCCFM addresses this anomaly by offering an alternative forecast that assumes expected growth patterns from migration based on previous years. MCCFM is available at ward level from 2001 to 2031.



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