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Dorset Insight


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Featured - Population in Dorset

The 2018 Mid-Year Estimates show that the current population of Dorset Council is estimated to be 376,480; an increase of 1,430 since 2017. We are in the process of updating the larger geography Area Profiles section which show key statistics for your area. 

The DC State of Dorset report was released in September 2018 giving an outline of the current socio-economic, demographic and environmental context in Dorset today. Visit the Topics Section to view it.

Released in March 2019, the Dorset Council’s local economic assessment page provides a series of bulletins to give an overview of Dorset’s economy and labour market.

Our new dashboard enables you to explore the demographics, service user and socio-economic profiles of Dorset Council’s new ward areas 

While we are updating all reports, bulletins and spreadsheets to reflect the new council, information regarding DCC will remain on the website until it is updated. Please check the geography that any report/spreadsheet is referring to. All superseded datasets can be downloaded from the Archive section if required.


News - Dorset - rural and coastal community

Ageing Fast and Slow

A recent report by the Resolution Foundation: Ageing, fast and slow, when place and demography collide looks at the differences in ageing by geography with some places getting older and some gettting younger. Coastal and rural areas are generally much older than urban ones. The Our Communities Topic Report: 2018 Mid-year Population Estimates in Dorset  shows that the Dorset Council area has one of the highest median ages in the country, 50.5 years.

Insolvency rates higher in coastal areas

The latest figures from the government’s Insolvency Service show that local authorities along the coast tend to have higher rates of personal insolvency than authorities inland. The South West region has the second highest insolvency rate in England and Wales at 29 per 10,000 compared to 25 nationally

Three of the former local authorities that make up the Dorset Council area are near the top of the rankings for bankruptcy - one of three types of insolvency (for the full definition of all three types, follow the link below). Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland rank 23rd, 7th and 3rd respectively out of 348 local authorities in England and Wales. Weymouth and Portland also appears high in the rankings for individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), giving the area an overall ranking of 12th – in the top 5% of areas nationally.

Economic and social decline by the Coast

Coastal areas are associated with lower pay, lower life expectancy and deprivation. A recent report from the Social Market Foundation called 'Falling off a cliff? - Economic and social decline by the coast' suggests that coastal areas of Britain are getting left behind compared to inland areas. The report identifies parts of Dorset as having some of the lowest pay and productivity in the country.

We looked at the data used in the report and conducted our own analysis which found that while Dorset's coastal areas do compare poorly to other parts of the country, they do not always rank as poorly as the report suggests. For example, in the report Purbeck has the fifth lowest pay in the country. However, this is only the case if you take the average of full time and part time pay. This gives a distorted view as it will be lower if an area has more part time workers. It does highlight one interesting thing though - Purbeck has a higher proportion of part time workers than any other local authority in Britain (out of over 400 areas). If you look at full time pay alone, Purbeck ranks 83rd - within the poorest fifth of local authorities in terms of earnings, but not as bad as suggested in the report.

The report also states that coastal areas tend to have lower life expectancy than inland areas. While this is true for many areas of the country, for West Dorset and Purbeck it isn't. In fact, in a report by the Office for National Statistics, Purbeck was highlighted as having the ideal combination of a long healthy life expectancy (years in good health), and low inequality of life expectancy.


About the Research team

The Research team is responsible for meeting the evidence needs across the Council, linking this to policy development and providing a better understanding of our communities and residents. Research specialisms in the group include demography, the Dorset economy, the environment, population forecasting and modelling, deprivation, community data, customer insight, national and local government policy, mapping, equalities and diversity, and analysis and support of GIS.

With a wide range of skills and information available, the team are happy to help with any questions that you may have or interpretation required.

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