Corporate Strategy 2023-2028

Pembrokeshire in Context


Total population of 123,360 in 2021 which is 3.97% of Welsh total population. This has increased by 0.8% since 2011, representing a lower than the average growth rate for Welsh counties and a lower rate of growth than indicated by previous (mid-year) estimates.

The total population is projected to grow to about 128,500 by 2033 and 130,200 by 2043 (based on 2018 population estimates that will be updated in the light of the 2021 Census). This is a lower growth rate other Welsh councils.

26% of the population are aged over 65, 4th highest in Wales and 35th highest out of all 331 council areas in England and Wales. Only 18.9% of the population is aged 30 – 44, fifth lowest in Wales.  Median age of 48 in 2021 up from 42.9 in 2011.

Life expectancy at birth for men for 2017-2019 is 79.19 years, 8th highest in Wales. For women, the equivalent figures are 83.02 years, which is also the 8th highest. However neither male nor female life expectancy compares favourably with council areas in SW England, many of which have a similar demography and local economy to Pembrokeshire.

About 2.4% of the population is from an ethnic minority based on initial figures from the 2021 Census.

Of the 120,200 Pembrokeshire residents age three and above, 17% can speak Welsh, the 8th highest figure Wales. This is much lower than the 2018 estimate of 30.2% based on Census sample work.


Pembrokeshire covers an area of 1,618 km2, and is the 5th largest county in Wales. 76 people per km2, very similar to Carmarthenshire and about double the density of Ceredigion. (Population is much more evenly distributed than neighbouring authorities.)

Large number of environmental designations including a National Park (the only one designated for its coastal features), Special Areas of Conservation, SSSI’s and regionally important geological and geomorphological sites. Large number of protected species, both flora and fauna, marine and terrestrial.

Transport and Accessibility

2,600 km of roads in total and just under 2,500 km of which is maintained by the Council. 47% of roads are classified as B&C, 42% are minor roads and 11% are A roads (inc trunk). It is 75km to the start of the nearest motorway.

In 2021 road traffic was around 627 million vehicle miles, about 85% of the average in the four years prior to the pandemic.

Pembrokeshire has two ports offering crossing to the Republic of Ireland. The most recent figures from 2021 were impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions. Fishguard handled 105,000 passenger movements in 2021 (a long term decline of about 75% since 2011) whilst Pembroke handled 118,000 (a decline of about 64% since 2019). Holyhead is the main port for the Republic of Ireland, with 75% of the passenger market, but this too has declined by 57% between 2019 and 2021.

Milford Haven was the fourth largest port in the UK in 2021 (based on tonnage) at around 30 million tonnes. Milford Haven remains one of the UK’s most significant energy ports.

In Pembrokeshire 0.6% are unable to receive decent broadband. 82% are receiving more than 30 mbps. There is ongoing significant investment in full fibre and 30% of homes now have access to gigabit capable fibre to the premise. This is expected to rise to 50% by the end of the 2023 calendar year.


73.8% in employment in 2022, 14% of whom are self-employed compared with 8.5% in Wales.

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions will have had a direct impact on the main employment sectors on the most recent 2021 data. The following are the top five sectors in Pembrokeshire based on BRES data 2021 (which focusses on employees): Accommodation & food services 16%; Health 16%; Retail 10%; Education 9%; Public administration & defence 6%. 2021 Census data, which includes people who are self-employed, paints a similar picture with the exception of construction – 10% based on the 2021 Census but only 5% based on BRES.

In 2019 the Pembrokeshire tourism industry was worth £590m per year with 7.053m visits, supporting 9,244 FTE jobs and 101,341 bed spaces. In very broad terms, the number of visits is similar to Swansea Bay, however, the number of jobs supported by the industry is about double in Pembrokeshire compared with Swansea Bay. The pandemic had a direct impact on 2020 and 2021 figures; 2022 figures are not yet available.

Pembrokeshire’s Claimant Count rate (which is a measure of unemployment) as at March 2023 is 4.3% of the economically active population, the same as the all-Wales rate.

As at 2022, Pembrokeshire has the ninth highest median hourly full time rate for earnings of £609.60. This is a significant increase on the 2020 figure. 25th percentile earnings are £474.70, the sixth highest for this measure for Wales and a significant relative improvment compared with 2020.

In 2021/22, Pembrokeshire has the fourth higher percentage of children living in relative poverty, some 24.7%. Pembrokeshire has the second highest rate of absolute child poverty in Wales at 17.2%. Whilst poverty, especially relative poverty, has increased following the pandemic, Pembrokeshire’s position compared with other Welsh local authorities remains largely unchanged. Child poverty rates vary considerably across Pembrokeshire.

Children and adult social services

As at January 2023 there were 54 children on the child protection register and 233 looked after children.

As at January 2023, there were around 641 adults receiving a domiciliary care service. This number has steadily declined over time from around 1,400 five years ago dropping to around 1,000 in March 2020 and 740 in January 2021. Part of this reason is an increase in the use of Direct Payments.

As at March 2023 PCC has the capacity to directly provide 36 of the 775 residential care beds across all types of settings (e.g. residential, respite) across Pembrokeshire. Whilst still a small percentage, this halts/reverses a decades-long decline in PCC direct provision of residential social care.

Social care is a significant employer. As at 2022 there are around 841 people working in Pembrokeshire in domiciliary and day care or supporting people roles in addition to around 976 working in residential care (including learning disability and mental health settings).


There are 61 Schools in Pembrokeshire with around 17,220 pupils on roll. We have some of the smallest as well as largest primary schools in Wales.

12.1% of pupils aged 5 and over are fluent in Welsh, which is lower than the Wales average of 15.6%.

5.8% of pupils aged five and over are from ethnic minorities, below the Wales average of 12.6%.

The Council and its workforce

Pembrokeshire County Council has 60 elected members, who represent one of 59 wards within the County (58 wards are represented by a single member, one ward has two members). There are a large number of elected members who are not affiliated to a political party. 13 Councillors are women, an increase from 7 prior to the May 2022 elections.

There are 77 Community Councils covering all of Pembrokeshire except Caldey Island.  The median average precept in 2023-24 was £8,300 but a quarter have precepts of £24,700 or over. There are around 600 community councillors in Pembrokeshire. About 90% of these were elected unopposed in May 2022’s elections or have been co-opted.

As at March 2023 5,580 people worked for the Council (excluding casual employees) across 6,519 positions; some employees have more than one job.

Around 70% of employees are female. The gender pay gap in 2022 was 1.6% - this means women earn 98p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay.  As at March 2023, the median average FTE salary in the Council was £23,194 (this information is published in our pay policy statement).

The median age of the Council’s workforce is 49 years and the demographic profile is less diverse than Pembrokeshire as a whole. Two percent of the workforce are from a non-UK White background and only 2% of the workforce identify as being disabled, well below what might be expected.

ID: 10903, revised 06/10/2023