Dorset facts - text in red applies from 2004 onward





The environment

  • Dorset is a county of 2458 square km (960 square miles), divided into 271 parishes.

  • Just over 50% of this land area is designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'.

  • A further 23% of the land area has other special environmental designations e.g. sites of interest for nature conservation.

  • 9% of UK Scheduled ancient monuments are in Dorset.

  • Dorset contains examples of nearly all UK reptiles and amphibians.

2001 census

 

The population

  • Total population was 401,100 in 2005.

  • Population density 158 people/sq kilometre in 2007 (national average 379/sq kilometre).

  • Increased overall by 8% between 1991 and 2004 (but by 19% in N. Dorset).

  • The number of 20 - 29 year olds decreased by 26% between 1994 and 2004. This is double the UK average for the period.

  • Numbers of people over 60 are expected to increase.

  • 70% of the population lives in an urban area.

The economy

  • Dorset has lower than average unemployment ( 1.1%).

  • Unemployment rose to 1.4% in 2006 compared with UK average of 2.7% (Weymouth & Portland 2.5%)

  • Wages at 471/week are below the national average.

  • 5 out of 6 Dorset companies employ less than 10 people.

  • 11% of the workforce are employed in tourism.

  • Black & Ethnic minority people make up 3.2% of Dorset's population.

Housing

  • Average house prices are currently among the highest in the UK outside London & S.E England but earnings are among the lowest.

  • Average house prices rose by 111% between 1998 and 2004 compared with 93% nationally.

  • The proportion of second homes is four times the national average.

  • Only 8% of new homes built during 2002/3 were 'affordable'.

Transport

  • 83% of households own a car.

  • Over 10000 people travel more than 40 km to work.

  • Since 1991 36 rural petrol stations have closed.

  • 10% of the population are not served by a regular bus service.

  • 1 in 10 people have difficulty getting to a food shop.

Education

  • 60% of pupils achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grade A - C (national average 53%). Rose to 62% in 2006 compared with a UK average of 59.2%.

  • 18% of the 16 - 74 age group have a degree or higher (national average 20%).

  • 25% of adults have poor literacy skills.

  • 59% of adults of working age do not want to learn.

  • More than 1 in 5 people have poor literacy skills. The figure for poor numeracy is the same (may not be the same group though - webmaster).

Ecology

  • Use of resources is average for the UK but higher than in other parts of the Southwest.

Information supplied by Dorset County Council

 

Last update 2008

 

 

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