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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.


  • 19.4% of people living in Greater Manchester day-to-day activities limited because of a health problem or disability (Census 2011). The areas with the highest percentage of residents who reported their day-to-day activities were limited a lot, were Tameside, Wigan, Salford and Rochdale.
  • The proportion of people with a disability or limiting long term illness rises with age. For example, in Greater Manchester around 5% of children have a disability or long-term limiting illness, in each of the age groups up to age 19. This increases in people aged 45 to 49 to 20% and to 43% in those aged 60 to 64 and continues to increase to half or more of the age group as people reach the age of 70 and above (2001 Census).
  • Nationally 51,000 disabled individuals say they have turned down a job due to a lack of accessibility on the railway.
  • Only 40% of stations in GM are fully accessible (a further 14% have steep ramps).
  • Disabled people in GM are less likely than those without a disability or long-standing health condition to have access to a car. 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. Those with a disability or long-standing health condition are also more likely to travel by taxi (TRADS years 678, 2017-19).
  • Disabled respondents to TfGM research have shown lower than average satisfaction with several aspects of their journeys on public transport, notably personal security on all modes and ease of boarding and alighting from trains and buses (Network Principles 2021).


  • According to the 2020 data, 20.5% of people in Greater Manchester are aged 0-15.
  • About 9% of people in Greater Manchester are young people aged between 18-24 years (% of GM 2019 All persons). 27% of people in Greater Manchester are aged 55 and over (GM 2019 estimates).
  • Those aged 65 and over make up 15.9% of the population of Greater Manchester (2020 ONS)
  • The majority of Greater Manchester's population (63.6%) are aged between 16 and 64. However, this group have decreased as a proportion of the population in recent years, with increases in older and younger people.
  • The DfT walking speed used to time pedestrian crossings is 1.2m/s, but fewer than 12% of people aged over 65 can walk that fast.
  • Younger people, especially those under the age of 19, are more likely than average to be making bus trips 5 or more days a week.
  • Respondents over the age of 60 are also more likely to travel by bus, at least weekly (TRADS years 678, 2017-19).

Sex & gender:

  • Men (inc Trans Men) make up 49.7% and women (inc Trans Women) make up 50.3% (% of GM 2019 mid yr. estimates) of the population of Greater Manchester. Other gender identities are currently not collected.

  • Women are more likely than men to have responsibility for children and care of dependents and therefore more like to trip-chain and twice as likely for school run to be part of their commute. Significant numbers of women work unsocial hours or on a part-time basis. Their transport choices are informed by a range of things including the waiting environment; access to services; reliability; affordability (for dependents as well as themselves); safety and security (on and off vehicle); and vehicular accessibility to accommodate prams, buggies, wheelchairs and driver and passenger behaviour. 

  • Transport planning is focused on standard point-to-point travel patterns which are more likely to be undertaken by men, but Invisible Women has shown that women are more likely to trip-chain and twice as likely as men to drop off or pick up children on their commute.

  • Similarly, TfGM research has identified that women have more activities and destinations to get to than men, and women are making about 9% more trips per weekday than men. Proportionally, of all the trips women make, they're more likely to walk or catch the bus, and are less likely to drive (Access and Inclusion 2020, TRADS years 678, 2017-19).

  • Security is a key issue: TfGM research shows women are less satisfied than men with their personal security when getting to, waiting for, and travelling on all modes of public transport at night (Network Principles 2021).

  • Only a quarter of GM cycling trips are made by women (TRADS years 678, 2017-19). Women who do cycle are less likely than men to be satisfied with their personal safety from traffic or personal security whilst cycling at night (Network Principles 2021).


  • Three fifths of GM's population gave their religion as Christian at the last census, one fifth stated they had no religion.

  • One in 10 of the GM population were Muslim, with a third of GM's Muslim population living in Manchester and above average populations in Oldham, Rochdale and Bolton. A quarter of GM's Hindu's lived in Bolton in 2011, Bury had the largest Jewish population in GM. Therefore, it is important to understand the religious diversity of each borough when considering policy implications.

  • Only 6% of those for whom accessing a place of worship was an important activity reported any difficulty getting there (Access and Inclusion, 2020)


  • DfT data from 2019 showed that on average black people travelled 2,800 fewer miles compared to white people.

  • GM residents from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely than white British residents to have access to a car (TRADS 678, 2017-19).

  • Within GM, people from Black or Black British backgrounds use the bus more than people from other ethnic backgrounds (TRAD S678, 2017-19).

  • Manchester had the most ethnically diverse population of any of the Greater Manchester districts at the last census and has the largest numbers of Black/Black British residents. Oldham and Rochdale had the largest proportion of Asian residents from a Pakistani background in GM. However, Manchester had the largest number of residents from this group.

  • Bolton had the largest population of Asian residents from an Indian background in GM. Wigan had the largest White British population in GM. Oldham has the largest number of residents from a Bangladeshi background in GM.

Sexual Orientation

  • ONS estimates from 2016-2018 suggests that there were 61,500 LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester, or 2.8% of the population. These figures are likely to be under-estimates, with a large proportion of non-responses and leading LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall estimating the actual figure to be between 5-7%. The percentage of LGBTQ+ residents is estimated to be higher in GM than in the North West generally, but these figures are old and have a wide confidence interval. The forthcoming results from the 2021 census will provide a more accurate picture.

  • In 2017 there 8455 marriages in GM, 4.1% of those were between same sex couples (ONS, 2017).