The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a population of 2,591,300. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The county consists of seven metropolitan boroughs: the City of Birmingham, the City of Coventry and the City of Wolverhampton, plus Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall.
The West Midlands County Council was abolished on 31 March 1986, and so its districts (the metropolitan boroughs) are now unitary authorities. However, the metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference.
The county is sometimes described as the "West Midlands metropolitan area" or the "West Midlands conurbation", although these have different, and less clearly defined, boundaries. The conurbation, or urban area, does not include Coventry for example.
The seven metropolitan boroughs, along with the nearby unitary authority of Telford and Wrekin are starting to collaborate as a non-statutory city region under the name "Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country". The name "West Midlands" is also used for the much larger West Midlands region, which sometimes causes confusion.