The London Borough of Brent was formed in 1965 from the former Boroughs of Wembley and Willesden of Middlesex. In 1934, the parishes of Wembley and Kingsbury (originally part of the Ancient Parish of Harrow-on-the-Hill) merged to form the Municipal Borough of Wembley.
The borough is named after the River Brent, which separates former boroughs of Wembley and Willesden.
As of 2011, Brent has a population of 329,771. Its major districts are Kilburn, Willesden, Wembley, and Harlesden, with subdistricts Stonebridge, Kingsbury, Kensal Green, and Queen's Park. A mix of residential, industrial, and commercial land makes up Brent. A large number of inner-city districts are located in its eastern parts and a more distinct suburban area exists in its west, which was part of Metroland's development in the early 20th century.
In 1801 the civil parishes forming the modern borough had a population of 2,022. The population steadily increased in the nineteenth century, reaching 5,646 by the middle of the century, as the railways arrived. It took five decades for the population to return to its more muted peak of the 1950s, when much industry relocated from London, which accelerated the construction of new housing.
As a result of its diversity by country of birth, Brent became the only local authority in the UK in 2019 where more than 50% of its residents, namely 52%, were born abroad. The locality has large Asian and Indian, Black African, Black Caribbean, Irish, and Eastern European populations. During the 1991 census, 45 percent of the population was from a minority ethnicity. Indians constituted 17.2% of the population, Africans constituted 10.2%, and Irish made up 9%.
During the 2001 UK Census, Brent had 263,464 residents, of whom 127,806 were males and 135,658 were females. Brent was the only outer London borough with a high proportion of Indian and Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. 47.71% of respondents identified themselves as Christians, 17.71% as Hindus, 12.26% as Muslims, and 10% as having no faith.
From the census data, 39.96% of residents were employed full-time and 7.86% were employed part-time, respectively, compared to the London average of 42.64 percent and 8.62 percent. A narrow majority of households had an owner-occupier living in their home, with 23.17 % owning outright and 31.33% owning their home with a mortgage. Among the tenants, 10.59% lived in local authority housing, and 13.29% rented from a housing association.
Since 1951, Brent has experienced tremendous ethnic diversity. In the 2011 census, 18% of Brent's population identified as White British. About 18% identified as other Whites, 5% were of mixed heritage, 33% of them were of South Asian heritage, 19% were of African and Caribbean heritage, and 7% were from other ethnic groups.