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


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 links below.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Overview 2017

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Presentation Summary 2017

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Overview 2016

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Overview 2015

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Overview 2013

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Devon Overview 2012