UK midlandsDecline and deprivation still afflicts some of England's once-great northern cities despite the much-vaunted urban renaissance of the past decade, a think-tank close to the Government will warn today.


Northeast England is part of the nine official regions of England, comprising of Northumberland, Durham County, Tyne and Wear, and part of North Yorkshire. The region was formed in 1994, and originally included Cleveland, although the county has since been excluded from the north east.

Rich in natural heritage, the region includes stretches of coast and wide-ranging upland tracts of European nature conservation importance for conservation habitats and bird-life, as well as the Magnesian Limestone grasslands of East Durham. This particular habitat is not found anywhere else in the world.

The 2001 census recorded the population of the north east counties at 2,515,479 residents. It has also been noted that the town of Easington, Co. Durham, has the lowest recorded ethnic population in the UK, with ethnic minorities making up only 2.2% of the general population.

One of the more foremost metropolitan cities in the north east is Newcastle upon Tyne, better known simply as Newcastle, in the county of Tyne and Wear. The city is situated on the north bank of River Tyne, and was founded by Romans and originally named Pons Aelius. Newcastle was once the county town of Northumberland, but was replaced in 1974 by Morpeth and Alnwick. Regardless, Newcastle is generally considered to be the biggest city in the North East region as it ranks as the 20th most populous city in England. 

People from Newcastle are technically considered to be “Novocastrians,” a Latin term that can also be applied to anyone who is from a place called Newcastle, but the idiom that is more commonly used in modern times is “Geordie”. The Geordie accent is easily recognisable in the north east area, and the name of the city is pronounced “New-CASS-el” in northern English regions (as compared to being pronounced as “New-CAH-sel” elsewhere).

A 2005 census estimated the city’s population to be around 276,400, comprised of 93.1% white residents and 4.4% South Asian residents. The city also houses small yet significant Chinese and Jewish populations. The thriving Chinatown district of Newcastle is on Stowell Street, northwest of Grainger Town. A newly-built landmark, the Chinese Arch (called a paifang) was given to the city in a large ceremony in 2005.   

The major religions of the city are Christian (70.6%) and Islam (3.6%), with the remainder of the population reporting no religion (16%).

Newcastle and its surrounding area have an extensive bus network coordinated by Tyne and Wear’s Passenger Transport Executive. Buses are mostly operated by Go North East, Arriva and Stagecoach North East. Launched in January 2005, the Quayside Transit system is a £5/m bus scheme that employs the use of ultra low emission hybrid diesel-electric vehicles.

Tyne and Wear Metro, often considered to be Britain’s first modern light rail system (as well as the second biggest metropolitan train system in the UK), carries about 40 million passenger per year, and is also coordinated by the Transport Executive. The rail service extends to Newcastle Airport, Tynemouth, and South Hylton, Sunderland.

Newcastle International Airport receives about five million passengers per year, and is considered to be one of the fastest-growing airports in the UK. As of 2006, the airport has transport available to over 80 worldwide destinations, and it is currently the ninth largest airport in the U.K. It is currently still in development with an expansion reaching over to Newcastle Great Park, and a casino bid that would also contribute to further growth is now under way. Recently, airport developers have commented that Newcastle International hopes to serve at least 10 million passengers by 2016, and 15 million passengers by 2030


Out of every 1,000 people (on average):

  • 964 are White British
  • 13 are Asian 
  • 12 are White non-British 
  • 5 are of Mixed Race
  • 2 are Black
  • 2 are Chinese

Source: Office for National Statistics  

The least diverse of England’s nine regions, the North East has an average of 96.4% of white British residents in the 2001 census, with a minimal proportion of ethnic minorities residing in the area. The 2001 census recorded that 2.7% of the population living in the North East was born in a foreign country, which rose from the previous 1991 census of 1.9%. The North East in general is also the least populous area in the UK, with a total of 2.5 million residents.

In terms of diversity, Newcastle is home to the largest portion of ethnic minorities in the region, although the Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese populations of the city are represented in numbers that are slightly greater than the national average. The Asian population is the largest ethnic minority group in the region, at 1.3% of all North East residents. One third of the Asian population resides in Newcastle, making up 4.5% of the residents.

The black population of the North East is less than 4,000 residents, meaning less than 0.2% of the regional populace. The 2001 census recorded only 18 black people amongst 94,000 residents living in Easington, which is the least diverse town in the UK. It was also the only local authority to record a number of zero residents in one of the census’ ethnic categories (the group of Black Other). One of the lowest proportions in England is the Pakistani populace of Durham; with 85,000 inhabitants, only 62 Pakistanis are part of this number.


Total North East of England Population: 2,515,442

 Local Area/UK National Average  
Ethnic group/sub-groupPopulationProportion compared to national average
White 2,455,41697.6%
Mixed 12,2280.48%
 White and Black Caribbean2,7830.11%
 White and Black African1,7410.06%
 White and Asian4,7330.18%
 Other mixed2,9710.11%
Asian 33,5821.33%
 Other Asian3,1850.12%
Black 3,9530.15%
 Other Black4970.01%
Chinese 6,0480.24%
Other ethnic group 4,2150.16%

Source: Census 2001, Office for National Statistics

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