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County Durham
Flag of County Durham
Coat of arms of County Durham
Shown within Durham ceremonial county
Shown within Durham ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth East England
Unitary Authority1 April 2009
 • TypeNon-metropolitan
Unitary authority
 • Local AuthorityDurham County Council
 • MPsMary Foy (L)
Dehenna Davison (C)
Paul Howell (C)
Grahame Morris (L)
Kevan Jones (L)
Richard Holden (C)
 • Total528,127 (Ranked 10th)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Dialling code0191
ISO 3166-2GB-DUR
ONS code00EJ (ONS)
E06000047 (GSS)

County Durham is a local government district in the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is governed by Durham County Council, a unitary authority.[2] The district has an area of 2,232.6 km2 (862 sq m), and contains 135 civil parishes.[3] It forms part of the larger ceremonial county of Durham, together with boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool, and the part of Stockton-on-Tees north of the River Tees.


Between 1974 and 1 April 2009, County Durham was governed as a two-tier non-metropolitan county, with a county council and district councils. The original eight districts were Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Derwentside, Durham (city), Easington, Sedgefield, Teesdale, and Wear Valley.[4] In 1997 Darlington was removed from the non-metropolitan county and became a separate unitary authority.[5] In 2009 the remaining districts were abolished and replaced by a single district covering the non-metropolitan county, with Durham County Council as the sole local authority.[6]


The district has multiple hamlets and villages. Settlements with town status include Consett, Barnard Castle, Peterlee, Seaham, Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Shildon, Chester-le-Street, Crook, Stanley, Willington, Stanhope, Spennymoor, Ferryhill and Sedgefield while Durham is the only city in the district.[citation needed]

Neighbouring council areas
Local authority In relation to the district
Northumberland North
Gateshead North east
City of Sunderland North east
Hartlepool South east
Stockton-on-Tees South east
Darlington South
North Yorkshire South
Westmorland and Furness West


Following the 2021 United Kingdom local elections, the council is now[when?] under control of a coalition of the Liberal Democrats, Conservative Party, Independents and North East Party.[citation needed]


Further information: List of schools in County Durham

Durham LEA has a comprehensive school system with 36 state secondary schools (not including sixth form colleges) and five independent schools (four in Durham and one in Barnard Castle). Easington district has the largest school population by year, and Teesdale has the smallest with two schools. Only one school in Easington and Derwentside districts have sixth forms, with about half the schools in the other districts having sixth forms.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Durham Local Authority (E06000047)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "Durham unitary authority approved". BBC News. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  3. ^ "County Durham". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Durham council leader explains the benefits of a becoming large unitary authority". The Northern Echo. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  5. ^ "The Durham (Borough of Darlington) (Structural Change) Order 1995". Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  6. ^ "The County Durham (Structural Change) Order 2008". Retrieved 18 June 2023.