English Counties by Population and Area 2021/2022

This article ranks the 48 English ceremonial counties by population and size. 

A ceremonial county is a geographical area that a Lord Lieutenant has been appointed to. Because of the changes in local government boundaries in England over many years, ceremonial counties are the closest approximation we have today to the old geographical counties of England. As a result, they do not necessarily match the boundaries of today’s metropolitan counties and non-metropolitan counties.

Where a county’s name is hyperlinked, you can click to read a more detailed article about that county. Population data is from the Office of National Statistics.

Ceremonial CountyPopulationArea (sq m)
Greater London8899375606
West Midlands2916458348
Greater Manchester2812569493
West Yorkshire2320214783
Kent18464781,443
Hampshire18442451,455
Essex18327521,420
Lancashire14983001,187
Merseyside1423065250
South Yorkshire1402918599
Devon11941662,590
Surrey1189934642
Hertfordshire1184365634
North Yorkshire11588163,341
Nottinghamshire1154195834
Tyne and Wear1136371210
Staffordshire11310521,048
Lincolnshire10876592,693
Cheshire1059271905
Leicestershire1053486832
Derbyshire10533161,014
Somerset9654241,610
Gloucestershire9162021,220
Berkshire911403487
Norfolk9036802,080
Durham8668461,033
West Sussex858852769
Cambridgeshire8525231,310
East Sussex844985692
Buckinghamshire808666724
Dorset7722681,024
Suffolk7585561,468
Northamptonshire7476222,364
Wiltshire7200601,346
Oxfordshire6875241,006
Bedfordshire669338477
East Riding of Yorkshire600259956
Worcestershire592057672
Warwickshire571010763
Cornwall5682101,375
Cumbria4988882,613
Shropshire4980731,347
Bristol46340542
Northumberland3202741,936
Herefordshire192107840
Isle of Wight141538150
Rutland39697147
City of London87061.12

What is the largest County in England

North Yorkshire is the largest county in England by area. It covers 3,341 square miles or 8,654 km² in total. As well as being the biggest county North Yorkshire is the fourth biggest by population in England. Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Devon are the other three counties with an area of more than 2,500 square miles.

The smallest county in England by area is the City of London, which covers just 1.12 square miles (2.90km²). Other small counties are: Bristol (24 square miles), Rutland (147 square miles) and the Isle of Wight (150 square miles).

The largest county in the UK by population is Greater London, followed by the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

The most densely populated county in the United Kingdom is also Greater London (14,690 people per sq m), followed by Bristol and the West Midlands. The least densely populated county is Northumberland, with just 170 people per square mile.

List of County Towns

CountyCounty town
AberdeenshireAberdeen
AngleseyBeaumaris
AngusForfar
County AntrimAntrim or Belfast
ArgyllshireInveraray
County ArmaghArmagh
AyrshireAyr
BanffshireBanff
BedfordshireBedford
BerkshireAbingdon
BerwickshireDuns
BrecknockshireBrecon
BuckinghamshireAylesbury
ButeshireRothesay
CaernarfonshireCaernarfon
CaithnessWick
CambridgeshireCambridge
CardiganshireCardigan
CarmarthenshireCarmarthen
CheshireChester
ClackmannanshireAlloa
CornwallTruro
CromartyshireCromarty
CumberlandCarlisle
DenbighshireRuthin
DerbyshireDerby
DevonExeter
DorsetDorchester
County DownDownpatrick
DumfriesshireDumfries
DunbartonshireDumbarton
County DurhamDurham
East LothianHaddington
EssexChelmsford
FermanaghEnniskillen
FifeCupar
FlintshireMold
GlamorganCardiff
GloucestershireGloucester
HampshireWinchester
HerefordshireHereford
HertfordshireHertford
HuntingdonshireHuntingdon
Inverness-shireInverness
KentMaidstone
KincardineshireStonehaven
Kinross-shireKinross
KirkcudbrightshireKirkcudbright
LanarkshireLanark
LancashireLancaster
LeicestershireLeicester
LincolnshireLincoln
County LondonderryLondonderry
MerionethshireDolgellau
MiddlesexBrentford
MidlothianEdinburgh
MontgomeryshireMontgomery
MonmouthshireMonmouth
MorayshireElgin
NairnshireNairn
NorfolkNorwich
NorthamptonshireNorthampton
NorthumberlandAlnwick
NottinghamshireNottingham
OrkneyKirkwall
OxfordshireOxford
PeeblesshirePeebles
PembrokeshireHaverfordwest
PerthshirePerth
RadnorshirePresteigne
RenfrewshireRenfrew
Ross-shireDingwall
RoxburghshireJedburgh
RutlandOakham
SelkirkshireSelkirk
ShetlandLerwick
ShropshireShrewsbury
SomersetTaunton
StaffordshireStafford
StirlingshireStirling
SuffolkIpswich
SurreyGuildford
SussexChichester
SutherlandDornoch
TyroneOmagh
WarwickshireWarwick
West LothianLinlithgow
WestmorlandAppleby
WigtownshireWigtown
WiltshireTrowbridge
WorcestershireWorcester
YorkshireYork

Further reading: Check out our articles on the UK population and the population of England. Also our article about the population of the ceremonial county of Yorkshire.