Population and the Growth of Towns

  • Ken Powell
  • Chris Cook
Part of the Palgrave Historical and Political Facts book series (PHPF)


Population estimates for the sixteenth century are, in an age before national censuses were taken, by their very nature incomplete. The best estimate puts England’s population at 2.3 million in 1522– 35, 2·8 million in 1545, and 3·75 million in 1603.1 Wales’ population hovered around 250,000 in 15002 and probably increased little in the succeeding century. Scotland had a population of c.750,000 in 1500 but it grew to 850,000 by the end of the Tudor period.3 Ireland’s population, because of the paucity of the records, is the most difficult of all to calculate. The best estimate puts it at little more than half a million by 1603.4


Sixteenth Century National Census Major Town Henry VIII Leading Provincial 
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© Ken Powell and Chris Cook 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Powell
  • Chris Cook

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