West Yorkshire

Map of the West Yorkshire Area

Map of West Yorkshire

County Council

West Yorkshire

The landlocked metropolitan county of West Yorkshire was created in 1974, although its history can be traced back to prehistoric times. Situated in England's Yorkshire and the Humber region, the county is bordered by Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. It includes the five metropolitan boroughs of Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. According to the 2011 Census, the county is home to over 2.1 million people and has a population density of 1,044 people per square kilometre (2,700 people per square mile). West Yorkshire covers a total area of 2,029 square kilometres (783 square miles).

Much of West Yorkshire's history is tied to historic county of Yorkshire, which was largely centred around the former Roman town of York. The historic county's west became a centre for manufacturing in the United Kingdom, particularly cloth manufacturing. Traditional farm activities were increasingly replaced by weaving and tanning, as well as mining, metal working and other crafts from the 17th century. The county's history is also strongly linked to the development of Leeds, which grew in population and importance thanks to a strong woollen industry and the Industrial Revolution. With approximately 750,700 people, Leeds is the UK's second most populous district in the UK. Now a major financial and retail centre, the city's 21st century economy is largely driven by service sectors.

In addition to Leeds, major population centres in West Yorkshire include Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield. Like Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield grew in large part due to the region's woollen industry. Heavy industries dominated Wakefield, South Leeds, Castleford and Pontefract. Coal mining was also an economic driver in South Leeds and East Leeds, although most mining and heavy industry declined in the late 20th century. More recently, Wakefield has become a focus for service industries, including a large number of call centres. The region is also a major transportation hub thanks to the presence of the M1, M62 and A1(M) motorways, major mainline railway stations at Leeds and Wakefield, and Leeds Bradford International Airport. Major companies headquartered in West Yorkshire include Morrisons and Asda.


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