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About County Durham

Durham is a county of economic, cultural and environmental contrasts.  Stretching from the remote rural North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the west to the more densely populated east Durham heritage coastline, the county has a varied geography and rich economic history. 

The county has a population of 508,500.  After 30 years of population decline, latest projections forecast that the population will increase by 2.3% over the next five years.  Black and minority ethnic people represent around 1% of the population with the three largest groups being Irish, Indian and Chinese.

The economic history of the county has left a legacy of small scattered towns and villages.  Some significant impacts of the mining industry are still evident, particularly in east Durham.  Many of our traditional industries have declined and County Durham has made headway towards a more diverse knowledge driven economy.

It is widely recognised that there are pockets of inequality and deprivation within the county, with targeted programmes and projects being directed at narrowing the gap between the worst and best performing areas. Much has been done in recent years to address inequality, however there is still more to be done. 

Durham City is the largest settlement and has a population of 42,000, which represents 8.5% of the county's resident population. The city has a unique character and setting, supporting the internationally renowned cathedral and castle world heritage site and is important as an administrative, educational, employment, service and tourist centre.

Our shared vision for an 'Altogether Better Durham' reflects our optimism that we can shape a better county by taking advantage of the opportunities we have and rising to the challenges.