About Liverpool

Liverpool’s history

Liverpool is a world city with a fascinating history, an instantly recognisable waterfront, strong architectural heritage, many famous sons and daughters and a tradition of getting there first.

An exciting, mercurial city, its fortunes have changed with the tides that ebb and flow in the River Mersey. Its position at the hub of world trade made it a cosmopolitan place with a unique accent: a city of humour and music.

People have flowed through Liverpool – sailors from every port on the globe, countless refugees seeking a better life in the New World or elsewhere. They all left their mark on the city’s culture.

Liverpool has a valuable legacy from its past history. Its riverfront, restored docks and elegant buildings attract millions of visitors. The world still arrives here - to follow the Beatles trail, to watch football and horse racing, to visit a city with a place in so many family histories. It has survived its changing fortunes to rise again to become a premier European city that is still a gateway to the world.

Economy and regeneration

Over the last decade Liverpool has undergone a remarkable renaissance supported by £4billion investment from local and central government, Europe and the private sector. There have been a huge number of significant large scale developments in the city centre stimulating record economic growth and business confidence.

Despite the difficult economic climate and the recession this transformation continues. Liverpool has secured a City Deal that will create a single capital pot of public and private funds, initially worth £130million but with the potential to grow to up to £1billion. It will be invested in delivering new schools and homes and creating jobs. The elected Mayor of Liverpool, the first elected Mayor in England outside of London, has established five Mayoral Development Zones which will operate alongside two Enterprise Zones and will incentivise businesses to set up in Liverpool and encourage existing businesses to grow. A new approach to welfare reform is also being developed including investment in specific skills to match jobs and get more people off benefits and into work.

Liverpool is a global, outward looking city with strong international relationships and connections. Liverpool is a brand that is known throughout the world. The city has spearheaded trade and commercial relationships with China and was the only UK city to be represented at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 leading to £6.5m of investment during the following year. Following this success, Liverpool opened a business ‘embassy’ in London to promote the city’s commercial and business offer and help secure investment. Liverpool also hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Europe and was ranked in the top 25 Euro cities for inward investment according to FGI (FT).

In the summers of 2014 and 2016 Liverpool hosted the International Festival of Business, a key part of the Government’s priority to rebalance the UK economy, promoting strong, sustainable and balanced growth and fostering prosperity in all parts of the country. The government has made a strong commitment to the delivery of the event and it is hope it will be held again in 2018 and 2020. The Festival includes themed weeks showcasing vibrant growth sectors alongside inspirational presentations and speeches from international visitors of note. A cultural programme runs alongside the festival with major events to attract tourists and promote the North of England’s compelling visitor offer. The festival straddles the River Mersey across three key venues at Liverpool’s waterfront, North Liverpool and at Wirral International Trade Centre.

The Port of Liverpool is the largest Freeport Zone in the UK, and the top UK port for trade with North America. Recent investment in the port has further expanded capacity making Liverpool a major European gateway for Post-Panamax vessels from China and Asia.

Liverpool is at the centre of a City Region of 1.5 million people with 590,000 jobs and over 43,000 businesses generating over £28 billion GVA. Liverpool’s contribution to this is 478,600 people, 235,700 jobs, 14,200 businesses and £10 billion of GVA.

The strength of Liverpool’s economy is evidenced by the calibre of companies it attracts. Sony, Jaguar Land Rover and Grosvenor are all major investors in Liverpool. Liverpool is internationally recognised for its expertise and track record in wealth management and is home to Coutts, Deutsche Bank, Rathbones and Investec Wealth and Investment. Companies manage assets in excess of £12billion, more than any other UK city outside London. Major corporate and government occupiers that have been attracted to Liverpool in recent years including Barclays Bank, UK Borders Agency, Hill Dickinson, DWF, UK Passport, Unisys and Bank of Scotland.

Liverpool’s reputation for advanced manufacturing and the automotive industry is sustained by leading world-renowned brands like Jaguar Land Rover. Leading models like the Freelander and the trail­blazing Range Rover Evoque are manufactured here, reflecting the high levels of skills, productivity and cost advantages offered in Liverpool.

