Business population estimates

This series brings together all documents relating to Business population estimates


  1. Documents

The Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions (BPE) publication provides the only official estimate of the total number of private sector businesses in the UK at the start of each year, with their associated employment and turnover. This differs from other National Statistics outputs produced by the ONS because it provides an estimate of unregistered businesses in addition to the VAT traders and PAYE employers reported on by ONS. The ‘Guide to Business Statistics’, below, sets out the differences. It provides further information by number of employees, legal status, industry and geography.

Published editions

The publication has 3 main outputs. For headline summary information, refer to the statistical release, whilst for more detailed disaggregated data, you should use the detailed Excel data sheet. The ‘Methodology and Quality Note’ shows how the estimates are calculated, on the quality of the statistics and on changes to the methodology.

The latest data available relates to the start of 2013. Data for the start of 2014 will be published in October 2014. Future release dates will be pre-announced on the National Statistics Publication Hub.

We published the 2013 edition of Business Population Estimates for the UK and regions on 23 October 2013.


The government first released business population estimates for the UK and regions in 2011, following a public consultation and methodological review. The BPE publication uses an improved methodology, which had an impact on the estimate of the number of businesses in the UK. It is therefore not directly comparable with estimates from previous editions of Small and medium-sized enterprises for the UK and regions.

To address the break in the series that these methodological improvements introduced, the BPE publication now contains a time-series of headline level estimates of the number of businesses in the UK back to 2000, using a consistent methodology throughout. As in previous years information in the latest BPE edition revises and supersedes previously published estimates in this series of the total number of businesses since 2000.

The Economic and labour market review, published in April 2011, provides further details on how the methodological improvements affected the series.

Tell us your opinion of the Business population estimates

We would like to keep our publication as relevant and useful as possible. Therefore, we are carrying out a survey to collect information on users’ experience of Business population estimates for the UK and regions.

Visit our BIS Business Population Estimates User Survey to tell us your opinion.


  1. UK Statistics Authority assessment of the Business Population Estimates

    • 31 October 2012
    • Statistics - national statistics
  2. User engagement and the business population estimates

    • 7 October 2013
    • Statistics - national statistics
  3. Guide to business statistics

    • 25 April 2012
    • Statistics - national statistics
  4. BIS: business population estimates 2010 to 2012

    • 19 December 2012
    • Statistics - national statistics
  5. Business population estimates 2013

    • 5 November 2013
    • Statistics - national statistics

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