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About Bradford's economy


  • Bradford is the 5th largest metropolitan authority in England with a growing population of 542,100.
  • 26.3% of the population are aged under 18 compared with 21.4% nationally making Bradford the youngest city in the UK.
  • Bradford has a diverse population with ethnic minorities making up 36% of the total population. There are 160 languages spoken by children attending schools in the district.

Read the latest statistics on the population of Bradford District.


  • Bradford is a big economy worth £11.6bn and is the tenth largest city economy in England. It is the third largest economy in the Yorkshire and Humber region after Leeds and Sheffield.
  • Bradford’s economy grew by 16% over the five years to 2019.
  • Bradford is home to over 16,000 businesses employing around 250,000 people across the UK with a combined turnover of over £30 billion.
  • The district has a number of large headquarters including the grocery giant Morrisons, Yorkshire Water, Hallmark Cards, Arris and Yorkshire Building Society.
  • It has been identified as the best place in Britain to start a business, as ranked by Barclays Bank SME Growth Factors Index and we were listed as one of the top 20 cities for business growth by the Sunday Times in 2020.
  • Sector strengths include advanced engineering, chemicals, automotive components and food manufacture alongside financial services and digital technologies.
  • Bradford has 1,200 manufacturing businesses employing 24,000 people – 12 per cent of all employment compared to just 8% nationally and the 5th highest of any city in the UK after London, Birmingham, Derby and Leeds.
  • Our thriving digital sector already includes 800 businesses employing 3,500 people.

Economic Strategy

Bradford Economic Partnership has an Economic Strategy (PDF) for Bradford district that focuses on identifying the actions that will bring the most benefit to Bradford’s economy.

Following an inclusive consultation process, Bradford’s Economic Recovery Board has developed an ambitious new plan to support the district’s recovery from Covid-19.

The Bradford District’s Economic Recovery Plan sets out how partners will sustain jobs and boost productivity whilst building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient local economy.

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