POLITICS A unitary authority created in local government reorganisation of 1996, when Dyfed was split up into Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion (formerly Cardiganshire). The council is run by an Independent- Liberal Democrat coalition of 24 members. The Plaid Cymru opposition has 16 members, and there is one Labour and one ungrouped independent councillor.
77,000 and growing by about 1,000 a year. Only Merthyr, Anglesey and Blaenau Gwent have fewer inhabitants. Welsh-speakers numbered 59 per cent in the 1991 census.
Mainly rural and agricultural among its 1,800sq kms. Unemployment below average for Wales but large pockets in rural areas where jobs are scarce.
With 10,700 pupils (and numbers still falling), Ceredigion has, with Anglesey, the joint smallest school population. Runs seven comprehensives ranging from 350 to 1,250 pupils, of which two are designated bilingual; 76 primaries, of which the vast majority are Welsh medium. Three-quarters of primaries have fewer than 90 pupils; about half have fewer than 50. Its 11.5 per cent of pupils on free school meals is among lowest in Wales.
GCSEs: 63 per cent gained five or more A*-Cs in 2003, a one-point drop on the previous year and equal first with Powys in Wales (Ceredigion was highest in Wales for the previous seven years).
A-LEVELS: 77 per cent gained two AAS levels A-C or vocational equivalent in 2003, equal first with Anglesey in Wales.
Nearly 60 per cent remain in education after 16.
Ceredigion pupils make up 27 per cent of National Youth Choir and 7 per cent of National Youth Orchestra.
High because council gives education high priority, and small rural schools and bilingualism are expensive. Spending per pupil (primary pound;3,100, secondary pound;3,770 in 2003-4) highest in Wales by some margin.