Demographics of London
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London's population has grown extensively in the last two centuries, thanks to rapid urbanisation. In 1801, London had about 860,000 residents (by comparison, Paris had about 670,000 in 1802, and the most populous city of the time was Edo - now Tokyo - with 1 to 1.25 million). London was the most populous city in the world from 1825 until 1925, when it was overtaken by New York. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939.
- See also Historical population of London
The City and the 32 boroughs had an estimated 7,517,700 inhabitants as of mid-2005,<ref>Population time-series - City of London www.nomisweb.co.uk</ref> making London the second most populous city in Europe behind Moscow (10,415,400 inhabitants as of 2005) and the most populous in the European Union.
 Ethnic groups
- See also: Religion in London
In the 2001 census, 71.15% of these seven and a half million people classed their ethnic group as white (classified as White British (59.79%), White Irish (3.07%) or "Other White" (8.29%)), 12.09% as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan, Arab and other South Asian ethnicities), 10.91% as Black (5.28% as Black African, 4.79% as Black Caribbean, 0.84% as "Other Black"), 3.15% as mixed race, 1.12% as Chinese and 1.58% as other (mostly Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese). 21.8% of inhabitants were born outside the European Union. The Irish are the largest foreign-born group in London (numbering approximately 200,000).
In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that there were more than 300 languages spoken and 50 non-indigenous communities with a population of more than 10,000 in London.<ref>London: Every race, colour, nation and religion on earth Guardian Online</ref>
 Urban and metropolitan populations
Although determination of the "official" London population is relatively easy since the London administrative area is clearly defined as the 32 London boroughs plus the City, making comparisons with other world cities is often difficult because of the absence of a clear definition of London's metropolitan area. Unlike many other countries, the UK does not provide national metropolitan area population figures based on commuter percentages and economic influence – this is left up to each individual city to define.
The Office for National Statistics gives figures for London's urban area, which includes the parts of the continuous built-up area falling outside the London administrative boundary. At the 2001 census, this population was 8,278,251 inhabitants.<ref>KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas www.statistics.gov.uk</ref> Similarly-defined areas for Moscow (11.7 million inhabitants as of 2000) and Paris (9.6 million inhabitants as of 1999) would put London in Europe's third place.
Wider definitions of the metropolitan area sometimes coincide with definitions of the southeastern part of England (a geographical area whose own definition can vary considerably). One such definition describes this area as covering 6,267 square miles (16,043 km²) and holding a population of 13,945,000 in 2001 <ref>Southest England Population by Area from 1891 www.demographia.com</ref> – larger than the combined populations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This metric would place London close to Moscow (around 14 million) and above Paris (around 11.5 million as of 2004).
This definition, however, expands the geographical scope of the metropolitan area much further than is usually considered, including relatively far-away towns and cities such as Dover, right by the English Channel, or Colchester, in the very north of Essex. Discounting eastern Kent, northern Essex, and West Berkshire, the figure would be closer to 12 million to 12.5 million people (as per adding census population figures for all boroughs, districts, and unitary authorities within that area).
The Greater London Authority has an even broader definition of London's scope. In 2004, it defined a "metropolitan region" centred on London with a population of 18 million. This region extends to cover much of the South East England and part of the East of England administrative regions, including places as far away as Oxford or the Isle of Wight.<ref>The London Plan www.london.gov.uk</ref>
Eurostat has developed a harmonized measuring standard for metropolitan areas in the European Union, referred to as the "Larger Urban Zone". As per this harmonized definition London is the largest ciy and metropolitan area of the European Union. For more information see "Largest cities and metropolitan areas in the European Union (Eurostat)".