Population on the Pitch

So did you know around 16 people live on each football pitch-sized area of land in Torbay? In 2021 Torbay was the seventh most densely populated of the South West’s 30 local authority areas. A plain fact from the latest release of the UK census data brought to life in an image… now I’m curious!


In June 2022 the ONS (Office of National Statistics) published the ‘first results’ census data for 2011-2021. To highlight Population Change data they produced an interactive online story.

This is a big budget production in data world and well worth exploring, because the visualisations are engaging and you can personalise the story to your area, your place, your interest. Select Torbay and local data including Brixham is highlighted and set in a regional context, compared to other local authorities in Devon and around the UK. Take a look now How the Population changed where you live: Census 2021 and read on…

Taken from the ONS story, the graph below shows population change (%) by age group in Torbay, 2011 to 2021. It’s an interesting shape, revealing rise and fall in population in different age groups. For instance, there’s an increase of 20.6% in people aged 65 years and over, but ages 15-25 and 40-49 have decreased significantly.

In Devon the biggest increase in population from 2011-21 was in East Devon with 13.8%. and the lowest was the Isles of Scilly where the population fell by 4.7%.

The interactive story is a good example of how a ‘data set’ – the plain spreadsheet that holds the data for analysis – can be transformed into an engaging story. [Download ONS Excel spreadsheet with Census population change data] The ONS have the budget to go to town with this process, but good results come from good ideas, creativity and storytelling. We will be sharing some other examples to show how imagination and modest means can bring data to life.

What story would you like to tell with data? What data do you want to see? What data sets would help Brixham citizens unpick a problem or think about positive changes for the place? If this sparks your interest, please drop us a line at hello@prospectbrixham.org or through our social channels. And take a look at our upcoming Data Challenge Competition for Brixham.


If you liked that, you might like to explore this:

A two-part interactive series from ONS, published May 2021, on economic disparities

1)    Exploring local income deprivation

A detailed picture of disparities within English local authorities to a neighbourhood level

2)    What are the regional differences in income and productivity?

Explore economic inequality in the UK with our map


Hero Credit: Office of National Statistics
Author: Prospect Brixham

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