• In 2016 the mid-year population estimate (based on Lower Super Output Areas, LSOAs) for England was 55.3 million, of which 9.4 million (17.0 per cent) lived in rural areas and 45.9 million (83.0 per cent) lived in urban areas.
  • The population in rural areas has a higher proportion of older people compared with urban areas. Just over 45 per cent of those living in rural areas are aged below 45 years, compared with almost 60 per cent in urban areas, and overall there are proportionately fewer younger people living in settlements in a sparse area.
  • Approximately 60 per cent of the population living in rural village and dispersed in a sparse setting are aged 45 years and over.
  • Both rural and urban areas have seen an increase in overall population between 2011 and 2016. Rural has increased by 2.6 per cent and urban by 4.4 per cent.
  • The population aged 65 and over increased by 37 per cent in predominantly rural areas between 2001 and 2015, compared with 17 per cent in predominantly urban
  • Predominantly rural areas have seen an increase of 7 per cent in infants (0-4 year olds) compared with a 22 per cent increase in predominantly urban
  • In 2017, median workplace-based earnings in predominantly urban areas (excluding London) were £22,900 while predominantly rural areas were slightly lower at £21,400.
  • The highest rate of home workers was found in rural hamlets and dispersed areas, at 34 per cent, compared with 13 per cent in urban areas. Overall rural areas had a higher rate of home working compared with urban areas.
  • In Wales, three quarters of community exhibitors are societies or community cinemas, with multi-arts providers making up the remainder (including a small proportion of film festival screenings).
  • Almost half of the screenings take place in community halls and almost a third in mixed-use venues. A variety of spaces, from schools to commercial cinemas make up the remainder.
  • 66% of community exhibitors use DVD or Blu-ray projection systems. 27% use digital projection, mostly in mixed-use venues.
  • 78% of community exhibitors offer a mix of specialised and mainstream programming.
  • A fifth of community screen programmes are dedicated to specialised film. Only two offer mostly mainstream films.[1]
  • UK -wide, there is a significant number of community cinemas lacking public transport access.
  • The Scottish Government 2014 Scottish Household Survey (12) confirmed that cinema going is the most popular form of cultural attendance in Scotland, with over half of the respondents viewing a film over a twelve-month period.[2]
  • 16% of the rural population is aged under 14. The England average is 17%.
  • In urban areas 21% of the population is aged 15 to 29 years, but in rural areas this falls to 15%.[3]

[1] Rural Community Film Exhibition in Wales, Bigger Picture Research
[2] Mapping Film Exhibition in Scotland A report for Creative Scotland
[3] Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)


Cinema for All help communities screen films. They are the national support and development organisation for community-led cinema: community cinemas, film clubs and societies.

Community Screen Forum represents organisations that promote, support and enable community screen experiences in under-serviced areas of the United Kingdom.

Rural Media Company is a Hereford-based production company and charity producing award-winning films and digital arts projects.

Live & Local Rural and Community Touring Scheme  supports a network of volunteer organisations who bring their communities together to enjoy performance and film at their local village hall, church or school.

Action with Communities in Rural England is the national voice for the 38 rural community councils who make up the country’s largest rural network.

Campaign to Protect Rural England work to protect, promote and enhance our towns and countryside to make them better places to live, work and enjoy, and to ensure the countryside is protected for now and future generations.

Scottish Rural Parliament aim to become a powerful voice for the diverse people and communities of rural Scotland, particularly those not already represented by other interests, to assure that policy and decision-making meets the needs of rural Scotland.

Scottish Rural Action is a grassroots-led, non-profit organisation. We seek to ensure that decision-makers understand the needs and strengths of rural communities in Scotland, and that policy does not disadvantage rural communities.

Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales  has worked to safeguard the quality and diversity of  all Welsh landscapes and seascapes.

Rural Development Council in Northern Ireland provides a range of development, support,  training and delivery services for individuals, farmers, farm families, groups, communities, public and private sector organisations.