Historical Cornwall Population Statistics
Historical population of Cornwall from 1570 to 2021
- Population values from 1570 to 1791 are those estimated by John Rickman. Rickman based his estimates on the annual totals of baptisms, burials, and marriages collected in the 1801 census. Annual totals were asked for various years in the eighteenth century. These estimates were published in 1802. In 1836 he asked incumbents for annual totals for three-year periods for 1570, 1600, 1630, 1670, 1700, and 1750 and estimates were published for these years in 1842.
- Values for the census years of 1801 to 2021 are from the census.
- Recent values for non-census years are estimates from the Office of National Statistics
Earlier population estimates
- 1086: 29,532 (from Domesday book)
- 1290: 34,914 (from Lay subsidy)
- 1348: 108,000 (estimated peak population immediately prior to the Black Death)
- 1377: 61,964 (from Poll tax)
- 1520: 64,000
England's repopulation after the Little Ice Age started around 9,000 BC from immigrants from the continent. Population peaked during the Roman period and declined after the Romans left.
In the Domesday Book of 1086 there are about 1,700 villeins, 2,400 bordars, and 1,100 serfs, 7 tenants-in-chief, 97 sub-tenants, clergy, a few half-freemen, resulting in a total of about 5,700 males from which a total population of about 29,532 is derived.
The population grew during the Middle Ages Warm Period. A period of abnormally warm weather from ca950 to ca1250.
In 1204, the Cornish paid King John the sum of 2,200 marks to rid themselves of the hated Forest Law which had preserved a great part of the county as a royal hunting ground. New tracts of land were hence freed for reclamation. Hundreds of new farms came into existence. Population growth was interrupted by the Great Famine of 1315.
The population peaked in 1348 after which the population decreased by two thirds because of the Black Death. The Middle Ages Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age from ca1300 to ca1850.
During the early 1800's there was a devastating collapse in the Cornish economy resulting in a mass emigration called the Cornish Diaspora. About half of those who left Cornwall during this time period moved elsewhere within Britain and about half emigrated overseas. It is estimated that 250,000 Cornish migrated abroad between 1861 and 1901 with miners making up a large portion. The miners emigrated to mining areas in the United States, South American, South Africa, and Australia.
In the 1960's the migration pattern reversed and an ongoing migration from other parts of England continues up to the present day.
It is estimated that there are approximately six million persons worldwide with Cornish ancestry of which fewer than 10% live in Cornwall.
- Most common historical Cornish names
- 2011 Cornwall Census Overview
- Demography of Cornwall
- Current Cornwall population statistics
- Discussion of historical population changes since 1801
- English County Populations in the Later Eighteenth Century
- Cornish in Latin America
- The Great Emigration
There are numerous websites where you can view census transcriptions. The highest quality transcription is likely that done by FreeCen. (1841 - 1891 coverage only)
Historical number of marriages in Cornwall
Historical number of births in Cornwall
Historical number of deaths in Cornwall
Natural population growth of Cornwall
Net Migration to Cornwall
The most common occupations in Cornwall between 1813 to 1899
List of Old English occupations.