506,100 in 2002
What is interesting about the population of Cornwall is that between the 1860s and 1950s Cornwall continuously lost people - the Diaspora looking for work in other areas of the world. It is only in more recent years that the effect has been reversed with people from the rest of the UK moving down in search of a better quality of life.
The major towns in Cornwall and there respective populations (2001) were:
- Camborne/Redruth - 39937
- St Austell - 22658
- Truro - 20920
- Penzance & Newlyn - 20255
- Newquay - 19562
- Saltash - 14124
- Bodmin - 12778
- Helston - 10578
- St Ives - 9866
The population of Cornwall is not only gradually increasing but changing demographically. Whilst there has been a decline amongst younger age groups 0-39, older groups have been increasing in size with the largest group being the 40-54 age band accounting for 21.2% of the population with an overall increase of 50.96% since 1951. This reflects Cornwall's popularity as a retirement destination.
Earnings and Employment
Cornwall is by far one of the poorest areas in the UK, in fact it doesn't fare that well compared to most of Europe. On average earnings were 25% below the UK national average in 2002 and the trend seems to indicate this gap is growing. The actual figure was £18,096 compared with £24,164 in the rest of the country.
In a related earnings survey only Conwy in Wales and Moray in Scotland fared worse.
These figures help explain why Cornwall qualifies for the European Union's Objective One funding. To qualify an area must meet the following criteria:
'areas where prosperity, measured in Gross Value Added (GVA) per head of population, is 75% or less of the European average'
All this in the context of higher than average cost of living, house prices and above average levels of unemployment. Unemployment was running at 4.8% in 2001 putting Cornwall in the worst 20 counties in the UK
As would be expected Cornwall is rates fairly well in terms of crime figures. Car theft is generally around a tenth of the national average, as is robbery, with burglaries running at around a half the UK rate. The blip is theft from cars with nearly double the national average in some areas - this is a crime that is often associated with tourist regions.