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South East had the joint lowest regional unemployment rate in mid-2013

The 2013 ONS regional characteristics analysis for the South East

The latest ONS Region and Country Profiles analysis takes a look at the regional characteristics of the nine regions within England and countries of the UK, exploring aspects such as population, age, employment and house prices. The profile of the South East shows it to be the largest region in population terms, with the longest life expectancy. The South East contributes 15% to the UK’s economic output. The unemployment rate is among the lowest, and incomes are the highest outside London.

The South East makes up 14% of the total UK population

The South East is the third largest region of England, covering 19,100 square kilometres (sq km) and constituting 8% of the total area of the UK. It surrounds London to the south and west and extends as far north as Milton Keynes. A fifth (20.4%) of the region’s population lived in rural areas, compared with 17.6% for England in mid-2011.

The population of 8.7 million at mid-2012 was the largest of all the regions of England and countries of the UK at almost 14% of the total UK population. This was 0.8% more than in 2011, compared with an increase of 0.7% for the UK over the same period. In mid-2012, population density in the South East was 458 people per sq km, higher than the population density for England (411 people per sq km) and the third highest of all the regions.

People in the region have the longest life expectancies

The median age of the region’s population in mid-2012 was 40.8 years, compared with the UK average of 39.7 years.

In 2009 to 2011, life expectancy at birth in the South East was 80.0 years for males and 83.8 years for females. This was similar to the estimate for the South West and East of England and higher than 78.9 and 82.9 years respectively for England.

The South East produces 15% of the UK’s total economic output

In 2011, the South East was responsible for nearly 15% of the UK’s economic output (gross value added or GVA). The South East’s unemployment rate was the joint lowest with the South West, at 6.0% in Q2 2013, compared with an average of 7.8% for the UK. The lowest regional proportion of children living in workless households in Q2 2013 was in the South East at 9.7%, compared with 13.6% for England.

The employment rate stood at 75.8%, higher than the UK rate of 71.5%. The percentage of the region’s population aged 16 to 64 that had no qualifications in 2012 was 6.9%, the lowest of all the regions of England and countries of the UK, compared with 9.9% for the UK and 9.5% in England.

In April 2012, median gross weekly earnings for full-time adult employees were £556, the highest outside London and above the UK median of £506. Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of South East residents was the second highest in the UK, after London, at £18,100 per head in 2011, compared with £16,000 for the UK.

House prices in the South East are the second highest in the UK. The average house price in June 2013 was £299,000, compared with £242,000 for the UK. House prices increased 2.9% in the year to June 2013, compared with 8.1% in London. Private enterprise completed construction of 17,300 new homes in the South East in 2011/12. This was the most of all the English regions and countries of the UK, contributing 16% to the UK total.

Where can I find out more about ONS regional statistics?

These statistics were analysed by the Sub-national Reporting team at the ONS using data from a range of official statistics. If you’d like to find out more about the latest regional statistics, please see our Notes on Sources, latest tables (260.5 Kb Excel sheet) and interactive mapping and charting tool or visit our Directory of Tables page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at

Categories: People and Places, Communities, Neighbourhoods and Communities, Economy, Labour Market, Housing and Households, Housing Market, Population
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