Thursday, January 04, 2007

The dying Welsh

According to a new survey by CACI/TNS, eight of the sickest towns in Britain are from Wales, with Merthyr Tydfil topping the list. The top ten places of serious illness and poor diet are;

i) Merthyr Tydfil
ii) Easington
iii) Rhondda, Cynon, Taff
iv) Neath Port Talbot
v) Blaenau Gwent
vi) Caerphilly
vii) Bolsover
viii) Bridgend
x) Carmarthenshire

The healthiest places are apparently the Scilly Isles, Eden, Orkney and the City of London.

According to a different survey carried out in 1999 for the National Assembly of Wales, an astonishing 43% of Merthyr residents reported a health problem. 33% had arthritis, 22% a mental illness, 30% a respiratory illness, 24% were being treated for heart disease and 35% for back pain.

One possible explanation might be this;

Drinking in the pub ranked as the top leisure pursuit for Welsh men and women.

Wales currently has a population of 2.9 million growing at an annual rate of 2.3%. This is significantly slower than England (3.9%) or N Ireland (4.1%) but ahead of the dire demographics of Scotland (5.1mm shrinking by 0.5% each year).

But the Welsh population is not only ailing but ageing.

Between 1976 and 2000, the number of children attending school dropped by 13% to 478,000.

Even tourists are no longer coming with numbers down 25% since 1974.
I have a deep affection for Wales for as a child i took all my summer holidays here. My grandparents lived on the island of Anglesey (the northern tip of Wales) - an area more beautiful than any you could imagine. It is so sad to see this once proud nation reduced to a sovereign welfare state.

Incidentally, the NHS is now the largest employer in Merthyr Tydfil.