THE population of Bolton is continuing to rise ­— but in one of the borough’s most desirable locations, people are steadily leaving.

While the borough has seen a 20 per cent rise in population since 2002, Bromley Cross has experienced a six per cent drop in the number of people living there.

While it seems strange that people are leaving a sought-after area and no one is coming in to fill the void, the reason is a simple one.

The shift has been out down to young people leaving the area for university and choosing to move elsewhere after graduating because of house prices, poor transport links and a desire for city centre living.

For those with jobs in Manchester, Salford or Cheshire, a daily commute on gridlocked motorways or packed train service has put them off staying in Bolton.

But once they have settled down and established careers and had families, many then return when they are older, attracted by family ties, as well as the low crime rates, leafy streets and excellent schools.

Their priorities change and they want the best for their families.

The shift has seen a rise in the average age of people living in north west Bolton from 40.8 to 45.7 between 2002 and 2017. The average age across Bolton is 38.8.

It is a sign of changing times. In the past, people shopped and went to school near where they live and teachers and shop staff lived round the corner from work.