All About Lichfield
In 1327 there were 108 people in Lichfield assessed for tax amounting to £8 2s. 6d. The number assessed was the highest in the county, but Stafford, with an assessed population of 77, had the higher assessment of £11. Lichfield had 1,024 people assessed for poll tax in 1377. In 1525 there were 391 people liable for tax, while 286 appeared on a muster roll of 1539. In 1563 there were stated to be 400 households in the city. Over 1,100 people died during an outbreak of plague in 1593.
The Protestation Returns of 1642 listed 706 men. Most were grouped by ward, with 89 in Beacon Street, 116 in Bird Street and Sandford Street, 75 in Saddler (otherwise Market) Street, 60 in Conduit Street and Dam Street, 62 in Bore Street, 46 in St. John Street, 28 in Wade Street, 62 in Tamworth Street, 71 in Stowe Street, and 61 in Greenhill.
During a further outbreak of plague in 1645–7 there were at least 801 deaths. In 1664 there were 296 householders assessed for hearth tax, with a further 242 too poor to pay. The figures do not include the inhabitants of the Close, where 35 people were assessed in 1666. The detailed census made in 1695 by Gregory King (1648–1712), a native of Lichfield and a pioneer English statistician, recorded 2,833 people in the town and 205 in the Close. The figures given by John Snape in 1781 were respectively 3,555 and 216.
Between 1801 and 1901 Lichfield's population rose from 4,842 to 7,902. In the city centre, covered by St. Mary's parish, there was a decline at the end of the century; from 2,422 in 1801 and 2,382 in 1811, the population had risen to 2,832 by 1881 but had dropped to 2,281 by 1901. The population of the Close rose, with some fluctuation, from 200 in 1801 to 249 in 1901. That of the north part of the city, covered by St. Chad's parish, nearly doubled, from 1,183 in 1801 to 2,057 in 1901, though there was some fluctuation after 1851, with a peak of 2,205 in 1881.
The biggest growth was in the south, in St. Michael's parish, where the population tripled from 1,037 to 3,308. The decline in the north and centre after 1881 and a slowing then in the rate of growth in the south were largely the result of the closing of two foundries, a brewery, and a barracks.
During the 20th century the population has more than tripled. It had reached 8,616 by 1911, and although dropping to 8,393 by 1921, it had risen to 8,507 by 1931. It was 10,619 in 1951, 14,087 in 1961, and 22,660 in 1971. In 1987 it was estimated as 28,310.