City council leader Marco Cereste believes the population of Peterborough is much higher than the 183,600 stated in the 2011 Census.
Huge levels of migration have been highlighted as the main reason why Peterborough local authority area saw the ninth largest population rise between 2001 and 2011 in England and Wales.
The number of people living in the area rose to 183,600 as of March 2011, a 16.6 per cent rise on the 157,400 reported in the 2001 Census.
Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste has said the council will look to use these figures as a springboard to lobby the Government for funding to cope with the rapid growth.
However, he added: “Based on NHS registration figures I was expecting the Census to show a population of between 196,000 and 200,000.
“Either way this should mean we get funding for another 26,000 people in our funding formula which has got to be good news for our city. For years now I’ve banged on about having more money to reflect the growth this city has seen.”
Figures from NHS Peterborough do suggest that the population in Peterborough may be larger than the Census suggests, with currently more than 180,500 people registered with GPs in the area, with an unknown number unregistered.
This figure however does include those from outside the local authority area, for example those who live in Yaxley or the Deepings, who are registered with a GP in Peterborough.
The Office for National Statistics has said the data provided by the Census is reliable.
Spokesman Bryan Walker said: “The methods for producing the Census estimates have been thoroughly reviewed and the estimates themselves have been extensively quality assured against a number of different data sources, including information provided by local authorities.
“However, we are happy to discuss the results with any local authority that may have questions about their area.”
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson thinks the population boom should see the city receive extra government funding to cope with the influx of migrants over the past 10 years.
He said: “I think the Department for Communities and Local Government needs to look at the impact of migration on a small number of local authorities where there have been significant increases in population and feed that into their formula grants.”
See also the Guardian Data blog’s interactive map: Census 2011
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