The population of Bristol

We have a population of about 442,500, the largest city in the South West.


An overview of the population living in the Bristol Local Authority area is available in the report The Population of Bristol: October 2015 (pdf, 14.3 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 7.3MB) (opens new window)

The report aims to build a picture of the population of Bristol now and in the future.  The report brings together statistics on the current estimated population of Bristol, recent trends in population, future projections and looks at the key characteristics of the people living in Bristol. 

Some facts about Bristol's population

  • We have a population of about 442,500, the largest city in the South West.
  • We are one of Great Britain's ten 'Core Cities'.
  • Bristol's population is expected to reach half a million by 2029.
  • We have more children under sixteen than people of pensionable age.
  • 16% of our population belongs to a black or minority ethnic group.

Data documents

The data, together with more information about the estimates, can be found in the following:

Small area population estimates can be displayed on a map using our Instant Atlas data tool

Population projections

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published 2012-based population projections for Bristol:

Advice on using the projections

These projections published on 29 May 2014 are based on the 2012 mid-year population estimates published on 26 June 2013.

The projections are trend-based projections, which mean assumptions for future levels of births, deaths and migration are based on observed levels mainly over the 2008 to 2012 period. These projections show what the population will be if the trends assumed continue. They provide the best estimates of the future population of English regions and local authorities currently available.

T he projections do not attempt to predict the impact that future government or local policies, changing economic circumstances, local development policy, the capacity of an area to accommodate population or other factors might have on demographic behaviour.

Projections become increasingly uncertain the further they are carried forward due to the inherent uncertainty of demographic behaviour. This is particularly so for smaller geographical areas and detailed age and sex breakdowns.

The projected resident population of an area includes all people who usually live there, whatever their nationality.  People moving into or out of the country are only included in the resident population if their total stay in that area is for 12 months or more, thus visitors and short-term migrants are not included. Armed forces stationed abroad are not included, but armed forces stationed within an area are included. Students are taken to be resident at their term-time address.