Greenwich and Dartford are among the London boroughs to have seen its population increase by over a quarter since 2001, new official figures show.

New statistics also show that London's population is growing at its slowest rate in 15 years because of a rise in people moving abroad and a continuing exodus to other parts of the country.

The Office for National Statistics said that the capital’s population in the middle of last year stood at 8,961,989, only fractionally short of the landmark total of nine million, a rise of only 54,000.

Some 23 areas of the UK have seen at least a 25% rise in population, with London boroughs making up seven of the top 10 areas with largest increase in the last 20 years.

The figures, published by the ONS to show the change in estimated population for local authority areas, show the biggest leaps occurred in Tower Hamlets (61.5%) and Newham (41.6%).

But the Royal Borough of Greenwich has come in at seventh on the new list after seeing a population increase of 32.4% since 2001.

Also in the south east of London bordering into Kent, Dartford has seen a rise of 31%, making it the 11th highest growing region in the UK.

Outside London, the largest rise has been in Corby in Northamptonshire, where the population has gone up by 35.2%.

Other areas outside the capital with big leaps include Uttlesford in Essex (up 32.4%), South Derbyshire (31.2%) and Dartford in Kent (31.0%).

The 23 areas with increases above 25% are all in England.

Mid-Ulster saw the biggest percentage rise in Northern Ireland (up by 24.7%), while in Scotland it was East Lothian (up 18.8%) and in Wales it was Cardiff (up 18.3%).

However, not everywhere has seen a growth in population since 2001, with 18 local authority areas showing a decrease.

The largest fall was in Inverclyde in Scotland, where the population is estimated to have dropped by 7.5%.

Three other areas in Scotland have seen a fall: Argyll & Bute (down 5.9%), West Dunbartonshire (down 4.7%) and North Ayrshire (down 0.8%).

Barrow-in-Furness has seen its population fall by 6.8% - the biggest percentage decrease in England.

Two areas of Wales showed a drop - Ceredigion (down 3.6%) and Blaenau Gwent (down 0.2%) - while there were no decreases in Northern Ireland.

Several of the UK's big cities have got even bigger since 2001.

The ONS estimates Manchester's population to have risen from 422,915 to 552,858 - a jump of 30.7%.

Birmingham has gone from having a population just under a million (984,642) to more than a million (1,141,816), a rise of 16.0%.

Edinburgh's population has leapt from an estimated 449,020 to 524,930 (up 16.9%), while Leeds has increased from 715,609 to 793,139 (up 10.8%).

The area with the biggest estimated numerical fall in population is Sunderland, which has shed nearly 7,000 people since 2001 - a decline in size of 2.4%.