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North Yorkshire covers seven district council areas, the largest of which are Harrogate (157,000 population) and Scarborough (107,900 population). Population increase has occurred in most districts of North Yorkshire since 2011, though Harrogate, Richmondshire and Scarborough have seen small decreases in resident numbers. Growth has been highest in Selby district, with an increase of 2.9% between 2011 and the mid-2015 population estimates. Ryedale has seen the second highest rate of increase at 2.2%. The decrease in population in Richmondshire, and to some extent that in Harrogate, has been due to discrete and large scale military moves, with a major outmigration of military personnel and dependants during the implementation of the Army Basing Plan. More recent armed forces figures indicate that these changes have now been reversed.

The North Yorkshire population is composed of approximately 49% males and 51% females. This pattern is common across all districts with the exception of Richmondshire. Here the large military population results in a gender split of around 53% males and 47% females in the district population. There are more pronounced differences at small area level, in the area around Catterick Garrison in particular. The military population of Richmondshire also gives the district a larger proportion of people of working age than in other districts of North Yorkshire and a relatively small proportion of older people.

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