The changing pattern of population densities in England and Wales is examined, particularly from the point of view of the likely effect on the national level of car ownership. Areas having the highest densities have been losing population at an increasing rate since 1911, and the greatest rates of increase have been in areas of medium density. The 'pivotal density' above which population has on average been decreasing has fallen steadily from 204 persons per hectare in 1911-21 to 23 persons per hectare in 1971-81. It is estimated that if present trends continue over the period 1981-2011 the redistribution of population will result in a 7 per cent increase in the national level of car ownership per person, or 6 per cent if allowance is made for the expected small increase in total population. In 1961-71 there was a tendency for areas closer to motorways to have larger increases in population when the effect of density was allowed for; little or no such tendency was found in 1971-81. (A)

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