The population of Cornwall in 2021, the latest date for which data is available, is 568,210. This makes Cornwall (Kernow) the 40th largest county in England by population.
In addition, the population of the Isles of Scilly (a district of Cornwall) is 2,280 people. There is more information about the demographics of the Isles of Scilly in the section at the end of this article.
The population of Cornwall is growing, but growth is mainly among older (40+) residents. The number of young people in the county (aged 39 or younger) is declining.
Largest Towns in Cornwall
There are no cities in Cornwall, but there are several mid-sized towns with a population of more than 20,000.
St Austell is the largest town in Cornwall. In 2013, its population was 27,400 people. The wider urban area around St Austell, has a population of 34,700 (2011 census data).
Other towns include Falmouth (22,300), Camborne (21,600), Penzance & Newlyn (21,200), Truro (21,000) and Newquay (20,300).
Here is a list of the largest towns in Cornwall (all those with a population of more than 10,000 people:
|Penzance & Newlyn||21,200|
The largest urban area in Cornwall is the Camborne-Redruth area, which has a total population of 55,400 (2011 data).
Cornwall Population Growth
The population of Cornwall declined gradually between 1860 and 1950, but has been growing steadily since then. Between the 2001 and 2011 censuses, the number of people living in Cornwall increased by more than 33,000 people (6.7%).
Here is a table listing the population of Cornwall by census year.
|1941||(no census due to war)|
A worrying trend has emerged in recent years, as Cornwall’s population growth has been spread unevenly between different generations. While the number of older residents (aged 40+) has been growing, the number of younger residents (under 40 years) has been falling again.
This ageing population (which is partly caused by Cornwall’s reputation as a retirement destination) could cause problems for the county in the longer term, as the pressure on healthcare and social services increases.
Ethnicity and National Identity in Cornwall
The population of Cornwall is almost entirely White.
Results from the 2011 census indicated that 98.2% of people in Cornwall were White and just 1.8% of the population was non-white.
In the 2011 census, people were also asked to choose their national identity. Almost one in ten (9.9%) people reported that their national identity was Cornish only.
This is a significant increase over the 2001 census, where 6.8% of people reported that they were Cornish.
A further 3.9% reported that they were part Cornish. This included 1% of people who reported that they were Cornish and British, and 2.9% who reported that they were Cornish and English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish.
86.2% did not report any Cornish identity. The vast majority in this group reported that their national identity was either English or British.
English is the most commonly spoken language in Cornwall, followed by Polish. There are also 464 people in Cornwall who speak Cornish as their first language.
At the time of the 2011 census, 98% of people in Cornwall aged 16 or over spoke English as their main language.
Cornish is a recognised minority language in the United Kingdom. It is a Celtic language, descended from Common Britannic. Despite once being declared an extinct language (Dolly Pentreath, the last fluent, native speaker , Cornish, died in 1777) Cornish has undergone a revival in recent years.
In the 2011 census, 557 people declared that Cornish was their main language. Of those, 464 people lived in Cornwall.
The number of people who can speak Cornish to some level is though to be considerably higher – perhaps around 3,500.
In total, 59.8% of people in Cornwall reported that they were Christian. It is the only religion to be followed by more than 0.5% of the population.
The next most common answers given in the 2011 census were No Religion (30.3%) and Religion Not Stated (8.5%).
No other religion was followed by more than 0.5% of the population. The largest minority religion was Buddhism – 0.32% of people reported that they were Buddhist, followed by Muslim (0.16%), Hindu (0.10%) and Jewish (0.07%).
Isles of Scilly population
The latest Isles of Scilly population is 2,280 (data from 2015). It has a population density of 139 people per km2, or 360 people per square mile.
The largest town in the Isles of Scilly is Hugh Town. At the time of the last census, in 2011, its population was 1,097 people.
The Isles of Scilly is one of two districts in the county of Cornwall. Its population is not included in the data above about Cornwall.