Metropolitan borough

type of local government district in England

A metropolitan borough (or metropolitan district) is a type of local government district in England and covers urban areas within metropolitan counties.

Metropolitan district
Also known as:
Metropolitan borough
CategoryLocal authority districts
Found inMetropolitan county
Created byLocal Government Act 1972
Created1 April 1974
Number36 (as of 2023)
Possible statusCity
Additional statusBorough
Populations0.1 - 1.1 million

Current metropolitan boroughs (post 1974)


The current metropolitan boroughs were created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 as subdivisions of the new metropolitan counties which were created to cover the six largest urban areas in England outside Greater London

The new authorities were actually defined by law as metropolitan districts, however all of them have borough status or city status. The new metropolitan boroughs replaced the county boroughs, municipal boroughs and urban and rural districts which existed before. The districts typically have populations of 174,000 to 1.1 million.

In 1986 the old metropolitan county councils were abolished by the Local Government Act 1985 and most of their functions were given to the boroughs, so they are to a large extent unitary authorities. Some of the functions of the abolished county councils were taken over by joint bodies such as Passenger Transport Authorities, and joint fire, police and waste disposal authorities.

The 36 current metropolitan boroughs are:

Metropolitan county Metropolitan districts Number County population
Merseyside Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral 5 1,365,000
Greater Manchester Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan 10 2,573,200
South Yorkshire Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham 4 1,290,000
Tyne and Wear Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland 5 1,299,000
West Midlands Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton 7 2,916,458
West Yorkshire Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield 5 2,161,200