Liverpool is a leading European centre for pharmaceuticals and bio-sciences with world-class research institutions and leading international companies Novartis, Eli Lilly, Unilever and Bristol Myers Squibb. Liverpool’s Science Park is the second fastest growing in the country and the world’s first School of Tropical Medicine was opened in Liverpool leading worldwide research into diseases. Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter contains a remarkable concentration of outstanding research, teaching, technology transfer and commercial assets.

The city also has strengths in gaming, software, creative and digital. The Baltic Creative Community Interest Company owns and manages a number of imaginatively restored buildings within the historic Baltic Triangle area in Liverpool and has achieved recognition as a model for successful growth and collaboration.

Three top class universities provide access for 50,000 students from more than 100 countries and there are strong connections between the universities and the business community, with an emphasis on knowledge transfer, training and research.

Although there has been significant job growth in recent years and the city has weathered the recession comparatively well, Liverpool faces significant challenges and is highly vulnerable to the condition of the global economy and the national deficit reduction programme, particularly through public sector job losses and the impact of welfare cuts.

Liverpool business density and start up rates are significantly below the national average. 24% of jobs in the city are in the public sector compared to 18% nationally. Liverpool’s employment rate, at 60.4%, is below the national average of 73.6%. 13.6% of working age residents has no formal qualifications, well above the national average of 8.6%. Households in Liverpool earn on average more than £7,000 less than the national average and Liverpool has been amongst the hardest hit by recent cuts to welfare.

Liverpool’s population has stabilized and stands at 478,600 after years of decline. Efforts need to be focussed on growing private sector employment, increasing businesses, moving residents from welfare to work and improving qualifications.

Liverpool Vision is the city’s economic development company and was established at a critical stage in the city’s urban and economic renaissance. Liverpool and its city region work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and share the vision to create ‘a distinctive global city region’. The LEP is working to accelerate the rate of economic growth, improve productivity and rebalance the economy focussing on four priority sectors: visitor economy, knowledge economy, low carbon economy and super port. This is an exciting time in Liverpool and despite challenging economic conditions there is enormous potential for growth and to become a distinctive global city.

Alongside the Enterprise and Mayoral Development Zones, major future developments include Liverpool Waters, a £5.5billion redevelopment of 60 hectares of dockland over 30 years creating 20,000 jobs, 9,000 homes, commercial properties, hotels, shops and leisure facilities, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital £477m rebuild and investments in the Bio Campus and Bio Innovation Centre, University of Liverpool and the Knowledge Quarter.

The Liverpool Apprenticeship Programme will see one in five young people take up an apprenticeship by 2020. The Mayor has also pledged to create an innovative housing company to build 10,000 rent-to-buy homes to tackle inequality and affordability.

Our ambition is to make Liverpool the preferred choice for investment and job creation by exploiting Liverpool’s national and international profile and making the most of the vitality of our citizens; enhancing the infrastructure, encouraging business creation, growth and productivity; supporting research, innovation and enterprise; raising demand for a skilled and educated workforce and helping our residents to reach their full potential; promoting green industries and new generation technologies; ensuring the best physical and virtual connectivity; and improving the quality, range and choice of housing. This can only be realised with the right investment and policy tools; applied in the right way; together with the right kind of ambition, vision, single minded focus and effective partnership delivery.

Focused and consolidated approaches through the Mayor and the City Deal will help make this happen.

Culture and tourism

Liverpool is famous for its culture and is an increasingly popular tourist destination. It is ranked the UK’s 6th most visited destination for international visitors, it is a UNESCO World Heritage City, has been voted the UK’s friendliest city by the readers of Conde Nast Traveller and is 3rd only to London and Edinburgh as the UK's favourite tourist destination according to Tripadvisor. The tourism industry employs over 50,000 people and is worth £4billion to the local economy.

Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008 are widely recognised as being the most successful ever, boosting the local tourism economy by £800m leading to £1bn investment, 14,000 jobs and attracting three million first time visitors to more than 7,000 events. In 2012 the internationally acclaimed Sea Odyssey production used 2008 legacy funds to create a 23-mile-long three day street theatre that attracted 800,000 people and generated £32m. Since then, we’ve never been far from the spotlight and over the last five years Culture Liverpool, Liverpool City Council’s cultural service, has continued to build on its world class reputation, using culture as the driving force for the regeneration of the whole city.

Architecturally described as one of England’s most beautiful cities, Liverpool has 26 Grade I, 85 Grade II* and more than 2,300 Grade II listed buildings including the Anglican and Roman Catholic Cathedrals, the Town Hall, and National Museums Liverpool. St George’s Hall, recognised as the UK’s best example of neo-classical architecture houses arguably the finest Victorian Concert Room in the UK. Liverpool’s famous World Heritage waterfront has the ‘Three Graces’ (Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings) and the Albert Dock with the Tate Gallery, Maritime Museum and the more recent Museum of Liverpool, the first new national museum to be built in over a century.

The English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks describes the region’s Victorian parks as the “most important in the country”. Liverpool has 70 designated parks, 4 of which have Green Flag status, and is one of the greenest cities in the UK.

Liverpool has more national museums and galleries than any other city outside London, including the Tate, Walker, Bluecoat and the Museum of Liverpool which celebrated one million visitors after only nine months of opening in 2011. All have world class collections and active exhibition programmes.

Liverpool is the most filmed city outside London, in 2015, 257 film and TV projects came to the city, resulting in 1,067 filming days and bringing in £11.5million to the local economy, a 50% increase on the previous year. With productions such as Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Captain America and Peaky Blinders filmed in the City supported by our Film Office.

The FACT centre in Liverpool is the UK’s only exhibition and performance space for film, video and digital art. Liverpool-based writers have made a major impact on TV, film and stage and the city’s theatres, such as the Everyman, Playhouse, Unity and the Empire, stage high quality local and touring productions. The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, backed by Sir Paul McCartney, continues to supply the best in performing talent. 

Liverpool is world famous for music and there are numerous live events and music festivals staged throughout the year from Sound City to the Liverpool International Music Festival, from Africa Oye to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Vasily Petrenko, is the UK’s oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra and has been at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural life since 1840. Liverpool Sound City is the annual contemporary music festival and conference and brings the best new music to a wide variety of venues, attracting industry professionals and music lovers from across the world. The Liverpool Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art is the largest international contemporary art festival in the United Kingdom. For ten weeks, every two years, the city hosts an extensive range of artworks, projects, and a programme of events. The biennial commissions leading and emerging artists to make and present permanent and temporary public artworks, as well as long-term community-based projects.

The city has a vibrant night scene with numerous clubs, restaurants, cafes and bars with 50,000 students adding to the city’s famous welcoming vibe. Liverpool has also been awarded the top award in Purple Flag accreditation and is regarded as one of the safest city centres in the country.

Liverpool is a world famous sporting city. Two Premiership football clubs, Liverpool and Everton, have a record 27 league titles between them. The world famous Grand National runs every year and the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament plays host to world-class players every year. The region hosts one of the finest stretches of world championship golf courses, with no fewer than three Royal Links courses hosting numerous Open Champions and Ryder Cups. Liverpool is also host to numerous other annual high profile sporting events including the Liverpool Triathlon, Rock and Roll Marathon and the annual Women’s 10k race.

Liverpool has award winning retail centres and is 5th in the UK’s retail rankings. Liverpool ONE comprises 1.65 million sq ft. of shopping and leisure with 160 shops from John Lewis to Apple and Topshop to Cath Kidson, more than 20 bars and restaurants including Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White, a 14-screen cinema and five-acre park. Designer boutiques in Cavern Walks and the Met Quarter house Vivienne Westwood, Cricket, Jo Malone and other more select beauty and fashion outlets.

