There are six metropolitan counties in England, which each cover large urban areas, typically with populations of 1.2 to 2.8 million. They were created in 1974 and are each divided into several metropolitan districts.
There are no county councils any more since 1986. Most of their functions were taken over by the individual boroughs. So the boroughs became unitary authorities. The remaining functions were taken over by so-called joint-boards.
The metropolitan counties have population densities of between 838 (South Yorkshire) and 28 (West Midlands) people/km². Individual metropolitan districts range from 4 people/km² in Liverpool to only 500 people/km² in Doncaster.
Counties and districts change
The six metropolitan counties and their metropolitan districts are:
The structure of Greater London is similar to the metropolitan counties, but it is not one. It was created earlier in 1965, by the London Government Act 1963. The idea for creating administrative areas based upon the large conurbations outside London based on the model of the County of London or Greater London.
The metropolitan counties were established by the Local Government Act 1972, the county councils were first elected in 1973, and were formally established in April 1974.
Since 1995, the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have come together in the English Core Cities Group. This organisation has no distinct legal status but seems to move towards a role of these cities as regional capitals outside of London.