Skip to content

Wales had one of the oldest populations in the UK in 2012

The 2013 ONS analysis of the characteristics of Wales

The latest ONS Region and Country Profiles analysis takes a look at the regional characteristics of the nine regions within England and the countries of the UK, exploring aspects such as population, age, employment and house prices. The profile of Wales shows it to have one of the oldest populations of the UK with a median age of 41.7 years, and one of the highest percentages of the adult population (14%) with disabilities that limited their daily activities or work. Wales contributed nearly 4% of the UK’s economic output and the unemployment rate in Q2 2013 was 8.2%.

Wales has the third lowest population density

Wales is the third biggest of the UK countries and English regions; smaller in area than Scotland but larger than any English region except South West; it covers 9% of the total area of the UK at 20,700 square kilometres (sq km). The region is generally mountainous, with its highest peaks in the north and central areas, especially in Snowdonia. Two-thirds (67.2%) of people lived in urban areas in 2011, concentrated mainly in the south east of the country.

Wales had a population of 3.1 million at mid-2012, which was almost 5% of the UK population. This makes it smaller than Scotland but larger than Northern Ireland and the North East region. The population of Wales had increased by 0.3% since mid-2011 compared with 0.7% for the UK over the same period. The population density for Wales in mid-2012 was 148 people per sq km compared with England (411), Scotland (68) and Northern Ireland (134).

People aged 65 and over made up 19% of the population in 2012

In mid-2012, the median age of Wales’ residents was one of the highest at 41.7 years, compared with 39.7 years for the UK. People aged 65 and over made up 19.1% of the population, compared with 17.0% for the UK. People aged under 16 made up 18.1% of the population, compared with 18.8% for the total UK population.

Over 14% (14.3%) of adults aged 16 to 64 had disabilities that limited their daily activities or work in the year ending March 2013, one of the highest proportions of all countries of the UK and English regions, compared with 12.2% for the UK. Life expectancy at birth in 2008 to 2010 was 77.5 years for males and 81.7 years for females, compared with 78.1 and 82.1 years respectively for the UK.

Wales contributed 4% of the UK’s economic output in 2011

Wales contributed nearly 4% of the UK’s economic output (gross value added or GVA) in 2011, only higher than Northern Ireland (2.3%) and the North East region (3.2%). The rate of business creation in Wales was 9.3% in 2011, the second lowest rate of the UK countries and English regions, compared with 11.2% for the UK.

In Q2 2013, the unemployment rate in Wales was 8.2%, slightly higher than the UK average of 7.8%. The employment rate stood at 69.4% in the same period, compared with the UK rate of 71.5%. In April 2012, median gross weekly earnings for full-time adult employees were £455, which compares with £498 in Scotland, £460 in Northern Ireland and £506 in the UK.

The average house price in Wales in June 2013 was £162,000, above the figure for Northern Ireland (£130,000) and below Scotland (£181,000) and England (£251,000).

Where can I find out more about ONS regional statistics?

These statistics were analysed by the Sub-national Reporting team at the ONS using data from a range of official statistics. If you’d like to find out more about the latest regional statistics, please see our Notes on Sources, latest tables (260.5 Kb Excel sheet) and interactive mapping and charting tool or visit our Directory of Tables page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at better.info@ons.gsi.gov.uk.

Categories: People and Places, Communities, Neighbourhoods and Communities, Business and Energy, Economy, Health and Social Care, Labour Market, Housing and Households, Housing Market, Population
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.