The Census of Population 2011 included a question on the individual’s perception of their health, "How is your health in general?" Respondents were asked to rate their health as ‘very good’, ‘good’, ‘fair’, ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.
In Dorset, 80.5% of people rated their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with 44.6% of these rating their health as ‘very good’. In England & Wales, the percentage of people rating their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ was marginally higher at 81.2% and the proportion of the population rating their health as ‘very good’ was higher than in Dorset at 47.1%.
Overall, one in twenty people in Dorset described their health as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ with a little over one per cent responding that they were in ‘very bad’ health, a smaller percentage than that in England & Wales.
Across the Dorset districts, the general health profile was most favourable in North Dorset, with 83% of residents reporting their general health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. General health was least favourable in Christchurch with only 78.2% of residents responding that their health was ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
When combining general health categories into ‘good’ health and ‘not good’ health, the difference between the highest and lowest percentage of ‘good’ responses was 4.8 percentage points. East Dorset, North Dorset and Purbeck all had higher percentages than Dorset overall.
The younger age structure of North Dorset’s population in comparison with Dorset overall could partly contribute to this districts more favourable health status. Five North Dorset Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) were in the top ten areas with the highest rates of ‘good’ health in Dorset in 2011.
It appears that the more deprived an area is the less favourable the health response will be. In 2011, a seven percentage point gap existed between the least and most deprived areas in Dorset; in the most deprived areas the rate of ‘good’ health was 76.1%, whereas in the least deprived areas the equivalent figure was 83.1%.
For more information please contact:Nicola Dench
Source: 2001 & 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics