Unitary authority created in 1996 covering the most easterly Welsh valleys, formerly part of Gwent. Stretches 12 miles from Newport in the south and towards Brecon Beacons in the north, with Cardiff, the most densely populated Welsh authority. Labour-led: Lab 34, Ind 7, LibDem 2, Cons 1.
Population about 90,500, more than half in Cwmbran in the south, the only "new town" in Wales, created 50 years ago. Rest in communities of Pontypool and Blaenavon. About one in seven claims to speak Welsh. Only 4 per cent of pupils non-white.
Most employment formerly in mining and steelworks. Now nearly 40 per cent work in public administration, education and health, with nearly a quarter in manufacturing, notably car components. Rest in services, finance, IT and 5 per cent in tourism . Unemployment, with 2.1 per cent claiming job seekers' allowance, below Welsh average of 2.4 per cent but many economically inactive.
About 16,900 pupils in three nurseries, 39 primaries (of which two Welsh medium), one special school and eight comprehensive schools (of which one Welsh medium). Share of primary pupils on free school meals is 21.4 per cent* and of secondary pupils 13.9 per cent*, the primary figure above Welsh average.
More than 92 per cent in 2003-4: 93.4 per cent in primaries and 90.7 per cent in secondaries. Continuous improvement in attendance rates across all phases. Use of permanent exclusion virtually eradicated (only one in 2003-4, none last year).
50 per cent of 16-year-olds achieved five high-grade GCSEs this summer (Welsh average 61 per cent), up from 46 per cent last year.
Total education revenue budget for 2004-5, pound;65 million. Spending per primary pupil has risen sharply and is now broadly on Welsh average but funding per secondary pupil is third lowest in Wales.
Post-16 continuation rates into education, training and employment with training within Torfaen in 2004 were 85.5 per cent, against Welsh average of 82 per cent.