- The usual resident population of Somerset on Census Day 2011 was estimated to be 529,972. This represents an increase of 31,879 people since the last Census in 2001, a rise of 6.4%.
- The number of people aged 80 and over in Somerset is estimated to have increased by a quarter since the 2001 Census. In 7 electoral wards, more than 10% of residents are now in this age group.
- There are now 58,723 households in Somerset where all residents are aged 65 or over. This represents over a quarter (26.3%) of all households.
- A total of 31,761 Somerset residents in 2011 were born outside the UK, half of which arrived in the last 10 years. 5,287 residents were born in Poland, more than any other country outside the British Isles.
- In 2011, 58,382 people in Somerset indicated that they provided unpaid care, of which 12,313 provided care for at least 50 hours per week.
- There has been a big increase since 2001 in the number of residents with a Level 4 (e.g., Bachelor degree) or above qualification. There are now more people qualified to at least Level 4 (25.6% of those aged 16+) than people with no qualifications (22.4%).
- The proportion of Christians in Somerset declined from 76.7% in 2001 to 64.0% in 2011. The proportion of people who said they had no religious affiliation increased from 14.8% to 26.6% over the same period.
- In 2011, there were 6,071 ‘workless’ households in Somerset with dependent children (households with no adults in employment).
- The number of cars and vans available for use by households in Somerset was 318,697 in 2011, an average of 14 cars per 10 households. Nationally, there were 12 cars per 10 households.
- The proportion of Somerset households with no central heating decreased from 9.1% in 2001 to 3.5% in 2011.
More key statistics and information on specific areas can be accessed from the left hand menu.
NOTE: There is more information on populations and households in the People and Neighbourhoods section.
Other pages in this section
For Census data on all local authorities in England and Wales, please go to www.ons.gov.uk/census
Census Transformation Programme
Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, the ONS has established a Census Transformation Programme. Its aim is to make the best use of all available data in England and Wales to enhance the provision of population statistics. It will:-
- provide an online census in 2021,
- seek to increase the use of administrative data to enhance population statistics,
- form plans for the provision of population statistics after 2021.
Updates on progress are published from time to time on the Census Transformation Programme website.
For example, the ONS have carried out extensive research into the use of administrative data (such as those held by the DWP, NHS Patient Registers and School Census) to generate unofficial estimates of local population sizes.
In November 2016, this methodology provided retrospective estimates for Somerset which are higher than the 2011 Census and 2015 mid-year estimates. More work is being done to understand the differences. However, there is evidence that higher estimates are often found in areas, such as Somerset, with relatively high numbers of seasonal workers, residential schools and people contacting administrative services (eg health and social care).
For more details, see the ONS Administrative Data Census Research Outputs webpage.
We have had a census every ten years since 1801, except when the country was at war in 1941. It is the only survey which provides a detailed picture of the entire population, and is unique because it covers everyone at the same time and asks the same core questions everywhere. This makes it easy to compare different parts of the country. The latest census was held on Sunday 27 March 2011.
Like all local authorities in England and Wales, Somerset relies on census population statistics to underpin planning decisions, secure the government funding we need for public services and make sure that resources are targeted where they are needed most. Numbers of school places and development of traffic schemes are also heavily influenced by the Census. Local community groups and projects across Somerset often use information from the Census to support bids for funding from organisations, resulting in additional investment into local communities.
The School Census is a survey of schools and pupils conducted by the Department for Education. While the national Census is conducted every ten years, schools provide updated School Census data every academic year, providing an ongoing profile of Somerset’s younger population.
While the national 2011 Census estimates a decrease in the number of Under 15s in Somerset since 2001, it is important to note that this is not necessarily indicative of a longer-term trend. The latest Somerset School Population Forecast identifies, for example, that primary school rolls are increasing. The forecasts show a particular demand for additional primary school places in Bridgwater, Taunton and Yeovil over the next few years.