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Release: 2011 Census, Key Statistics for national parks in England and Wales

Released: 19 February 2013
  • Between 2001 and 2011 the usually resident population of the national parks has grown by over 7,400 people (1.9 per cent), from 395,500 to 402,900.  This 1.9 per cent increase is considerably less than the percentage increase in the England and Wales population (7.1 per cent) as a whole.  The largest growth was within the South Downs (6.8 per cent).

  • The national parks have a much older age structure than the rest of the population, one-third of the population were aged 60 and over; in the Broads 40 per cent were aged 60 and over.

  • More than one in eight household spaces across all national parks were households without at least one usual resident, this included vacant dwellings, holiday residences and second residences.

  • Home ownership is widespread within national parks, 71 per cent of households own their home (either outright or with a mortgage/loan), compared with 64 per cent nationally.

  • Car ownership has been on the increase, 88 per cent of households had access to one or more vehicles.

  • Levels of self-employment amongst national park residents was almost double the level nationally (at nearly one in five of the economically active population), whilst unemployment levels are also noticeably lower.

This release provides 2011 Census Key Statistics tables for national parks in England and Wales.

These are published alongside the Key Statistics for national parks in Wales and supplement the release of the same tables in the Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales in December 2012.

The 35 Key Statistics tables are provided for the 13 national parks in England and Wales as at December 2011, including the Broads which is widely considered to be part of the national parks family.

The sparse populations of national parks means that production of statistics using the best-fit of output areas approach that is used for all other census statistics would tend to poorly estimate their populations and would not be fit for purpose. For this reason, statistics for national parks are provided for the populations within the exact boundaries of the parks, subject to the standard modifications to protect against the disclosure of confidential information. These more accurately reflect the population and characteristics of these areas, and provide the best information possible for use by National Park Authorities (NPA) in their responsibilities for conservation, planning, recreation management and fostering the social and economic wellbeing of local communities.

More information about the Geography Policy for National Statistics and the use of best-fit and exact-fit methods for the production of statistics is available from ONS Geography.

Commentary and analysis of the census estimates included in this release are provided in the analysis ‘Characteristics of National Parks 2011’.

Commentary at regional level is available in the statistical bulletins published as part of the:

More detailed analyses of the census estimates are also provided for some topics published in parallel with each of these releases; these are available via the Census Analysis website.  Further analyses will be published during 2013.

During 2013 ONS will release cross tabulations of characteristics, such as by age, sex or ethnicity. This will provide an even richer and more valuable data source for the many users of the census.

Further information on the fitness for purpose of the statistics in this release can be found in the Quality and Methodology Information (157.6 Kb Pdf) paper.

These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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