Monday, 16 September 2013 10:58

DEFRA unveils latest rural statistics

Written by  Ruralcity Media
DEFRA unveils latest rural statistics

THE government has published an updated compendium of statistics for rural England.

The Statistical Digest of Rural England is a compendium of statistics on a wide range of social and economic policy areas of interest.

To produce these statistics, the official rural-urban definition is applied to the data are taken from government and other sources.

Presentation of the statistics is split by rural and urban areas, allowing for comparisons between different rural and urban classifications.

The digest includes high level statistics which present an overall picture for England.

Updated sections include population and innovation.

In 2011, the population of England was 53.0 million, of which 43.7 million (82.4%) lived in urban areas and 9.3 million (17.6%) lived in rural areas.

Some 500,000 people lived in sparse settings within these rural areas.

There are proportionately more older people living in rural areas – over 50% of the population in rural areas were aged 45 and above, compared with around 40% in urban areas.

In terms of innovation, around 42% of both urban and rural businesses surveyed were involved in broader innovation activities between 2008 and 2010.

These included, for example, new or significantly improved products, processes, structures, or concepts, specific innovation projects, research and development.

The government says this suggests innovation is not affected directly by whether a business is located in an urban or rural settlement.

However, businesses located in rural village and hamlets within sparsely populated areas are less likely to be involved in innovation activities than businesses in equivalent settlements but within less sparse areas.

The government's latest Quarterly Rural Economic Bulletin has also been published.

Key headlines show that the overall average house price for all house types increased by 0.1% in rural areas and 1.4% in urban areas between Q1 and Q2 2013.

In Q2 2013, 1.7% of the working age population in rural England was claiming unemployment related benefits, compared to 4.1% in urban areas.

From Q1 2013, the percentage has decreased in both rural and urban areas, by 0.3 and 0.2 percentage points respectively.

Individual indicators within the rural statistical digest are updated annually throughout the year. The next update is due in October 2013.

Defra said the statistics were produced to the high standards set out in a code of practice.

This sets out eight principles including meeting user needs, impartiality and objectivity, integrity, sound methods and assured quality, frankness and accessibility.

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