According to the 2011 UK census, Rowley parish had a population of 1,015, a decrease on the 2001 UK census figure of 1,030. The village of Rowley is now mostly depopulated, leaving only a few houses, and most of the population is now in Little Weighton.
Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, who became Rector of Rowley in 1621, was suspended from the parish church in 1638 for his non-conformist beliefs. Following this, he led 20 families to emigrate to the American colonies, where he founded the town of Rowley, Massachusetts in 1639. The emigrants sailed from Hull in the John of London, probably a merchant ship of around 200 tons, probably in June 1638, arriving in Salem, Massachusetts in August.
Also among the 1638 emigrants were two brothers, Richard and Thomas Wickham. Samuel, a son of Thomas, settled in Rhode Island and became a Freeman of the Colony and a Deputy. Another descendant, Captain John Clements Wickham R.N. served on the Beagle on its voyage with Charles Darwin and was later the first Magistrate and administrator of Queensland.
Rev. Levett Edward Thoroton, son of Col. Thomas Blackborne Thoroton Hildyard of Flintham Hall, Flintham, Nottinghamshire, was rector of Rowley for 23 years. He is commemorated by a tablet on the south aisle of St Peter's Church in Rowley. The Hildyard family had a long association with Rowley and its church, where they were patrons of the living. The local church contains many memorials to the family. The church was designated in 1968 by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.
In 1974 most of what had been the East Riding of Yorkshire was joined with the northern part of Lincolnshire to became a new English county named Humberside. The urban and rural districts of the former counties were abolished and Humberside was divided into non-metropolitan districts. The new organization did not meet with the pleasure of the local citizenry and Humberside was wound up in 1996. The area north of the River Humber was separated into two "unitary authorities"—Kingston-upon-Hull covering the former City of Hull and its closest environs, and the less urban section which, once again, named itself the East Riding of Yorkshire.