East Devon District Council

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Policy Equality policy

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10. Appendix 1 Equalities and diversity data for East Devon

East Devon is an area characterised by its:

  • rural environment
  • elderly population
  • low numbers of people from black and minority ethnic groups
  • in-migration both of permanent residents and tourists, and
  • general affluence

 There are widespread issues of:

  • limited accessibility
  • infirmity
  • disability

In a dispersed population, such as East Devon, people who are, for example, from a different racial or cultural background, with special needs, ex-offenders or others who do not fit into the usual stereotypes of family and social structure may feel isolated and may not wish to draw public attention to their needs.  Equally with an older population the needs of the young might be overlooked.

Gypsies and travellers are classed as an ethnic group and we have a pan-Devon research paper which informs our work in providing relevant sites.

Exclusion may mean that some groups do not get the full benefit of the services that are available to others, or they may be stigmatised and made to feel unaccepted.  This can affect their mental health and well-being.

The council has a responsibility to all of the people who live and work in its area.   We are taking steps to make sure that people are welcomed to support our wish to be a destination for national and international visitors.

For these reasons the council has a duty to ensure that no one is excluded from enjoying the benefits of the council's services.  Equally the council as a local leader must not only set an example, but also encourage others into good practice.

Children and young people

27,200 residents are under 20 years old (20 per cent).

Single parents

Seven per cent of households are lone parents.

2.4 per cent of those under 18  become pregnant (around a third lead to termination).


21 per cent of households have a child under 16 (11,422 households).

Older people

46,000 (35 per cent) of residents are over 60. 1,800 are over 90 years of age (over one per cent).

People living on their own

Whilst not exclusively older people, 30 per cent of households are adults living alone.  


52 per cent of East Devon’s residents are female.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)

We have limited information on these groups.  0.18 per cent of households were of same sex couples according to the last census.  It is estimated that between 6 per cent and 12 per cent of the national population are LGBT.

Race and ethnicity

Data for East Devon confirms that 93.2 per cent are White British, 0.6 per cent are White Irish, 2.4 per cent are White other, 0.90 per cent are Mixed, 1.5 per cent are Asian or Asian British, 0.6 per cent are Black or Black British and 0.30 per cent are Chinese (source Office of National Statistics 2012).


According to census data 78 per cent of residents regard themselves as Christian. 14 per cent  felt they had no religion.

229 people are Buddhist, 127 are Jewish, 124 are Muslim, 33 are Hindu, and 17 are Sikh.       

Learning disability

0.5 per cent of local residents (676) were identified as having learning disabilities in the 2007 Housing Market Assessment.

Mental health problem

1.5 per cent of local residents (2,030) were estimated to have mental health problems (Housing Market Assessment).  This is likely to be a huge underestimate of all mental health issues. Around 16,000 residents per year seek help for psychological or emotional problems. 1370 people are on incapacity benefit for mental illness.


It is estimated that 21 people are HIV positive in East Devon.

Substance users

Around 250 drug misusers are known to live in East Devon (Health Profile 2008).

Around 260 hospital admissions per year related to alcohol.

Mobility difficulties

14.5 per cent of East Devon residents (over 19,000) were estimated to have mobility difficulties in the Housing Market Assessment.

7.3 per cent of residents had general difficulties due to age or frailty.

Sensory disabilities

Over 6,000 (4.5 per cent) of the local population were estimated to have visual or hearing impairment (Housing Market Assessment).

Other physical difficulties

11.3 per cent of East Devon residents were estimated to have a health or disability issue not listed above, by the Housing Market Assessment. One in five adults are estimated to be obese.

20 per cent of our households include someone with a ‘long-term limiting illness’ and 13 per cent of owner occupied homes have a resident with a disability.  Almost three per cent of our residents receive a disability related benefit.

Literacy/numeracy difficulties or English not as a first language

Eight to 10 per cent of the adult population are at entry level 1 (can understand short texts with repeated language patterns on familiar topics).  We have no data on numbers of people who do not have English as a first language though national insurance registrations suggest that the highest number of non-nationals in East Devon are Polish (around 100) and a lesser number of Slovak and South African workers.  Whilst many countries are represented the following countries also have more than 10 workers – France, Portugal, Hungry, Bulgaria, Rumania, China, India, Philippines and Australia.

Low income/unemployment

Unemployment rates in East Devon were 7.2 per cent in 2012.

62.5 per cent of the population is regarded as economically active and 52.8 per cent is of working age.  The median full time earnings are £22,700 for someone living in East Devon.

The house price to salary ratio is 11:1 – one of the highest in UK and the highest in Devon.

10,200 people in East Devon claim an income related benefit.


There were around 70 homeless households (including a very few rough sleepers) in 2012.


Around 11 per cent of adults are providing care for someone else.  We estimate that just fewer than 1,000 young people are carers in East Devon.


17,700 households (28 per cent) live in villages, hamlets or isolated dwellings.


40.5 per cent of the economically active population are educated to A-level or above.  GCSE achievement is better than national average.

Transport (cars, motorbikes)

Almost 20 per cent of households have no personal powered transport, in an area where car use is particularly high and public transport use is low.

Prison leavers

Around 10 prisoners per year return to live in East Devon.    

Care leavers

Around 20 care leavers request housing in East Devon each year.

For more information about East Devon see our Knowing East Devon Page.