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Data and Evidence

At the time of the 2021 Census 2.87 million people were recorded as living in Greater Manchester.

The new Equalities & Inclusion Strategy sets the objective to 'fully understand Greater Manchester's people and places, existing inequalities and evidence-based decision making, including intersectionality, and apply that understanding in everything we do'.

Good quality data should be at the heart of all policy and programme planning and implementation. Understanding who a policy or programme will impact should be central to the development and design of all work that TfGM carries out to deliver the ambition to make TfGM's network truly integrated, accessible and inclusive.

As a starting point in the lifecycle of any project, project managers should undertake an Equality Impact Assessment -- using the most accurate data available -- to determine which groups with protected characteristics will be impacted by the proposals. TfGM have created a template and guidance documents to assist project managers with this.

Below, we present the latest census data which presents an overview of diversity within Greater Manchester. However, in many cases more localised or specific data may be available to tailor a project to the needs of those it will impact. The 2021 census data will be included in the strategy, and these webpages updated, once this becomes available.


  • 15% of people living in Greater Manchester had some level of disability. People living in Tameside, Wigan, Salford and Rochdale said their day-to-day lives were limited a lot, due to a disability or long-term limiting condition. (Census 2021)
  • Disabled people in Greater Manchester are less likely than people without a disability or long-standing health condition to drive or have access to a car. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)
  • People with a communication or sensory impairment, learning disability or cognitive impairment, or mental health difficulties are more likely than those with no disability to travel by bus. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)
  • People with a disability or long-term health condition are more likely to travel by taxi. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)
  • Less than 50% of the 96 stations across Greater Manchester are fully accessible. (GM Rail Station Accessibility Strategy)
  • People who have a disability, who responded to our research, are less happy with public transport, compared to people who do not have a disability. (Network Principles 2021)
  • They were the least happy with their personal security on all types of public transport, as well as being able to get on and off buses and trains easily. (Network Principles 2021)


  • According to the 2020 data, 20.5% of people in Greater Manchester are aged
  • Greater Manchester’s population is younger than the national average. 20% of people are aged 0-15 years. And 15% of people are over 65 years old. (Census 2021)
  • Overall, 95% of the population is under 65, but Stockport and Wigan have older populations. (Census 2021)
  • Oldham has the most people aged between 0 and 15 years, and Wigan has the least. (Census 2021)
  • The Department for Transport uses the measure of 1.2m/s to measure walking speed, but less than 12% of people 65 and older can walk that fast. (DfT 2019)
  • A quarter of Greater Manchester residents aged 65 and over travel by bus, at least weekly. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)

Sex & gender:

  • Transport planning looks at getting from one point to another. This type of travel is most likely to be taken by men. Women are more likely to trip-chain, where you visit multiple stops on one journey. They are also more likely to drop off or pick up children during their commute. (Access and Inclusion 2020; Invisible Women, Caroline Criado Perez 2019)
  • Less than a quarter of Greater Manchester cycling trips are made by women. Women who cycle are more likely, than men, to feel unsafe when it comes to traffic and personal safety while cycling at night. (TfGM Network Principles Survey 2021)
  • Women are less likely to feel safe when using all forms of public transport at night. (TfGM Network Principles Survey 2023)
  • Women make about 7% more trips in a weekday than men. They have more activities and places to get to than men. Of all the trips women make, they are more likely to use the bus than drive. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022, Access and Inclusion 2020)


  • 47% of Greater Manchester’s population said their religion was Christian, 32% said they had no religion. (Census 2021)
  • 13% of Greater Manchester’s population are Muslim, a third of the population live in Manchester. With higher populations also living in Oldham, Rochdale and Bolton. Bury and Salford have the biggest Jewish populations. It’s important to understand how these populations are different when looking at policy. (Census 2021)
  • Only 6% of people said that getting to a place of worship, which they said was an important activity for them, was difficult. (Access and Inclusion, 2020)


  • Data from the Department of Transport, from 2019, showed, on average, black people travelled 2,800 less than white people. (National Travel Survey 2019)
  • 22% of Greater Manchester residents from an ethnic minority background don’t have access to a car. 19% of White British residents don’t have access. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)
  • In GM, people from Black and Black British backgrounds use the bus more than people from other ethnic backgrounds. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)
  • Manchester is the most ethnically diverse area of GM, with the largest number of Black and Black British residents. (Census 2021)
  • Oldham and Rochdale have the biggest proportion of Asian residents from a Pakistani background. But, Manchester had the largest number of residents from this group. (Census 2021)
  • At least 91 different languages were spoken as a main language in GM in 2021, with 42 of these languages having more than a thousand speakers. (Census 2021)
  • Bolton has the biggest population of Asian residents from an Indian background in Greater Manchester. Wigan has the biggest White British population. Oldham has the biggest number of Bangladeshi residents. (Census 2021)

Sexual orientation

  • The 2021 Census for Greater Manchester shows that 89.3% of the population are heterosexual, 2% are gay or lesbian and 1.4% are bisexual. (Census 2021)

Socio-economic status

  • In Greater Manchester, residents in the ‘Urban Adversity’ ACORN category (generally the lowest income category), are more likely to use buses. (TfGM TRADS Survey 2022)