How Much of the UK is Rural?
- Rural areas cover the majority of the UK’s landmass. However, this proportion varies between the different countries within the UK. For example, rural areas make up 90 percent of England, while they make up 98% of Scotland.
- 17.4 million hectares (71%) of the UK landmass is agricultural land. Woodland areas make up 3.19 million hectares.
How Many People Live in Rural Areas?
- A fifth of the population of England (20.9%) live in local authorities defined as predominantly rural.
- Less than a fifth (17%) of the population of Scotland live in rural areas.
- The proportion of the population of Wales living in rural areas is estimated as under one third (32.8%).
- In Northern Ireland, 36% of people live in rural areas.
How Much Do Rural Areas Contribute to the UK Economy?
- In 2017, predominantly rural areas contributed an estimated 15.8% of England’s economic output, as measured in gross value added. In comparison, predominantly urban areas, excluding London, contributed 45.1%; London contributed 27.6%.
- 13 Scottish local authorities have a majority of the population living outside urban areas. In 2016, these 13 rural local authority areas contributed just under a third (31.8%) of total Scottish economic output.
- Rural local authority areas of Wales contributed approximately a third of Welsh economic output in 2017.
- Businesses in rural areas contributed a quarter of the total business turnover in Northern Ireland in 2018.
What Types of Businesses Are There in Rural Areas?
The rural economy is diverse. It includes many different types of industry, including those traditionally associated with rural areas, such as agriculture, forestry and rural affairs. In terms of economic output, two sectors have been identified by the Government as the joint largest based in predominantly rural areas in England: the first is distribution, transport, accommodation and food (19%); and the second is public administration, education and health (19%). Agriculture, forestry and rural affairs contributed 2% of rural England’s total economic output.
The classification of areas as rural and urban is based on different methodologies for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so these figures are not directly comparable. To find out more about the rural economy and an overview of recent developments, read the House of Lords Library briefing, Rural Economy and UK Agriculture: Issues for the New Parliament, 24 January 2020.Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay