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Key facts on Dorset - general


This page gives the key facts on the Dorset area at a glance. It includes the latest data available at December 2013 and covers area, environment, people, housing and economy.

Area and Environment

Headline FactsDetailsSource
DCC Dorset is an average sized county in terms of area...2,542 square kmOffice for National Statistics (ONS) 2012
...but is among the smallest counties in terms of population...414,900Mid Year Estimates(MYE) 2012, ONS it has a relatively sparse population.163 persons per square kilometre (375 for England and Wales)Mid Year Estimates(MYE) 2012, ONS
Dorset has a natural and built environment which is of the highest quality...and its habitats are among the richest for biodiversity in the country...Ranked on ecological, landscape and conservation designationsVarious
... and it is host to the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site (the Jurassic Coast): the only natural world heritage site on mainland UK stretching almost the entire length of Dorset's coast.95 miles from East Devon (Orcombe Point) to Old Harry Rocks in DorsetDorset County Council


Headline FactsDetailsSource
The area has a relatively low crime rate...Dorset crime rate is 37.8 crimes per 1,000 population whilst the regional figure is 54.5 and the national figure is higher at 66.4Dorset Police and DCC estimates 2012-13
...with a mild climate...Dorset enjoys an intermediate climate, less wet, cool and moist than the South-West of Englandn/a
...and is one of the healthiest places to live in the country, adding to its attractiveness for people considering moving here.Life expectancy is approximately two years greater than the national average2009-2011, Life Expectancy,ONS
Dorset has a large population of older people...The proportion of Dorset's population aged 65+ is 26.3% (17.0% for England & Wales)Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
...and, correspondingly, one of the smallest proportions of children aged 5-15...11.5% (12.6%  England)Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
...and the lowest proportion of pre-school age children (under 5s).4.7% (6.3% in England)Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
Birth rates are low...8.9 births per 1,000 population (12.9 for England and Wales)Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
...and there are more deaths than births in DCC Dorset.11.4 deaths per 1,000 population (8.7 for England and Wales)Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
So DCC Dorset's population would decline...In 2012, deaths exceeded births by 1,018 (ie a natural loss of 2.5 per thousand population.Mid year estimates (MYE) 2012, ONS
...were it not for the fact that more people move into the county than leave.In 2011/12, 24,000 people moved into Dorset, whilst over the same period 22,000 moved out.ONS 2012
This maintains strong overall growth in the size of Dorset's population... 13.6% population growth between 1991 and 2012 (11.5% in England & Wales)ONS 2012
...and population growth is set to continue.6.3% population growth projected between 2011 and 2021 (8.6% in England & Wales) ONS, 2011 interim population projections

Housing and Economy

Headline FactsDetailsSource
Currently there are 194,900 dwellings in Dorset.With about 1,200 new dwellings being built every year, (averaged over last five years)DCC November 2013
Average house prices are the highest in the UK, outside London ...£211,628 average property price in DCC Dorset compared with £165,515 in  England and WalesHouse Price Index, HM Land Registry, October 2013
... whilst earnings are among the lowest£459 per week in 2012 compared with £508 in England and Wales and 40% of full time employees earned up to £404 per week compared with £445 in England and WalesAnnual Survey of Hours and Earnings,full time employees (workplace) ONS 2012
...making DCC Dorset one of the least affordable places to buy a house.with Christchurch and East Dorset among the least affordable local authority areas  outside LondonCommunities and Local Government 2012
Unemployment is low.1.2% in October 2013 compared with 3.0% in GB.Claimant Count October 2013, ONS
Employment in the manufacturing industry is above the national average.11% of employees worked in manufacturing in 2012 compared with nine per cent in GBBusiness Register and Employment Survey 2012, ONS
Gross Value added (GVA) per resident head is low... Indexed at 79.2, where UK=100 and England=102.3Gross Value Added (GVA) data 2011, ONS
...and productivity is below average.GVA per hour worked was indexed at 85.0 where UK=100Nominal GVA per hour worked 2011 estimates, ONS
  • Research Bulletins

    The latest series of brief headline bulletins on issues affecting the county of Dorset.

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