Figures have been revealed showing how the populations of three North London boroughs have changed over the last decade.

Initial results from the 2021 Census of England and Wales were published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week.

The figures show London’s overall population grew by 7.7%, from 8.2 million to 8.8 million, since the last census was carried out in 2011.


The growth rate varied significantly between boroughs, however, with some in central London even seeing declines in population. But London Councils, which represents the London boroughs, warned local authorities could lose out on funding because of undercounting it fears has been caused by the timing of the census survey during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here is a breakdown of some of the key figures for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey:


Barnet saw population growth above the London average, up from 356,836 in 2011 to 389,300 in 2021, which is an increase of 9.2%.

The borough remains the second-biggest in London in terms of population behind Croydon, which was home to 390,800 people. In 2020, Barnet was estimated to have overtaken Croydon’s population, but the census data overruled this projection.

In common with many areas, the highest population growth came in the older population groups. There was an 18.3% increase in people aged 65 years and over, which is slightly below the England average.

There was an 8% rise in people aged 15 to 64 years, and an increase of 7.5% in children aged under 15 years. However, there were declines among those aged between 20 and 29 and from zero to four years old.


Enfield dropped from being the fourth-largest borough in London to the joint sixth-largest between 2011 and 2021, the census figures reveal.

The borough’s population grew from 312,500 in 2011 to 330,000 in 2021, an increase of 5.6%. It was overtaken by Newham and Brent, which recorded bigger rises.

According to the data, Enfield saw a 16.1% increase in the number of people aged 65 years and over, a 4.3% rise in people aged 15 to 64 years, and a 3.7% climb in children aged under 15 years.

Within these overall groups, there were declines in the number of 20 to 34-year-olds, 45 to 49-year-olds, and children aged up to four years.


Haringey recorded the second-smallest growth rate in the capital, with a population increase of just 3.6%. Only Hammersmith and Fulham grew more slowly, although Camden, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea all saw their populations decline.

The borough was home to an estimated 264,200 people in 2021, up from 254,900 in 2011.

According to the data, Haringey saw a 23.8% increase in the number of people aged 65 years and over, which is above the England average of 20.1%. At the other end of the scale, the number of children aged under 15 years fell by 8%.

The number of people aged between 15 and 64 years grew by 4.3%, despite declines in those aged between 20 and 34.

Concerns over data

London Councils, a cross-party group representing the capital’s local authorities, claims the new census data should be treated with “extreme caution”.

It warns the number of Londoners is likely to have been significantly undercounted because the data was taken during the third national Covid-19 lockdown, in March 2021, when many residents may have temporarily moved to family homes outside of the capital.

The figures indicate the capital’s population was 3% lower than the previous ONS projection for 2021, with some borough figures 24% lower. London Councils believes this could have an impact on how £4billion of government funding is allocated to local authorities based on population figures.

Georgia Gould, chair of London Councils, said: “Counting London’s diverse population is an incredible challenge even at the best of times due to our high levels of migration, homelessness and population churn. The lockdown will have undoubtedly made this worse, particularly for communities who suffer from digital exclusion.

“It’s a bitter irony that it’s often the Londoners with the lowest census response rates who most depend on local authority support – but even small inaccuracies in population counts can seriously undermine future service provision.

“We are concerned that, without looking at the data in the context of the challenges the pandemic created, Londoners will lose out.”