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The ONS definition of the area has a population around 335,415 and includes Sunderland, Whitburn, Washington, Hetton-le-Hole, Bournmoor, South Hetton, Springwell Village, Ouston, Pelton, Chester-Le-Street and Houghton-le-Spring. The local government district named the 'City of Sunderland' has a lower population of 280,807.
Like other parts of the North East, Wearside and Sunderland were economically structured by Primary industry; with a great deal of the economy once dependent on ship building and coal mining with large collieries such as Monkwearmouth Colliery, which declined rapidly during the mid 20th century, many areas have long been deprived with vast areas of unemployment as a result. The city of Sunderland and parts of Wearside have been slowly rejuvenated over the years and industry is now largely based around call centres, although many areas such as Easington still face social problems today.
The Sunderland Echo is the newspaper of Wearside and is sold throughout the area and available online. The other main online news source for Wearside is BBC North East and Cumbria. BBC Radio for the area is broadcast by BBC Newcastle on 95.4FM. Local commercial radio is broadcast by 103.4 Sun FM for Wearside and 107 Spark FM for the City of Sunderland. Metro Radio broadcasts across Tyne and Wear with Real Radio North East broadcasting across the whole of the north east of England. TV news is for the whole North East region and broadcast by the BBC from their Newcastle studios or ITV Tyne Tees from their studios in Gateshead.
The Wearside Football League is one of the levels in the English football league system and contains amateur teams such as Easington Colliery A.F.C. and Seaham Red Star F.C.. The only professional football team located in the area is Sunderland A.F.C., a team based in Sunderland.
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