The north of Britain now officially starts in Leicestershire, according to a new study.
The UK’s population centre has moved from Upper Midway in Derbyshire to Snarestone in Leicestershire, experts at Liverpool University have said.
The shift is due to an increasing number of people moving south east for better employment opportunities, they added.
Areas around London and the south east have seen a constant increase in population between 1971 and 2011, researchers said.
However, large northern cities, including Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow, have seen more people leave according to five Censuses carried out over 40 years.
The study, coordinated by PopChange, used the population data gathered to identify the UK’s most densely populated areas – and pinpoint the boundary for the north-south divide.
All of these areas were in London, with the most densely populated area being Westminster, followed by Earls Court.
Outside of London the most densely populated area over this period was Spinney Hills in Leicester.
Chris Lloyd, Professor of Quantitative Geography at the University of Liverpool’s, who led the project, said: “Our study of population changes in Britain finds that the population centre for each Census has moved steadily further south from Upper Midway in Derbyshire to Snarestone in Leicestershire, as the population of the country has shifted towards the South East.
“This reflects a north-south divide in population growth, with more rapid growth in London and the south east of England than elsewhere.
“However, we also discovered that many heavily populated urban areas that had experienced very large population decreases during the 1970s have largely recovered, particularly since 2001, and are now back at, or exceed, the levels they were at in 1971.
“This urban growth links to opportunities, such as in employment, but also to challenges such as increasing overcrowding seen in outer London and other urban areas.”