Preston is located in the North West of England, forming the third point of a triangle between Liverpool and Manchester. It has a population of around 142,000 within its city boundaries and is part of the wider Central Lancashire area of Preston, Chorley and South Ribble, which represents nearly half of Lancashire's economic wealth.

Lancashire City Deal

Alongside exciting and ambitious development plans across the city, The Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal is a landmark agreement to help achieve even more transformation of the area, creating thousands of new jobs and homes.

A total £434 million new investment will lead to the expansion and improvement of the transport infrastructure in Preston and South Ribble at an unprecedented rate, enabling a forecast 20,000 new jobs and 17,420 new homes to be created. It will provide a huge boost to the local economy, which is expected to grow by £1 billion over the next ten years.

Preston Statistics

The full Preston Statistics report can be found in the documents section on this page.

Population

In mid-2017, according to the Office for National Statistics, Preston had an estimated population of 141,346, the third largest population in Lancashire.

Between mid-2001 and mid-2017 Preston had an increase in population of 8.4%. This growth rate was much higher than the North West region rate of 7.2% and the Lancashire overall rate of 5.2%. It was under the United Kingdom rate of 11.7%.

Between 2011 and 2017 this drops to an increase of 0.9% against a UK rate of 4.4%.
By 2041 the population of Preston is projected to decrease slightly to 140,058

Resident Mid-Year Population 2017

 2017
Preston141,346
Lancashire (14 authorities)1,490,497
North West7,258,627
United Kingdom66,040,229

Resident Population by Age Group, Mid-2017 (%)

Preston's population is relatively young with a higher than average percentage of under 25s and fewer elderly people. Around 36% of Preston residents are aged under 25, compared with 30% nationally (GB).

The presence of the large university, UCLan, in central Preston has a strong impact on the age distribution in the area. Preston also has a smaller proportion of older people (65+) - 14.7% compared with the national average of 18.2%.

In Preston the proportion of working age people in Mid-2017 was 65.4% (92,400 aged 1664) compared with 62.5% in the North West region and 62.9% nationally.

Employment and Skills

According to October 2017 to December 2018 figures, the employment rate for the resident population in Preston was 77.5%. This is higher than the North West region rate of 73.8% and the Great Britain rate of 75.1%.

Qualification Levels

A large proportion of Preston's working age population is skilled with nearly a third of the working age people qualified to NVQ Level 4 and above (31%).

This is a slight increase from Jan-Dec 2016. Just over half (51.6%) are qualified to NVQ3 and above, 72.7% to NVQ2 and above and 83.3% to NVQ1 and above.

Local Enterprises by Employment Size Band (2018)

In 2018, there were 5,165 VAT/PAYE-registered enterprises in Preston, the largest number in Lancashire.

This is an increase of just over 21% between 2013 and 2018, a little under the national increase of 23% but above the Lancashire (14 districts) growth rate of 17.5%.

The majority of enterprises in Preston employ under four people with just over 75% - or three quarters - of all enterprises in this employment size band.

This is slightly less than the regional and national percentage.

Employment by Broad Industry Group (2017)

According to figures from the ONS Business Register and Employment Survey 2017 via NOMIS, in Preston the Public admin, education and health sector (O-Q) employed the highest proportion of persons aged 16 to 64 at almost 39%), followed by Financial and Other Business Services (K-N around 20% or 1 in 5 jobs) and Wholesale and Retail, including motor trades (G - 17%).

Preston has a higher proportion of public sector employment such as civil servants and local government employees than other districts in Lancashire.