The Arena and Convention Centre plays host to a string of high profile events including the MTV music awards, Labour Party conference, MOBOs and BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The number of conferences has increased fourfold over the last year and a £40million exhibition centre was completed in 2016 which enables Liverpool to attract events such as the Ideal Home Exhibition.

A large number of new hotels have opened in the City Centre in recent years, providing more than 6,300 bedrooms and well over 2,000 jobs, and in 2015 over 1.8 million room nights were sold.

Major developments have taken place to refurbish the central library, Everyman, Playhouse and Royal Court Theatres and the Royal Philharmonic Hall.

Since the cruise liner terminal opened in 2007 the world’s biggest cruiser liners have come to the Mersey including the new Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2. Liverpool Cruise Terminal will play host to 64 ships in 2016 – ten more than in 2015 – bringing in more than 85,000 passengers. Liverpool’s cruise industry brought in around £7 million to the local economy in 2015 as the city welcomed 81,000 visitors and 37,000 crew. Plans for a new and improved terminal facility are being explored to further increase the 21 vessels that will use Liverpool’s turnaround facilities in 2016. Average house prices in Liverpool are lower than in other cities in the UK and there are a variety of properties on offer from city centre living to leafy suburbs.

This all proves that Liverpool is a great place to live and visit and that culture is central to Liverpool being a distinctive global city but Liverpool is also minutes from the beach and an hour from the mountains. Four National Parks – Snowdonia, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District – are within easy reach of the city as are miles of open beaches along the Merseyside coastline.

Liverpool’s land and communications

Liverpool covers over 112 square kilometres and 25% of the city is designated green space in the unitary development plan.

The city is well served by motorways. The M62 provides links to Manchester, Leeds and Hull, the M62 and M58 provide links to the M6 and the M53 provides access to Chester and North Wales through the Mersey Tunnel. Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester International Airport are within easy reach and the rail network provides speedy connections with the rest of the country, including London (2hrs 01min) and Manchester (48mins).

Liverpool has an excellent public transport network served by a metro style train system, buses and the ferry across the Mersey. The compact city centre is easy to navigate, even for first time visitors. Liverpool John Lennon Airport is situated 8 miles from Liverpool city centre and is one of the fastest growing airports in the UK. The airport provides access to 60 destinations across the UK and Europe.

Education in Liverpool

Liverpool offers excellent educational opportunities. The city has extensive early years provision, with numerous nurseries, children’s centres and registered child minders.

Liverpool is extremely well catered for with a variety of schools to choose from. The Liverpool Blue Coat School is one of the top performing schools nationally and has achieved the best GCSE and A-level results in the country. There are other schools with a long history of excellence, including Liverpool College and Belvedere Academy for Girls, alongside newer state-of-the-art schools and colleges that specialise in key growth sectors, such as the Studio School specialising in creative media, gaming and digital technology and Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, the first school in the UK specialising in Science and Health Care for 14 to 19 year olds. Over 80% of Liverpool’s primary schools and 100% of Liverpool’s special schools have been rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted. The Mayor of Liverpool’s School Investment programme has recently completed 17 new and refurbished schools, winning national awards, so that Liverpool’s young people have access to the best facilities and a modern learning environment.

Liverpool is truly a city of learning. The City of Liverpool College, one of the largest further education colleges in the country, offers a wide range of courses and vocational training programmes. Higher education opportunities can be found at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University.

Overall, there are almost 60,000 higher education students in the city. The city’s most recent educational establishment is the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). Founded by Sir Paul McCartney and opened in 1995, the institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as diplomas in all aspects of the performing arts.

All this is complemented by the Liverpool Adult Learning Service which offers opportunities for adults to develop basic skills, pursue interests or access further and higher education opportunities at venues across the city.

Liverpool’s health

Liverpool City Council works closely with its partners to improve the wellbeing and life expectancy of Liverpool citizens by targeting the underlying causes of ill health. These include innovative initiatives to tackle poor quality housing, unemployment and poverty, the environment, substance abuse and mental health.

