PEOPLE in Wales are more likely to feel ill, be old but own their own home than their English counterparts.
Eight of the top 10 local authority areas in the whole of England and Wales in which residents reported suffering very bad health are this side of the border.
They include Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot.
Wales also has a higher proportion of unpaid carers than the English regions, according to new 2011 Census results.
An army of 370,000 of them — or 12 per cent of the Welsh population — look after relatives and friends, 100,000 of whom provide more than 50 hours of care per week.
Wales' population has increased by five per cent to 3.1 million compared to 2001, as reported previously in the Post. Around 90 per cent of this growth was due to migration, including people moving to Wales from elsewhere in the UK, as well as international migration.
Some 20 per cent of us are aged over 65 or 85, while 35 per cent of us own a home outright — more than any of the English regions.
Pete Stokes, of the ONS (Office for National Statistics), said the high incidence of poor health, unpaid carer numbers and home ownership rates generally chimed with a high proportion of elderly people.
But Wales has also seen a marked increase in single parent families and one-person households.
Mr Stokes felt another revelation was the fact that more than 74,000 of the new 90,000 households created in Wales since 2001 were in rented rather then occupier-owned accommodation.
He added: "The story I think is most interesting is the story of religion. One in three people in Wales said they have no religion."
Wales also saw the biggest decline in people giving their religion as Christian, while other religions saw rises.
Mr Stokes that although numbers of Welsh speakers had declined by a small amount, 30 per cent of current Welsh speakers are aged under 16.
He added that the language was in better health than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
Referring to the high reporting of very bad health in Wales, Swansea GP Ian Millington said it was important to note that the data was based on people's own perceptions.
"Maybe it is something to do with the Welsh persona," he said. But he added that Wales's heavy industry legacy and "significant amount of deprivation" probably contributed to the worrying health findings.
"Chronic disease prevalence, like heart disease and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is high in Wales," said Dr Millington.
"Lifestyle can be an important contributory factor. I think that certainly there is more obesity — and we are not known as the lightest of drinkers, shall we say. But I don't think we should be blaming people for ill health."
Despite a decade of migration into — and out of — the UK, Wales's ethnicity remains overwhelmingly white and British (including Welsh) — 93.2 per cent in fact.
The corresponding figure for Swansea is 91.5 per cent. The remaining ethnic groups include other white (2 per cent), Chinese (0.9 per cent), Bangladeshi (0.8 per cent) and Indian (0.6 per cent). These Asian groups are also referred to as Asian British.
Carmarthenshire's white population meanwhile is 95.5 per cent, and Neath Port Talbot's is 96.9 per cent.
Just over half of us in Wales consider ourselves Christian, while Muslims represented 1.5 per cent of the population, with Hindu and Buddhist both 0.3 per cent.
Taha Idris, chairman of Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council, said he felt last year's census had under-estimated the true numbers of Bangladeshis in Swansea (down from 1,014 to 966).
"I feel there has been a low take-up of census forms," he said.
But Mr Idris added that the low percentage of ethnic groups in Wales proved that those who spread alarmist messages about non-whites taking over were wrong.
He said: "The people who are here are part of our society. They contribute to our society, and make it what it is."
Mr Idris added: "The world is a very small place these days — Indian-owned Tata Steel is a prime example of this."