Some 9.5 million people, or 17 per cent of the population, lived in rural areas in 2018, according to the latest demographic report for England, Rural population and migration
The report also finds within rural areas, the greatest rate of population increase was in rural town and fringe areas (4.8 per cent). This compares to rural villages and hamlets in sparse settings, which showed the smallest rate of population increase within rural areas (1.5 per cent).
Other key findings include:
- The rural population has a higher proportion of those aged 65 and over, at 24.8 per cent, compared with the urban population where 16.8 per cent are 65 and over. The average age in England increased by 1.4 year between 2002 and 2018, but in rural town and fringe areas it increased by 2.9 years and in rural village and dispersed areas by 3.6 years.
- The population in predominantly rural areas has increased by 5.1 per cent between 2011 and 2018, compared with 5.4 per cent for England as a whole and 5.7 per cent in predominantly urban areas.
- Predominantly rural areas have proportionately seen large falls in the population aged 30 to 39 and higher proportional increases in the older population.
- Since 2008/09 there has been an increase in the rate of net migration to predominantly rural areas.