Yorkshire and the Humber is one of the nine official regions of England, covering most of the traditional county of Yorkshire and part of northern Lincolnshire (previously of the administrative area of Humberside).

The region’s population as of the 2005 census was 5,854,357 residents. The counties included within this region are South Yorkshire, part of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, and a minute part of Lincolnshire. 

Leeds is a major city within the Yorkshire & Humber region, at the urban centre of West Yorkshire. A 2001 census recorded that the Leeds Urban Area had a population of 443,247 residents, and the metropolitan borough had a population of 715,404 residents. The ethnicities of the city are: 91.8% White, 4.5% South Asian, and 1.4% Afro-Caribbean.

A native or inhabitant of Leeds is known locally as a “Loiner”; nicknames such as “Leodensian” and “Leodiensian” are also used commonly in the area by locals.

Considered to be the fastest-growing city in the UK, Leeds was voted Britain’s Best City for Business by Omis Research due to its diverse economy that dominates the manufacturing industries. Outside of London, Leeds also has the biggest financial centre in the UK. Retail, call centres, business offices and media also played a role in the high rates of economic growth. About 100,000 people work in financial and business industries of Leeds, which makes up nearly a quarter of the city’s workforce. 

Oftentimes called “The Knightsbridge of the North,” Leeds has grown into a vibrant consumer industry, ranging from unique private boutiques to national department stores such as Harvey Nichols. The Victoria Quarter is the most busy and prominent shopping centre, which is located on the main shopping street of Briggate. Other notable shopping districts are the Leeds Kirkgate Market, Granary Wharfe, the Leeds Shopping Plaza and the White Rose Centre.  

The rail network of Leeds includes services from the Leeds Station that are operated by Northern Rail, serving all parts of West Yorkshire and surrounding areas. The main route from Leeds to London is the East Coast Main Line, with the Midland Main Line offering an alternative route (via Leicester to London’s St. Pancras station). Leeds-Bradford International Airport is situated north-west of the inner city, with flights to destinations all over Europe, as well as Egypt and Turkey.

The media industry in Leeds has several print newspapers that are published by the company Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd, whose headquarters are within the city. The daily morning Yorkshire Post and the evening daily Yorkshire Evening Post are the two major newspaper outlets; while the free weeklies Pudsey Times, Leeds Weekly News and Wharfe Valley Times round out the major printed papers of the area. The BBC-TV has a broadcasting centre in Leeds, as well as the regional Yorkshire Television network, and radio stations include BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Aire, Galaxy 105, and Yorkshire Radio, all of which are broadcast from within the city. 

During the 1980s, there were various pirate radio stations, such as Rapid City Radio, that broadcast from Chapeltown, a mainly British Afro-Caribbean inner suburb of Leeds’ metropolitan area. Such stations were vital in transmitting reggae, ska, hip-hop and house music into the Leeds urban music scene.  

Music festivals are of a wide variety annually in the city. The Leeds Festival is held in Bramham Park, where many renowned indie and rock bands perform; the Leeds International Piano Competition (held every three years since 1963) has a reputation for launching the careers of aspiring concert pianists; and the Leeds International Concert Season, which spotlights national and international musical artists and is the largest programme of its kind outside of London.  

With one of the largest student populations in the UK, Leeds is home to two universities and several prestigious higher education colleges. The University of Leeds boasts 31,500 full-time students, with the Leeds Metropolitan University claiming about 26,000 students. Another prominent school is the Leeds College of Art & Design and the Leeds College of Music, which has been recorded as the largest music college in the UK.

The tourism industry of Leeds recently got a boost when the city was voted by Conde Nast Traveller magazine as the “UK’s favourite city” and “Visitor City of the Year” by the Good Britain Guide. The efficient transport system in Leeds may possibly have contributed to this honour; Leeds-Bradford International Airport has several flights direct to London Heathrow Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, and to various locations all throughout Europe. The modern Leeds Station has trains travelling throughout the Yorkshire region as well as the UK, and ferry services operate from the nearby city of Hull to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge in Amsterdam.

In South Yorkshire, the city of Sheffield is well-known for its roots within the industrial and economic bases of the UK. Today, the city is estimated to have a population of 520,700 residents (as of 2005) and is the UK’s fifth largest metropolitan area with a total population of 1,811,700 (as of 2003). Natives of Sheffield are appropriately called “Sheffielders,” and colloquially known within the local Yorkshire region as “Dee-dars” (derived from how a Sheffielder would pronounce the “th-“ with certain words).

The 2001 UK census recorded the following percentages of ethnic groups within Sheffield: 91.2% White, 4.6% Asian, 1.8% Black and 1.6% Mixed Heritage. The city also has distinct Polish, Somali, Slovak, Yemeni and Kosovar populations; Sheffield’s close links with Poland are traced back the Second World War, when many Polish-born ex-servicemen settled in the city after fighting alongside the British armies. A Polish consulate was opened in Sheffield in 1997, which made it the first new Polish consulate to open in the UK for more than 60 years. Religions were recorded at 68.6% of the population being Christian and 4.6% of the population being Muslim. Those who did not declare a religion was higher than the UK national average, at 17.9%. 

Recently gaining a reputation as a “creative industry city,” about 7.2% of the working population in Sheffield are currently employed with jobs that apply to the creative arts. In May, a local event called Open Up Sheffield takes place over the first two weekends and allows local visual artists and craft workers to invite the general public to their studios and other venues where their art is on display. Additionally, there is a small hip-hop and R&B music scene based in Sheffield, with musical artists such as NoXcuse, Hoodz Underground, The Red Eye Knights and Constant Creation being at the forefront of the Yorkshire hip-hop scene.

In terms of media, Sheffield acts as somewhat of a northern base for both the publishing, music and film industries. The films The Full Monty, When Saturday Comes, and Threads were all filmed on location in the city, and the Sheffield International Documentary Festival (the foremost documentary festival in the UK) has been held annually in the city for more than a decade. The BBC Radio Sheffield station and the independent radio broadcasters Hallam FM and Magic AM are the three major radio stations of the city. Sheffield will also host the Awards of the International Indian Film Academy in 2007, an organisation that is meant to promote Indian cinema around the world.

The University of Sheffield and the Sheffield Hallam University are the major institutions of higher education in the city; the two universities combined enrol about 45,000 students every year. There is a high enrolment of foreign and international students from East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The main train line based south of Sheffield provides links from the city to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Bedford and London, which operates directly from Sheffield Station. The Meadowhall Station serves all trains that travel northeast, and passenger rail services are run by Midland Mainline, Virgin Trains, Central Trains, TransPennine Express, and the Northern Rail. The most conveniently located airport near Sheffield is the Doncaster Sheffield, which is located 18 miles from the centre of the city; however, the most convenient way to fly internationally is serviced by nearby airports such as Leeds-Bradford International Airport and the Manchester International Airport, both of which are within an hour’s drive of Sheffield.  


Out of every 1,000 people (on average):
 916 are White British
 45 are Asian   
 18 are White non-British 
 9 are of Mixed Race
 7 are Black
 2 are Chinese
Source: Office for National Statistics

About one in twelve people living in the Yorkshire & Humber region are from ethnic groups other than white British. At the time of the 2001 census about 4.7% of people living in the region were born in a foreign country. Despite the larger cities and towns of the area, most of Yorkshire & Humber is quite rural which means that the quantity of ethnic groups varies throughout the region; most ethnic minorities reside in urban areas. The three main cities of Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford account for a third of the regional population, and are also home altogether to 65% of Asian residents and 70% of black residents.

The region is also only one of three that is home to more people of Pakistani descent than those of Indian descent, with a ratio of almost 3:1. In Bradford, Yorkshire, there is a particularly large population of Pakistani residents (almost 68,000; nearly half of all Pakistanis living in the entire region) and in all, there are nearly 150,000 Pakistani residents in the area. There are nearly as many Asian people (about 222,000) living in Yorkshire & Humber than all other ethnic minorities combined, and only London (at 12%) and West Yorkshire (at 7.3%) have greater proportions of residents of Asian descent.

Non-Asian minority groups are very small, and those from the White Other group are the second most populous ethnic minority group in the region although they only form 1.2% of the general populace. The number of Chinese residents is one of the lowest in the country, coming in at just one quarter of one percent of all regional residents. While black people make up the third largest ethnic group in the region – with 34,000 black residents and two-thirds of residents being of Caribbean origin. Almost one-third of black people live in Sheffield, which makes up about 2% of the city population, and in Leeds there is a 1.5% black populace. 

Total Yorkshire & The Humber Population: 4,964,833  

 Local Area/ UK National Average  
Ethnic group/sub-groupPopulationProportion compared to national average
White 4,641,26393.4%
Mixed 44,9950.90%
 White and Black Caribbean18,1870.36%
 White and Black African4,0940.08%
 White and Asian14,2180.28%
 Other mixed8,4960.17%
Asian 222,4864.48%
 Other Asian12,3330.24%
Black 34,2620.69%
 Other Black3,3290.06%
Chinese 12,3400.24%
Other ethnic group 9,4870.19%

Source: Census 2001, Office for National Statistics

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