West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the towns of Sutton Coldfield, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge and Halesowen in the English West Midlands.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
|Area code(s)||0121, 01543, 01562, 01384, 01902, 01922|
Not to be confused with the region or metropolitan county of the same name, the conurbation does not include parts of the metropolitan county such as Coventry, but does include parts of the surrounding counties of Staffordshire (e.g. Little Aston, Perton and Essington) and Worcestershire (such as Hagley and Hollywood).
According to the 2011 Census the area had a population of 2,440,986, making it the third most populated in the United Kingdom behind the Greater London and Greater Manchester Built Up Areas. However it should be stated that the Conurbation sits within the UK's (and therefore England's) largest Metropolitan Area outside London (known as the Birmingham Metropolitan Area).
The conurbation also has several other unofficial names, such as Greater Birmingham, the West Midlands Metro Area, the Birmingham conurbation, the Birmingham-Wolverhampton conurbation and the (Greater) Birmingham-Black Country conurbation with the latter gaining wide traction as an alternative to the generally unliked official name of the Conurbation.
The conurbation is polycentric - Birmingham and Wolverhampton have separate Eurostat Larger Urban Zones, and there are separate Travel to Work areas defined for Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley & Sandwell and Walsall & Cannock; whilst the extreme south-west corner of the conurbation at Hagley is within the Kidderminster Travel to Work Area, and the extreme south-east corner is within the Warwick & Stratford upon Avon TTWA.
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 Built Up Area as including the urban areas of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Solihull, West Bromwich, Dudley, and Walsall amongst others. These settlements are not coterminous with the Metropolitan Boroughs of the same name.
The area of conurbation between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is known as the Black Country. The Black Country 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 polycentric with many of the towns and villages remaining recognisable communities.
Coventry is separated from the West Midlands conurbation by the Meriden Gap, and other urban areas, such as Cannock and Codsall remain separate from the conurbation. Coventry is 19 miles east of Birmingham.
Occasionally the conurbation is seen as being coterminous with the West Midlands Metropolitan 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.
Two Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) cover the majority of the conurbation area: Black Country LEP comprises the local authorities of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton while the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP includes those two authorities and a number of satellite boroughs, many remote from the conurbation and not traditionally associated with it (Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Tamworth and Wyre Forest).
The West Midlands Built Up Area consists of the below settlements. Due to the change in methodology between the 2001 and 2011 Census, and the amount of change between 2011 Census and previous census data, it is impossible to compare the data directly between 2011 and earlier Censuses.
|Rank||Settlement||Population (2011)||Notes on significant changes since 2001|
|1||Birmingham||1,085,810||Gained Quinton from Oldbury-Smethwick USD. Gained Minworth from Sutton Coldfield USD.|
|2||Wolverhampton||210,319||Bilston and Wednesfield removed from 2001. The three BUASDs combined total 265,178. Essington removed and placed within Willenhall BUASD.|
|3||Solihull||123,187||Gained Shelly Green and Knowle-Bentley Heath from 2001.|
|5||Dudley||79,379||Coseley, Kingswinford, Brierley Hill and Sedgley removed from 2011. The five BUASDs combined total 215,693. Gained Cradley Heath and Quarry Bank from Oldbury-Smethwick USD.|
|6||West Bromwich||72,945||Wednesbury and Tipton removed from 2001. Town split in two by Sandwell Valley and the two parts are now considered separately. The four BUASDs combined total 153,366. Gained Yew Tree from 2001.|
|7||Walsall||67,594||Willenhall, Darlaston and Bloxwich removed from 2001. The four BUASDs combined total 185,114.|
|8||Stourbridge||63,298||Gained Hagley from 2001.|
|10||Willenhall||51,429||New in 2011. Previously part of Walsall USD, but also gained Essington from Wolverhampton USD.|
|11||Kingswinford||50,801||New in 2011. Previously part of Dudley USD.|
|12||Smethwick||48,765||New in 2011. Previously part of Oldbury-Smethwick USD.|
|13||Bloxwich||47,288||New in 2011. Previously part of Walsall USD.|
|13||Tipton||42,407||New in 2011. Previously part of West Bromwich USD.|
|14||Aldridge||39,463||Gained Rushall, Shelfield and Pelsall from 2001.|
|15||Rowley Regis||34,260||New in 2011. Previously part of Oldbury-Smethwick USD.|
|16||Brierley Hill||31,430||New in 2011. Previously part of Dudley USD.|
|17||Sedgley||30,979||New in 2011. Previously part of Dudley USD.|
|18||Bilston||29,556||New in 2011. Previously part of Wolverhampton USD.|
|19||Wednesfield||25,303||New in 2011. Previously part of Wolverhampton USD|
|20||Oldbury||23,964||New in 2011. Previously part of Oldbury-Smethwick USD.|
|21||Coseley||23,104||New in 2011. Previously part of Dudley USD.|
|23||Wednesbury||19,029||New in 2011. Previously part of West Bromwich USD.|
|24||West Bromwich East||18,985||New in 2011. Previously part of West Bromwich USD.|
|25||Darlaston||18,803||New in 2011. Previously part of Walsall USD.|
|26||Blackheath||6,518||New in 2011. Previously part of Oldbury-Smethwick USD.|
|28||Wythall||1,912||New in 2011.|
|29||Hampton in Arden||1,678||New in 2011.|
|30||Stonnall||1,338||New in 2011.|
|31||Major's Green||1,002||New in 2011.|
|32||Tidbury Green||720||New in 2011.|
In the 2011 Census, Coleshill and Water Orton are two separate built-up areas with populations of 6,341 and 3,444 respectively. Prior to 2011, they were considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area.
Prior to the 2011 census, the conurbation was known by the ONS as the West Midlands Urban Area, which contained the following Urban Sub-Divisions:
|5||Oldbury / Smethwick||139,855||145,542||153,461|
|12||Knowle / Bentley Heath||18,452|
- 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.
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