Devon Overview

Devon is the third largest county in England, covering 2,534 square miles. The county council area has around 780,000 residents, with a higher proportion of older people than the national average. It is also one of the most sparsely populated counties, with few large settlements and a dispersed rural population.

The current Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon overview was published in June 2018 and provides a summary of health and wellbeing needs across the Devon County Council area. It contains a range of information about health and the factors that influence the health of the population from a range of sources.

Full Document: JSNA Devon Overview 2018

Presentation Summary: JSNA Devon Overview 2018 Presentation


The main health and wellbeing challenges identified in Devon in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment are:

Population and demographics

  • Older than average population compared to England
  • Growing population particularly those in older age groups
  • Increasing numbers of persons typically not in the labour force aged 65 and over
  • More people moving into Devon compared to moving out of Devon, particularly those aged 30 to 69 years
  • Over 75,000 planned dwellings and 422 hectares of employment land are planned for over the next 15 to 20 years


  • Mental and behavioural disorders account for almost half of persons claiming disability benefits
  • Skilled workforce with higher than average qualifications but lower falling average earnings compared to South West and England
  • Increasing number of persons accessing emergency food supplies
  • More than 1 in 8 households in Devon are considered to experience fuel poverty

 Community and environment 

  • Increased hidden risk in drugs networks, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, problem drinkers and drug users, and modern
  • 1 in 3 sites of special interest and rivers are classed as being in good condition
  • Projected climate change and health impacts


  • More than 15,000 families on the housing register
  • Homelessness is increasing
  • Housing affordability
  • Accessibility of services for people living in rural areas


  • 5% of Devon’s population live in the top 20% most deprived relative to England
  • Rurality and higher deprivation
  • Barriers to housing and services are challenging for certain parts of Devon
  • Housing quality and central heating availability is an issue in many parts of Devon
  • Certain parts of Devon have become more deprived
  • Recent increases in child poverty

Starting Well, Living Well and Ageing Well 

  • Poor mental health
  • Injuries and road deaths
  • Behavioural risk factors
  • Long-term conditions, multi-morbidity and frailty

Previous Reports

Previous JSNA Devon Overview reports are available through the link below.