In 2018 the population was 148,900, making it the largest borough in the wider Lancashire area. The majority of the boroughs residents (in the region of 142, 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. Small area population figures can be used to estimate the population size of areas within the borough, with this it is suggested that c. 115,500 people live within Blackburn, c. 27,200 people live within the Darwen Town Council area and c.6,200 people live rurally.

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.


In terms of deprivation the Department for Communities and Local Government published Index of Multiple Deprivation indicates that some area of Blackburn are in the top 10% most deprived in England but the variation in deprivation 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 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and the Public Health Annual Report.


Resident qualification levels at NVQ4 and above remain below the national and regional averages, despite showing a gradual increase over time. 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 percentage gaining grade 5 or above in English and maths GCSEs is on a par with the average for English state funded schools. The majority of the borough’s schools have been reported good or outstanding by Ofsted in recent years.