Facts and figures

Service information

The following profile summarises selected information relating to Blackburn with Darwen borough council area and provides links to some of the most up to date information.

In addition to this summary, a range of documents provide more detailed analyses. These include the Integrated Strategic Needs Assessment and Story of Place and themed reports and ward profiles from the 2011 Census.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough

Located in the east of Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen is a semi – rural unitary borough, with compact urban areas predominately but not exclusively located around the towns of Blackburn and Darwen. The area is surrounded by countryside and features a number of small rural villages and hamlets. Geographically the borough borders Bury and Bolton in the South, Chorley in the West, Hyndburn and Rossendale in the East and the Ribble Valley in the North.

The borough is well located with good transport and infrastructure links to the rest of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and beyond. In terms of rail links the towns of Blackburn and Darwen are both served by the Clitheroe to Manchester Victoria rail line with the town of Blackburn being also served by the York to Blackpool line. Rail statistics show that in 2015/16 the main station in the borough was Blackburn 1,277,930 entries and exits, ranking it 443rd in Great Britain. The boroughs road infrastructure too allows good connectivity, with the A666 providing an access corridor to Bolton, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and the Ribble Valley. Furthermore the borough also hosts three motorway junctions of the M65 which provides quick access to Preston, Burnley and the rest of Lancashire, the M61, the M66 and the M6. A range of statistical information, (including traffic flow data) is available on the Department for Transport website.

Political representation

The local authority area sits over two parliamentary constituencies, Rossendale and Darwen in the South and Blackburn in the North; in the 2017 general election they were returned Conservative and Labour respectively.

The borough comprises of 23 electoral wards which are served by 64 elected members. The borough operates a Leader and Executive model of governance and currently the Labour group leads and fills all seats on the authority’s executive board.

It should be noted however that the borough’s electoral arrangements are currently under review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, with new wards due to be elected to in an ‘all out’ election in May 2018.

Aside from the borough council the area is also home to six parish councils and these are:

Parish and ward data can be found using the ONS and Nomis Local Area Report tool.

People and demography

In 2016 the population was 147,000, making it the largest borough in Lancashire. The majority of the boroughs residents (in the region of 140, 000 people) live in the towns of Blackburn and Darwen with the remaining residents living in the rural villages and hamlets (Hoddlesden, Edgworth, Belmont, Chapel Town and Tockholes) that surround the two major urban centres. Ward level figures are produced and can be used to estimate the population size of areas within the borough.

The borough as a whole has a relatively young age profile. It has a higher than average proportion of young people (0-19) compared to the national figure and conversely, a smaller proportion of older people (65 and over). The latest population estimates and projections can also be downloaded online.

As a multicultural borough, the area is home to many people with diverse ethnicities and identities. Census 2011 suggested that within Blackburn with Darwen 66% of people identified themselves as White British, 28% as Asian / Asian British and 0.6% Black/African/Caribbean/Black British. Within the majority of non – white residents, most people identified themselves as either; Asian/Asian British: Indian (13%) or Asian/ Asian British: Pakistani (12%). However census data also shows that the borough is also home to people who identify as Bangladeshi, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Arab and people of multiple ethnicities.


Blackburn with Darwen has areas of predominantly terraced properties and over half the housing stock falls into the lowest council tax band A. Such housing is mainly found in the urban towns of Blackburn and Darwen. In contrast, areas to the north of the borough and the villages located in the countryside to the south are significantly more affluent providing a variety of more exclusive rural accommodation.

In total there are around 60,600 homes within the borough and in the region of 5% of these lay empty.

The UK House Price Index shows that on average, house prices in Blackburn with Darwen are below regional and national averages. However owing to the prevailing geography of the area and the differing styles of home available some homes can be bought quite cheaply compared to national trends whilst larger and more bespoke accommodation often matches regional levels, especially within the rural areas. Small area figures are also available, which give further breakdowns such as by housing type.

In terms of social housing the borough council currently holds no housing stock and like other Pennine Lancashire authorities the housing association, Together Housing, manages the majority of the local social housing portfolio.

Business and economy

With over 4,500 businesses, the borough contributes about 9% of the Lancashire business base and is home to the largest number of businesses of the Pennie Lancashire authorities. A range of sectors operate in the borough, with the five main areas, making up over half of businesses in the borough, being: retail, professional scientific and technical services, manufacturing, construction and business administration and support services.

In addition to the large public sector local government and health sector employers, there are a number of large private sectors businesses operating from the borough. Using local knowledge to identify such businesses, these include; Crown Paints, WEC and John Lewis supplier Herbert Parkinson, Graham and Brown wall coverings, Promethean and Euro Garages.   

There are in the region of 66,000 employee jobs in Blackburn with Darwen. Over two thirds of jobs in the borough are found in the main sectors of; health, manufacturing, education, retail, business administration and support services and professional, scientific and technical services. Despite a national decline the borough still retains a higher than average level of employment in the manufacturing sector. Although the majority of employee jobs in the borough are found within the in the private sector, employment within the public sector is above regional and national averages.

The borough has an entrepreneurial culture, with a business start-up rate higher than Lancashire as a whole and a greater proportion of higher turnover business than the Lancashire average.

Labour force

The labour market characteristics of working age residents in the borough show proportions greater than the national average of people classed as economically inactive. Of these, the borough has a larger proportion described as ‘looking after home and family’.
For people classed as economically active, employment levels for both males and females are below the national and regional averages. Overall unemployment rates, are higher in the borough.

Earnings levels are available as workplace and resident based figures. Workplace based wages for the borough appear consistently at a higher level than resident based wages. People who work in the borough, have on average, higher earnings than those who live in the borough. This may suggest that people commute into the borough for some of the better paid jobs, rather than these being taken by residents.

Resident qualification levels at NVQ4 and above remain below the national and regional averages, despite showing a gradual increase over time, and this correlates with the low number of graduate opportunities currently available within the borough. The proportion of residents with no qualifications remains above regional and national averages but has fallen in recent years.

Within the boroughs secondary schools, Progress 8 attainment is above the English average and the majority of schools have been reported good or outstanding by Ofsted in recent years, with a local target of all schools being rated good or outstanding by 2020 being set by the borough’s Local Strategic Partnership.  

Crime and community safety

Police recorded crime statistics show that ‘criminal damage and arson’, ‘violence without injury’, ‘violence with injury’, ‘theft offences’ and ‘vehicle offences’ are the largest categories of recorded crime in the borough.

Overall the recorded crime rate in the borough tends to be higher than the Lancashire average, but lower than the other large Lancashire urban conurbations of Preston and Blackpool.

There is however significant variation within the borough itself, with the lowest crime levels tending to be found in the rural areas of the borough and some of the highest levels in central Blackburn.

Health and wellbeing

In terms of depravation the Department for Communities and Local Government published Index of Multiple deprivation indicates that some area of Blackburn are in the top 10% deprived but the variation in depravation fluctuates as some communities, especially those within rural areas are amongst the least deprived.

Blackburn with Darwen is a relatively deprived borough, and the health of people in the borough lags behind the England average on a range of indicators. Life expectancy rates for the borough remain below national levels.

Within Blackburn with Darwen itself, there are considerable differences in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of the borough

A comprehensive summary of health and wellbeing issues facing residents of the borough can be found in the Integrated Strategic Needs Assessment and the Public Health Annual Report.


Contact details

Mail Engagement, Research and Intelligence, 6th Floor, 10 Duke Street, Blackburn, BB2 1DH
Phone Number(s) 01254 585585
Fax Number(s)  
E-mail research@blackburn.gov.uk
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