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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 15:45 GMT
North West has highest divorce rate
Separated couple
The North West has the highest divorce rates
Parts of the North West have the highest number of divorced people and lone parent families in England and Wales, according to the 2001 census figures.

The region is also one of only two areas where the population has fallen over the last 10 years.

The population fell by 1.7% but the North West remains the most densely populated area of England and Wales after London.

The statistics came from forms sent out on census day 2001 which asked 40 questions to get a detailed picture of life in the UK and how it has changed over the past 10 years.

Poor health

It reveals that the town with the highest proportion of divorced and separated people in the country is Blackpool, with 15.2%.

The regional proportion of lone parent households also is 7.7% - compared to 6.4% nationally.

Conversely, Congleton, in Cheshire, has the highest proportion of married people at 59%.

The survey also said that the population of Manchester had dropped by 40,000, a figure which has been disputed by several MPs in the city who believe many people did not fill in the forms.

One fifth of people in the region said they had a long term illness, higher than the national average, while Blackpool, Liverpool and Knowsley, in Merseyside, are among the top 20 in the country for poor health.

Knowsley also has the lowest proportion of people who stated they have no religion at all in the census.


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