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The West Midlands conurbation is the name given to the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge, Halesowen and Sutton Coldfield in the English West Midlands.

Not to be confused with the region or metropolitan county of the same name, the conurbation does not include parts of the county such as Coventry, but does include parts of the surrounding counties of Staffordshire (e.g. Little Aston, Perton), Warwickshire (specifically Coleshill and Water Orton) and Worcestershire (Hagley, Hollywood).

According to the 2001 Census the area had a population of 2,284,093, making it the second most populated in the United Kingdom.

Contents

Constituent Parts

Although the exact boundaries of any conurbation are open to debate, dependent on what criteria are used to determine where an urban area ceases, the Office for National Statistics defines the West Midlands Urban Area as including the urban areas (in decreasing size) of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, and Walsall amongst others. These settlements are not coterminous with the Metropolitan Boroughs of the same name, and the ONS takes its settlement boundaries within the conurbation as the pre-1974 local authorities.

The conurbation is unusual in having a number of large settlements within, with Birmingham (2nd), Wolverhampton (13th), Dudley (19th) and Walsall (28th) all being amongst the largest 30 urban sub-areas in England.

The area of conurbation between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is known as the Black Country. The Black Country is unusual in that it has no single centre, having grown up from a number of historic market towns and industrial villages that coalesced during the 20th century. It remains essentially polyfocal with many of the towns and villages remaining recognisable communities. Inhabitants of the Black Country generally resist hints at any relationship to people living in Birmingham. This can be seen by recent (2006) controversy regarding the name of the newly created city region. "Greater Birmingham" was seen as unacceptable, and the final name given was "Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country".

Coventry is separate from the West Midlands conurbation, and other urban areas, such as Cannock and Codsall are also only narrowly avoided.

Relationship to Metropolitan County

Occasionally the conurbation is seen as being coterminous with the West Midlands county; however, this includes Coventry, which is separate from the main urban area, and excludes the parts of the surrounding counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire that fall within the conurbation.

For administrative purposes, the vast majority of the conurbation falls within the six Metropolitan Boroughs of Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Between 1974 and 1986 these areas (along with Coventry) were additionally administered by the West Midlands County Council. Some bodies such as the West Midlands Police and Centro (the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive) still cover the Metropolitan County, but not the entire urban area.

Settlements

The West Midlands conurbation consists of the following settlements:

Rank

(2001)

Settlement Population

(2001)[1]

Population

(1991)[2]

Population

(1981)[3]

1 Birmingham 970,892 965,928 1,024,118
2 Wolverhampton 251,462 257,943 265,631
3 Dudley 194,919 192,171 187,367
4 Walsall 170,994 174,739 178,852
5 Oldbury / Smethwick 139,855 145,542 153,461
6 West Bromwich 136,940 146,386 154,531
7 Sutton Coldfield 105,452 106,001 103,097
8 Solihull 94,753 94,531 94,613
9 Stourbridge 55,480 55,624 55,499
10 Halesowen 55,273 57,918 57,532
11 Brownhills 19,866 18,159 18,200
12 Knowle / Bentley Heath 18,452
13 Aldridge 15,659 16,832 17,589
14 Pelsall 10,524 10,007 10,328
15 Shelfield 6,807 7,079 6,029
16 Coleshill 6,235 6,324
17 Yew Tree 6,109
18 Rushall 5,864 5,871 6,137
19 Hagley 5,723 5,417 5,754
20 Shelly Green 5,702
21 Water Orton 3,573 3,555
22 Cheswick Green 2,261 2,511
Knowle 17,588 16,872
Bentley Heath 5,984

Notes:

  • Knowle and Bentley Heath are considered as one settlement in 2001, but are considered separately in 1991 and 1981. Bentley Heath was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981.
  • Coleshill and Water Orton were not considered to be part of the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981, but a separate Coleshill/Water Orton Urban Area with a total population of 9,554; made up of Coleshill (6,113) and Water Orton (3,441).
  • Yew Tree is only considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area in the 2001 census.
  • Cheswick Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981.
  • Shelly Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981 or 1991.

References

  1. ^ "2001 census: Key Statistics for Urban Areas". ONS. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=8271&More=Y. Retrieved 2008-12-04.  
  2. ^ "1991 Census: West Midlands Urban Area". ONS. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/west_midlands_urban_area.asp. Retrieved 2008-12-04.  
  3. ^ 1981 Key Statistics for Urban Areas: The Midlands Table 1, Office for National Statistics, 1981  

External links

Maps showing breakup of the conurbation according to the ONS in the 2001 census (PDF):

Coordinates: 52°30′42″N 1°58′31″W / 52.511794°N 1.975307°W / 52.511794; -1.975307








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