Greater Manchester Urban Area

Greater Manchester Urban Area

The Greater Manchester Urban Area is an area of land defined by the Office for National Statistics consisting of the large conurbation surrounding and including the City of Manchester in North West England.

The Urban Area is not conterminous with the Greater Manchester metropolitan county of the same name. It discludes settlements such as Wigan and Marple from Greater Manchester county, but includes some settlements which are outside of the county boundaries, such as Wilmslow in Cheshire, and Whitworth in Lancashire.

According to the 2001 census the area had a population of 2,240,230, [ [ Key Statistics for urban areas in England and Wales] , 2001 Census. URL accessed February 21, 2007.] making it the United Kingdom's third most populous conurbation after the Greater London and the West Midlands Urban Areas.

Constituent parts

The largest settlements (in descending order of population) within the Greater Manchester Urban Area are Manchester, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, and Bury. These settlements are not coterminous with the Metropolitan Boroughs of the same name, and the ONS takes its settlement boundaries from the contiguous urban core of pre-Local Government Act 1972 local government districts. This means that the GMUA bears a much closer resemblance to the earlier "SELNEC" area than to the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County.

Wigan is separate from the Greater Manchester Urban Area, although other parts of the wider Metropolitan Borough of Wigan are included. Wigan, with Ince-in-Makerfield forms a separate Wigan Urban Area; the gap is formed between Ince (of Wigan U.A.) and Hindley (Greater Manchester U.A.).

Other urban areas, including Glossop, New Mills and the rest of High Peak are narrowly avoided as is Golborne and much of the parish of Saddleworth.


According to the ONS definitions the Greater Manchester Urban Area consists of the following settlements: [ [ Greater Manchester Urban Area] , 2001 Census. URL accessed February 21, 2007.]

ee also

*Geography of Greater Manchester


[ Map showing makeup of the conurbation according to the ONS (PDF)]

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