This is a far more urban seat than the neighbouring Cunninghame North. Irvine is the largest town in the constituency, and is the only new town to be sited on the coast in Britain and, like Cumbernauld, grew up to accommodate the overspill of Glasgow's population.
Although the region has suffered from problems associated with unemployment, Irvine has become home to the largest inward investment project in Scotland - the Caledonian paper mill - which has led to the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs.
Like most seats based around new towns, the constituency has a high proportion of council house tenants - 55% here at the last census in 1991. The seat as a whole is working-class in character with a varied industrial base and a tradition of Labour voting.
Cunninghame South is the successor seat to Ayrshire Central, and has been held by Labour since 1959.