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The Observatory section on the Economy looks at all elements of the rural economy such as employment, small businesses and wage levels to build a picture of the impact on rural communities.


Bringing together data from the Office for National Statistics, it is possible to build a clear picture of lower average income for those working in rural areas.  This has obvious implications in terms of living standards and affordability of housing, transport, as well as the ability to live rewarding, active and healthy lifestyles.

This analysis provides a view over time (2010 to 2014) of the economic activity of households within a local authority area of your choice.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The following analysis looks at the proportion of employee jobs paid less than the living wage in a chosen local authority area.

The Office for National Statistics produced in August 2014 a set of migration indicators, the data from which has been used to present this analysis.  Local area migration is important on a number of levels in terms of employment, skills, local services, housing, and has clear variation between rural and urban levels.

Local Area Migration Indicators Analysis

The risks and opportunities available for business in rural local authority areas can be quite unique from those in urban areas.  As a result the rate of new businesses created and the rate of business deaths as a fraction of total business show a distinct shift from the most urban to most rural geographies.  Data for this analysis comes form the Municipal Year Book 2013/14.

The online article 'The 62 areas where houses are less affordable than London', taken from the BBC News website, reflects the struggles of many people living in or looking to move to rural areas.  The pressure of housing affordability for local people wishing to put down roots in their own community is felt throughout rural England. 

To view the analysis the on the rural to urban migration click here


International migration into local authority areas can cause significant debate as to the benefits or pressures this brings to a community.  With this in mind, the following analysis looks at short term international migration inflows for your local authority area.

Being able to access appropriate employment is vital for any community to thrive, and for a rural community this often comes with the need to travel. This analysis looks at the situation in your area, and may draw some light on issues affecting the different age groups that make up your community.

Household budgets are increasingly stretched in meeting basic living costs. Using key measures, the financial pressures experienced by the average household can provide a picture of the relative cost of rural life.

To view the relative cost of living analysis click here

The transition through life from late teen to young adulthood presents a number of choices socially, professionally and academically. For many young adults living in rural areas, the choice to continue education to a higher level brings with it the necessity and desire to move to an urban location. Data demonstrates that this results in a migration of young adults, and hence the loss economically and socially, from rural local authority areas. 

This analysis of Economic Activity presents a view over time plus a rural average of the relative economic activity/inactivity experienced within a local authority area.

This analysis studies the importance of the pub industry to rural authorities

RSN developed analysis of The Federation of Small Businesses 'Quarterly Voice of Small Business Index survey results.' This analysis provides an insight into rural and urban areas for the quarters ending May 2012, August 2012, November 2012, February 2013 and May 2013.

The Federation of Small Businesses produce a Quarterly Voice of Small Business Index, a report that looks at capacity levels, employment, revenues and the confidence of small firms ( The Index is created from the views of small firms from the FSB survey panel. The attached MS Excel spreadsheet is an RSN developed analysis of their survey results for LEP areas for the quarters ending February 2012, May 2012, August 2012, November 2012, February 2013 and May 2013.

The Federation of Small Businesses conducts a quarterly economic survey. Our analyses of its findings provide an insight into the rural situation.

Conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses, the 'Voice of Small Business' survey provides a macro-economic picture of the UK economy as experienced by small firms.

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