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Summary

The Statistical Digest of Rural England is a regular Defra publication covering a range of economic and social phenomena including employment, education, health, poverty, accessibility to services, and crime. This latest edition was published in March 2014.

On a range of indicators, including health and poverty, rural areas tend to perform better than rural areas. However, although the proportions of households, working age people, children, and pensioners in relative and absolute income poverty are generally lower in rural areas than in urban areas, the proportions and numbers involved are still substantial. Further, rural residents are more disadvantaged than their urban counterparts in terms of access to services and fuel poverty,

Some established patterns in the geography of urban and rural England have been disturbed by the recent recession. Throughout the last decade, housing has been less affordable in predominantly rural areas than predominantly urban areas, but the gap narrowed between 2007-12. Before 2008, there were large net gains in population in rural areas through migration from urban areas, but this levelled off after the recession and the subdued housing market that accompanied it.

This briefing will be of most interest to officers and members in district and county councils involved in strategic planning.

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