Highest number of UK Durham students come from London

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Data obtained by Palatinate via Freedom of Information request shows that, on average, the British county which sends the highest number of students to Durham each year is London.

Between the 2017-18 and 2021-22 academic years an average of 1409 home-fee status students enrolled at the University came from London, closely followed by Surrey which averaged at 906.

Counties in the north of the country also figured highly, with an average of 915 students from County Durham, 577 from North Yorkshire and 563 from Lancashire and Greater Manchester combined.

However, it’s worth noting that these raw figures do not take account of the population size of each region. Palatinate has estimated the student-age population from government data on numbers of primary school pupils from 2012. Based on these calculations, the North East sends the highest proportion of students to Durham. The North East is followed by the South East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and East Anglia. The number of students per capita from London was comparable to the South-West.

Among international students, by far the most common country of residence is China with an average of 2514 students per year. Hong Kong sends a further 448 students per year, and behind them, the USA sends 284 and India sends 187.

Durham was recently named the 26th most international university by Times Higher Education. The University said in response that they “actively recruit students in over 70 countries” and that they are “very proud to have staff and students from more than 150 countries.”

Commenting on Palatinate’s findings, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global), Professor Claire O’Malley, said: “We strive to ensure we have a diverse and inclusive student community. We want students from all backgrounds with the merit and potential to succeed here at the University.

“Our students come from over 150 countries and all regions of the UK. We run a number of successful schemes aimed at widening participation, and our latest Access and Participation Plan is by far the boldest yet. We actively encourage students from a broad range of backgrounds and domiciles to apply to Durham, including those who are from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education.

"However, we are not complacent and we are constantly making improvements to our admissions and support system for all students, and especially for those who are underrepresented at Durham University.”

The University has launched a variety of scholarships for students in the North East region, and has recently announced a scholarship for students from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam.

One thought on “Highest number of UK Durham students come from London

  • The headline of this article is somewhat misleading. While objectively true, the number of students per 100,000 population from London is 15.8, which is actually below average and a LOT below the 105.5 from County Durham (unsurprisingly) and the 76.1 per 100,000 from Surrey (also probably no huge surprise). In fact, 10.8% of English Durham students are from London, wheras London makes up 15.9% of England’s population.

    On the flipside, there are only 8.0 students per 100,000 residents from the West Midlands, representing only 1.79% of English students despite representing 5.2% of England’s population.

    Looking at other trends, it’s notable that the far South West (due to geographic reasons) is underrepresented, and so are most major urban areas (West Mids, Merseyside, South Yorks), likely due to socioeconomic reasons. There’s a lot of intersting analysis that could be done here…

    And yes I’ve only looked at England – most domestic students are English (for geographic/financial reasons) so it’s a more interesting data set.


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