THE population of St Helens has shrunk, according to census figures published last week.
Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the local population decreased from 177,000 to 175,000 between 2001 and 2011.
In neighbouring Knowsley, though, the drop was even more significant - with the authority rated as having the second biggest percentage population decline in the whole of England and Wales.
A drop from 151,000 to 146,000 in the same period marked a 3.5 per cent reduction.
Elsewhere across the region, the population has generally been on the up - with 7.1m people now living in the North West, compared to 6.7m in 2001.
In the other neighbouring boroughs of Wigan and Warrington, the population swelled.
Wigan’s population rose by 5.4 per cent to 318,000, while Warrington increased by 5.8 per cent to 202,000.
National statistician Jil Matheson said: “The 2011 Census was carried out on 27 March 2011, and the information from it will make an essential contribution to public policy and service provision, and will form the basis for key decisions, in both the public and private sectors over the next ten years.”