The city also has a number of superb medical facilities, such as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Europe’s largest children’s hospital and an internationally renowned centre of excellence.

The period up to 2020 has been designated as The Decade of Health and Wellbeing.

Community life

Liverpool has large, rich and diverse community, voluntary and faith sectors, and a strong tradition of community involvement in regeneration schemes. Local initiatives, such as the Eldonian Village in Vauxhall, have helped bring new housing and employment to communities which were once deprived and across the City a wide range of Third Sector organisations are actively involved in supporting the delivery of the wider social and economic regeneration sector.

Liverpool’s diversity

Here are just a few facts about Liverpool’s diverse cultures and communities:

  • Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe. Chinese New Year is one of the highlights of the city’s events calendar, with thousands turning out to see dancing, tai chi demonstrations, firecracker performances and more.
  • DaDaFest is the largest celebration of Disability and Deaf art in England. It brings together international professionals and local talent to provide a diverse range of performances, visual art and poetry.
  • A ceremony to mark Holocaust Memorial Day is held every year in January.
  • An  International Slavery Museum opened in August 2007, the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. Events to mark Slavery Remembrance Day are held every August.
  • Black History Month is celebrated in October each year.
  • Homotopia gay, lesbian and transgender festival presents quality theatre, dance, music, cabaret, club nights, art, film and talkfests throughout November.
  • The Stanley Street Quarter was officially recognised as the city’s Gay Quarter by the Council in 2011 and the area is growing into a destination locally and nationally for people to live, work and enjoy;
  • Liverpool Pride is a weekend-long festival to celebrate LGBT culture held annually at the Pier Head and Stanley Street Gay Quarter in Liverpool City Centre. The event is held in commemoration of the death of Michael Causer, the young gay man who was murdered in the city in 2008, and has grown to become one of the largest free Gay Pride festivals in Europe.
  • Britain’s first mosque opened in Brougham Terrace in 1889.
  • Approximately 40% of Liverpool’s population can trace their Irish ancestry. The Liverpool Irish Festival gets bigger every year, with events spanning the spectrum of Irish culture.
  • Liverpool has an extensive programme of multicultural festivals. Africa Oye showcases the best in African music, while Liverpool Arabic Arts festival celebrates all aspects of Arabic culture. The Brouhaha festival involves a multicultural carnival parade with over 2,000 participants and Milapfest is a year round South Asian Arts festival.
  • Liverpool has a varied programme of disabled sport, including riding facilities for people with disabilities.
  • The Disabled Go website provides accessibility information for Liverpool residents on over 1,000 venues in the city, including council offices, shops and leisure facilities.
  • Liverpool has a rich cultural heritage and for generations has offered a home to people fleeing persecution from around the world. The Liverpool City of Sanctuary movement, started in 2012, seeks to unite those already working to support asylum seekers and refugees, and provide a simple platform for others to do the same.

Liverpool’s population

 Year Population
1900 685,000
1937 867,000
1961 745,000
1971 610,000
1981 510,000
1991 476,000
2001 441,900
2010 445,200
2015 478,600

(Source: Census and ONS Mid-year estimates)      


Total households 218,500 (2015) (Source: DCLG) Liverpool has 217,568 dwellings. Private 159,975 (73.5%) Registered Social Landlords 56,567 (26%)

(Source: DCLG & LCC 2014)           

Age structure 

Age %
0-4 5.9
5-15 10.9
16-25 18.3
26-35 15.9
36-50 18.4
51-64 15.9
65+ 14.6


Liverpool’s population by ethnicity

The 2011 census showed that 11.1% of the population were from black or minority ethnic groups.

Ethnicity %
White British and Irish 86.3
White: Other 1.4
Mixed 2.5
Asian: Indian 1.1
Asian: Pakistani 0.4
Asian: Bangladeshi 0.2
Asian: Other 0.7
Black: Caribbean 0.3
Black: African 1.8
Black: Other 0.5
Chinese 1.7
Arab 1.2
Other 0.6