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    10 Graphs That Show How The North Of England's Economy Is Struggling

    It's not all grim up north. But it's certainly harder to get by.

    Welcome to the north of England. It's a brilliant place. But its economy is struggling when compared to the rest of the UK.


    The north of England is home to many of the UK's greatest cities. But a new report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) summarises how the region's economy is underperforming compared to the rest of England.

    In short, it's not good news: People are earning less, are less productive, and there are fewer businesses. Here's what you need to know.

    (Note: The ONS defines "the north" as the North East, the North West, and Yorkshire and the Humber. We are not opening that argument up again.)

    1. The percentage of the UK's population that lives in the north is now lower than in the early 19th century.


    This graph shows that the proportion of Britons who live in the north is falling and is now at its lowest point since 1821.

    Industrialisation during the 19th century drew enormous numbers of people to the north, as factories across the region produced goods to sell across the world. But deindustralisation and better economic prospects in the south have caused a general population drift away from the north.

    This does NOT mean that the total population of the north is shrinking: It actually grew by 762,000 to 15.1 million people between 2001 and 2013, according to the ONS.

    However, the rest of the country is growing much faster, meaning northerners make up a much smaller percentage of the overall population. This could dilute the importance of northern England when central government is making decisions.

    2. Disposable income in almost every area of the north is below the English average.


    This graph shows the average disposable household income per person in every area in the north of England. The typical individual in England has around £17,000 a year to spend on living costs.

    But almost everyone in the north has less than this, which isn't healthy.

    It's only the residents of Cheshire, North Yorkshire, and Northumberland who come close to this level of income. These are rural areas where rich northerners tend to congregate.

    3. The unemployment rate in the north is substantially higher than in the rest of England.

    What's most depressing is that northern unemployment is consistently lower than the rest of England, suggesting the region's economy has a built-in tendency towards having fewer people in work.

    The gap between the north and the rest of the country briefly narrowed in the mid-2000s but has fallen back since then.

    4. There are substantially fewer businesses per person in the north of England.

    This chart shows the number of businesses per 10,000 adults in the north of England. It's 20% lower than the rest of England, suggesting it is a less enticing place to run a company.

    5. Immigrants tend to head for other parts of England.


    This graph shows the percentage of the population who were born outside the UK. Well under 10% of northerners were born outside the UK, compared to over 35% of Londoners. Although there are a number of factors involved, immigrants are often attracted to areas with greater economic potential.

    6. Productivity in the north is substantially lower than in the rest of England.


    This graph shows how much value is created per hour worked in each part of the country. In short, this is how economically productive people are in each part of the country.

    This is a relative index: The UK as a whole scores 100, the north scores 90 and the rest of England scores 106. This isn't great.

    7. People in the north of England are much more likely to employed by the public sector.


    Which isn't the best idea when the state is cutting public spending.

    8. Life expectancy in the north is lower.


    People are less healthy. They die younger. That's not great for the economy.

    9. The northern economy (dark blue) is much more reliant on manufacturing than England as a whole (light blue).


    High-earning professions such as finance, technology, and science contribute substantially more to the overall English economy than they do in the north.

    10. People move to the north for university but immediately move back afterwards.

    This graph shows the number of people who move to the north and the number of people moving from the north to the rest of England.

    The north's successful universities attract tens of thousands of southerners when they're in their late teens, but these people tend to flee back home as soon as their course is finished.