Skip Navigation

Swanage town profile

Swanage combines the attractions of an old-world town and an up-to-date seaside resort. It is set at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, with its bay extending from the cliffs at Ballard Point to Peverill Point.


Swanage is located at the end of the Isle of Purbeck on the A351. The Swanage railway is used as a popular tourist attraction and has recently been connected to the rail network. The local Sandbanks ferry gives easy access to the town of Poole.


Latest population figure (2012 Mid Year Estimates) for the town is 9,556

Age GroupSwanage (persons)Swanage (%)Dorset(DCC Area)(%)England and Wales(%)
0 to43603.84.76.3
5 to 93743.94.95.7
10 to 144434.65.45.6
15 to 194875.15.86.2
20 to 244895.14.66.8
25 to 293874.04.26.8
30 to 343673.84.46.7
35 to 393904.14.96.4
40 to 445285.56.57.2
45 to 496226.57.37.3
50 to 546877.27.16.6
55 to 596396.76.65.7
60 to 647768.17.55.7
65 to 698548.97.75.3
70 to 746456.75.73.9
75 to 795515.84.93.2
80 to 844524.73.92.4
All ages9,556100100100

Selected age groups

AgeSwanage (number)Swanage (%)Dorset - DCC area (%)England & Wales (%)
Young people 0 to 171,48415.518.621.3
Young adults 18 to 291,05611.111.016.1
Older people 65 +3,00731.526.317.0

Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2012 Mid Year Estimates

Historic Population

Census population


Purbeck pyramid area: 
11 primary schools, 1 secondary school.
The upper school is Purbeck School (Wareham) (953 pupils -2012).

Commercial land

Between 1994-2013, 0.27 hectares of employment land has been developed in Swanage. The total area of land with permission or allocated in local plans is 1.95 hectares.


Domestic burglaries

Rate per 1,000 households

Swanage3. 2.31.3
DCC Dorset6.
South West14.812.310.78.98.4n/a8.
England and Wales20.018.6 (GB)14.413.513.1n/a12.211.611.110.5

Please note: Due to the low prevailing level of offences, and the often sporadic nature of burglary, rates for small geographical areas can vary significantly from year to year.
Source: DCC

Other sources of crime data

Access the Police crime mapping Swanage (opens in a new window)where you can find crime data on a month by month basis (starting December 2010) mapped to neighbourhood and street level. This looks at the crime types of burglary, anti-social behaviour, robbery, vehicle crime, violent crime and other crime. Note this comprehensive and up-to-date database only looks at numbers of crimes and not crime rates for individual crimes. It does give an overall crime rate (per 1,000 people) for the neighbourhood.

Housing growth

Housing development671303034476039425956604255192832

The 2011 Census records 5,812 dwellings in Swanage.
Since 2011, a further 60 have been built giving a total of 5,872

At March 2013, a further 169 units have permission and 0 have been allocated in the local plan.

Note: Figures allow for losses from re-development etc. Method revised 2009

Index of deprivation, 2010

(Figures show LSOA ranking out of 247 LSOAs in Dorset with 1 being the most deprived)

SOAMultipleIncomeEmploymentHealthEducation & SkillsHousing & servicesCrimeLiving
New Swanage & Ulwell10412311611214734107146
Swanage Herston66377810017114190165
Swanage King George's1821681991526420317571
Swanage North1701351649417619111478
Swanage South132141122971811395826
Swanage Town Centre847489541121648129
Swanage Townsend8057101514317894102

LSOA = Lower Super Output Area (minimum 400 households or 1,000 population). Our The Index of Deprivation, 2010 article includes detailed information and mapping. 


Poverty Indicators: Housing/Council Tax Benefit: March 2013 

SettlementBenefit PopulationTotal Population

% Benefit Population
(% of total 
settlement population)

Bere Regis3051,74517.5%
Charminster/Charlton Down3792,94012.9%
Corfe Castle1901,35514.0%
Corfe Mullen94810,1339.4%
Lyme Regis5273,67114.4%
Lytchett Matravers3703,42410.8%
Lytchett Minster/Upton1,3387,98316.8%
St Leonards & St Ives5366,8597.8%
Sturminster Marshall1991,96910.1%
Sturminster Newton6644,29215.5%
West Moors9817,56113.0%
Dorset ( DCC area)---

Source: DCC

Socio-economic classifications, 2010 ACORN

% Wealthy Achievers40.110.2
% Urban Prosperity7.136.6
% Comfortably Off33.245.5
% Moderate Means9.22.9
% Hard Pressed10.24.7
% unclassified0.20.2

ACORN is a geodemographic segmentation of the UK's population which segments small neighbourhoods, postcodes, or consumer households into 5 categories, 17 groups and 56 types.
The 5 higher level categories "wealthy achievers", "urban prosperity", "comfortably off", "moderate means" and "hard pressed" are shown above.

A full ACORN profile of the town , including mapping of the 2 wards has been produced. View the Swanage ACORN Profile (pdf, 743kb) (opens in a new window).

Average house prices

Dwelling typeAverage Price  July - Sept 2009Average Price  July - Sept 2010July - Sept 2010 (sales)Average Price  July - Sept 2012July - Sept 2012 (sales)

Land Registry average prices (Prices may be affected by low number of sales) Data based on postcode sectors BH19 1 and BH19 2.

