Census Stories

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Home Ownership

This story analyses data on home ownership and renting; how local and national figures have changed over the decade. Despite a general shift towards renting, 73% of households in Dorset were owner occupied in 2011.

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Dorset continues to remain a largely Christian county despite a quarter of the population stating that they have no religion. This story looks at the religious profile of the residents of Dorset.

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Main Language

For 6,634 residents in Dorset, English is not their first language. This story looks at the main languages spoken in Dorset and where they are concentrated.

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Older People

The latest census shows one in four of Dorset’s residents are aged 65 and over. This means in 2011 104,145 residents of the county were aged 65 and over, an increase of almost 14% from 2001.

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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’.

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Country of Birth

In 2011 5.6 per cent (23,157) of the usual resident population of Dorset were born outside the UK. The national figure for England and Wales was 13.4 per cent (7.5 million).

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Home ownership and renting | the difference of a decade in Dorset

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of Dorset households increased by about 12,200 to a total of 180,200 by 2011.

131,000 of these households (73%) were owner occupied and 49,200 were rented(27%), compared to 2001, when 76% of households were owner occupied with 24% rented. This meant that over the decade the percentage of people owning their own home fell. Nationally this was the first time this had occurred for almost a century. The chart below shows the changes in home ownership in Dorset between 2001 and 2011, alongside the changes in England and Wales.

This shift towards renting has happened during a new era of tighter lending requirements since the financial crash in 2008, alongside rising house prices increasing at a much faster rate than wages. By 2011, the result was a decline in the number of households owned with a mortgage or a loan, dropping by 6,000 households in Dorset due to the increasing difficulties for first time buyers in raising deposits for a mortgage.

Whilst houses owned with a mortgage dropped, the numbers owned outright increased. In Dorset this number grew by almost 9,000, resulting in almost 77,000 households in Dorset owned outright, 43% of the total. This is much higher than the national average of 31% and is due to the older age structure in Dorset. Analysis of the age of home owners from the census shows that out of these 77,000 households owned outright, over 50,000 of them are owned by an over 65 year old.

Alongside this, renting from private landlords also increased by 60% in Dorset - rising from 13,000 households being privately rented in 2001 to almost 21,000 households in 2011. This increase in private lets is likely to be due to the decline in the number of households getting onto the housing ladder through a mortgage.

In comparison to national proportions, however, the number of privately rented and socially rented households is much lower, with a much greater percentage of households owned outright. The chart below shows how all the household categories compare to the national averages in 2011.

At a more detailed level there are variations across the county in the proportions owning their homes. 81% of all households in East Dorset are owner occupied, the majority of these owned outright, with East Dorset having the highest proportions of all households outright owned across all other local authorities in the country. In Weymouth & Portland, however, 67% are owner occupied with very similar proportions owning their homes outright or with a mortgage (36% and 30% respectively). Weymouth & Portland also has the highest proportion of households that are privately rented across Dorset local authorities, at 19% of the total, over 5,400 homes. These variations are most probably related to the different age structures across the county.

For more information please contact:

Nicola Dench
(01305) 224069 / n.dench@dorsetcc.gov.uk

Source: 2001 & 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics