Serving Personnel and Dependants
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Census in 2011 asked respondents whether they worked in the armed forces. The key facts for Somerset are as follows:-
- 3,171 said they worked for the armed forces and were usual residents of Somerset
- Almost two in three (65%) lived in a household and just over one in three (36%) were in a communal establishment (principally the military bases of RNAS Yeovilton in South Somerset or Norton Camp in Taunton Deane)
- The armed forces population was much younger than the general population; almost 64% were in the 16-34 age group and only 7.5% were aged 50 or more
- 92% were male
- 65% of those aged 16-24 lived in a communal establishment but most of the older armed forces employees lived elsewhere.
- Armed forces broadly reflect the ethnic profile of the county’s residents; 5.5% were not White British (171 people)
Ministry of Defence statistics
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) publishes numbers of its military and civilian personnel by local authority an annual basis on the Gov.uk website. The key facts for Somerset are as follows:-
- At 1st October 2017, there were 4,670 MoD personnel working in Somerset
- Seven out of ten (70%) were military and three in ten (30%) were civilians
- MoD personnel were employed primarily in the Naval service
- Overall numbers of personnel declined from 5,100 in October 2012 to 4,370 in October 2014, before a general increase.
- Based on GP registrations at Somerset NHS CCG on 1st April 2014, the armed forces personnel age profile is slightly more likely to be aged 25 to 34 and less likely to be aged 50+ compared with 2011 Census data.
Dependants of Serving Armed Forces personnel
Families of Service personnel often face a number of particular challenges due to the nature of Service life, such as separation from extended family, the remote location of many military bases and the absence of one parent at short notice and often for long periods. There are no definitive data on the numbers of dependants of serving armed forces personnel living in a particular area. Wiltshire Council, in its 2012 research report Military Population in Wiltshire and the South West, estimated from the MoD's Armed Forces Continuous Attitudinal Survey that for every serving member of the Forces there is approximately one spouse and/or child in Somerset. In 2012 that was estimated to be between 3,300 and 3,900 people, including 1,700 to 2,200 children.
Central government pays a 'Pupil Premium', additional funding made to schools to raise attainment amongst disadvantaged pupils. This group includes children of servicemen and women. For the 2019/20 financial year a total of 1,794 children in Somerset were eligible for the Service Child Pupil Premium, to a total value of £538,200.
Action research on the presence and needs of the Armed Forces Community in the South West of England report – a report commissioned by councils in the South West of England to enhance understanding of the presence and needs of the local Armed Forces Community (AFC) in the region.
Veterans & Families Research Hub – source of UK and international discussion, literature and research about military veterans and their families, created by Anglia Ruskin University.
Loneliness and Social Isolation in the Armed Forces Community - Research by the Royal British Legion. See also Social Isolation and Loneliness