Tenure - 2011 Census

% of all households

AreaOwner occupied (%)Shared ownership (%)Social rented (%)Private rented (%)Living rent free (%)

Source: ONS


Approx 'built-up' area = 350 hectares (865 acres)

Local authority revenue

Council tax band D for YearCouncil tax payable

Second/holiday 2014

Total dwellings on Council Tax Register5,759
Total number of second homes979
Second homes as a % of total dwellings17.0

Source: Council Tax Register (parish figure)

Ethnicity (%) - 2011 Census

EthnicitySwanagePurbeckDorset (DCC area)
% white British94.696.295.5
% Black and minority ethnic groups (BME)

 Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census

Country of birth (%) - 2011 Census

Country of birthSwanagePurbeckDorset (DCC area)
% born in England90.891.291.0
% born rest of UK3.03.43.4
% born in Rep of IRE0.60.40.4
% born EU (member countries in 2001)
% born EU (Accession countries April 2001 to March 2011)
% born elsewhere3.32.63.1

 Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census

Health - 2011 Census (% of population)

Health Limiting day-to-day Activities

Health limiting activitiesSwanagePurbeckDorset (DCC area)
Day-to-day activities limited a lot (%)
limited a little(%)13.811.211.5
not limited(%)76.180.579.9
limited a lot: Age 16 to 64(%)
limited a little: Age 16 to 64(%)
not limited: Age 16 to 64(%)47.952.051.1

General Health

General healthSwanagePurbeckDorset (DCC area)
Very good health(%)39.445.044.6
Good health(%)38.635.935.9
Fair health(%)
Bad health(%)
Very bad health(%)

Provision of Unpaid Care

Provision of unpaid careSwanagePurbeckDorset (DCC area)
Provides no unpaid care(%)86.387.388.1
Provides 1 to 19 hours unpaid care a week(%)
Provides 20 to 49 hours unpaid care a week(%)
Provides 50 or more hours unpaid care a week(%)

 Source: ONS 2011 Census

Retail profile - total Town floorspace

119 shops/107,000 sq.ft. (2005)

Town centre:

Mainly local shops but includes nationals such as Boots, Co-op,  New Look, Budgens, and WH Smiths.

Catchment population:

The shopping catchment for Swanage (major food shopping) extends around 5 miles in a NW direction towards Wareham. The population within the catchment is around 13,400 (mid 2001).

Library - Number of issues of books etc


Industrial estates

Victoria Avenue Industrial estate(2.8h)

Unemployment % (persons)

Follow this link to see the latest monthly unemployment figures for the area.

Proportion of resident population aged 16-64 (and actual number)

YearMaleFemaleTotalLong term unemployed
(% of all unemployed)
July 19974.8 (100)1.3 (21)3.3 (121)-
July 19983.7 (77)1.1 (18)2.6 (95)-
July 19993.8 (79)0.9(15)2.6 (94)-
July 20002.5 (55)1.0 (171.8 (72)-
July 20011.6 (34)0.5(9)1.1 (43)-
July 20021.2 (26)0.7 (12)1.0 (38)-
July 20031.0 (21)0.6 (10)0.8 (31)-
July 20040.9 (24)0.2 (7)0.5 (31)9.4%
July 20050.7 (18)0.3 (9)0.5 (27)7.4%
July 20061.1 (30)0.4 (11)0.7 (41)4.9%
July 20070.9 (26)0.2 (7)0.6 (33)6.1%
July 20081.0 (29)0.4 (13)0.7 (42)2.4%
July 20092.5 (73)0.9 (25)1.7 (98)5.1%
July 20102.3(66)1.0 (28)1.6 (94)25.8%
July 20111.8 (49)1.1 (31)1.4 (80)7.6%
July 20121.7 (46)1.2(35)1.4 (81)22.2%
July 20131.3 (36)0.9 (27)1.1 (63)18.0%
July 20141.1 (30)0.6 (17)0.8 (47)10.6

Source: ONS Claimant Count figures from NOMIS

The wider economy of the area

To see an economic profile of the wider  Purbeck area follow this link to the  Purbeck Economy & Labour Market Profile 2013 (pdf, 504kb) (opens in a new window) .

2012 employment

Total number of people working in the town: 2,900
Number of firms (excluding the self employed): 390 (2009)

Work patternpercentage


Type of employment%
Production and construction11
Distribution, accommodation and food39
Finance,ICT and professional services6
Other market services6
Public Administration, education and health38

Source: Business Register and Employment Survey, 2012 ONS

Major Employers

Dorset County Council, Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, Ibstock Bricks Ltd, Wire Fittings Ltd, Swanage Hospital

Car ownership

Area% No cars or vans in household% 1 car or van in household% 2 cars or vans in household% 3 cars or vans in household% 4 or more cars or vans in household
England and Wales25.642.
South West18.943.528.36.72.6

Source: 2011 Census (parish figure)

Traffic counts in the wider Swanage area - annual average daily traffic (AADF)

A351East of Corfe Castle4,5006,4007,8008,1008,5008,000
UnclStudland Ferry Roadn/an/an/a3,2002,9002,800

Growth of Daily Traffic Flows (percentage)

RoadLocation1 Year
2 year
10 Years
22 Years

28 Years

A351East of Corfe Castle-5.9%-1%3%25%78%
UnclStudland Ferry Road-3.4%-13%-n/an/an/a

Local authorities

Dorset County Council
County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ
01305 221000

Purbeck District Council
Westport House, Worgret Road
Wareham, Dorset BH20 4PP
01929 556561

Swanage Town Council contact details

Useful Websites

Swanage Town Council website (opens in a new window)

Swanage Town (opens in a new window)

Swanage Railway (opens in a new window)

Powered by GOSS iCM
Dorset Feedback icon