1. House Price statistics for small areas
The Office for National Statistics has published latest ‘small area’ statistics on house prices and sales, covering electoral wards, Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs):
Based on MSOAs (areas typically comprising around 3,000 households), the median price paid for a residential property in the year to September 2018 ranged from £140,000 in and around Yeovil town centre (based on 136 property sales) to £500,000 in the Frome surrounding area (based on 132 sales).
Compared to the preceding year, the median price paid for residential property increased in 52 neighbourhoods (MSOAs), was unchanged in two, and declined in 17 areas.
Overall there were 9,924 properties sales in Somerset in the year to September 2018, representing the lowest figure since 2013/14.
2. Housing Affordability estimates
House prices in Somerset remain high relative to earnings, in latest affordability estimates from the Office for National Statistics. The ratio of median house price to median gross annual earnings provides a measure of how affordable it is to get onto the property ladder.
On average, full-time workers in Somerset in 2018 could expect to pay 8.7 times their annual workplace-based earnings on purchasing a home. By comparison, the national average ratio in 2018 was 7.8. The analysis uses earnings data based on ‘place of work’ rather than the ‘place of residence’ to indicate the extent to which employees can afford to live where they work.
At a district level, the affordability ratio in 2018 ranged from 8.2 in South Somerset to 11.0 in Mendip (no figure is available for West Somerset due to its limited sample size). It may be noted that these ratios may hide considerable variations within district areas, and between urban and rural areas.
For the full dataset, see:
3. Electoral Statistics
The number of local government electors in Somerset has declined marginally in latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
As at 1st December 2018 there were 419,744 local government electors registered, down from 420,715 a year earlier (a fall of 0.2%). This decline was in line with a national decrease. Numbers of electors increased within Mendip and Sedgemoor but declined in other district areas.
The number of parliamentary electors (within Somerset’s five constituencies) was 409,884 on 1st December 2018, down from 412,524 the previous year.
4. Electricity and Gas Consumption
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published postcode-level data on domestic electricity and gas consumption (for 2017), with the aim of supporting energy efficiency and carbon reduction schemes.
Previous analysis (based on LSOA data) has indicated that areas with the highest average electricity usage are predominantly rural. In 2017, overall mean domestic electricity consumption was 53% higher in Somerset’s rural villages than in urban areas (5,403kWh per electricity meter compared to 3,535kWh per meter).
Similarly, mean domestic gas consumption was around 41% higher in rural villages and hamlets than in urban areas of Somerset (15,134kWh per meter compared to 10,734kWh per meter).
5. Marriages statistics
The number of marriages of opposite-sex couples in Somerset increased marginally in 2016 to a total of 3,151, according to latest annual figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Approximately 68% of marriages in Somerset in 2016 were civil ceremonies and 32% were religious. Numbers of religious ceremonies continue to decline but remain above the national average rate (of 25% in 2016).
The age at which people are marrying continues to increase overall. The number of marriages in which the bride was aged under 25 has declined from 553 in 2001 to 172 in 2016. Nevertheless, there was a marked recent upturn in marriages where the groom was aged under 25, from 179 marriages in 2015, to 338 in 2016 (representing the highest annual figure since at least 2001).
Marriage statistics for same-sex couples are not currently published by the ONS at local authority level. Nationally, 97.2% of all marriages were between opposite-sex couples and 2.8% were between same-sex couples.
6. Child Health Profile
Public Health England has published its latest annual snapshot of child health and wellbeing at a local authority level:
In comparing local indicators with England averages, the profile describes the health and wellbeing of children in Somerset as ‘mixed’.
Key findings include:
- The infant mortality rate in Somerset is similar to England, with an average of 17 infants dying before age 1 each year. Recently there have been 10 child deaths each year on average.
- The teenage pregnancy rate in Somerset is similar to England, with 163 girls becoming pregnant in a year.
- 81.8% of mothers in Somerset initiate breastfeeding (which is better than the England average).
- Dental health is better than England: 19.6% of 5-year-olds have one or more decayed, filled or missing tooth.
- The rate of child inpatient admissions for mental health conditions, at 146.3 per 100,000, is worse than England. The rate for self-harm, at 783.5 per 100,000, is worse than England.
7. Small Area Child Obesity statistics
Public Health England has published latest small area (electoral ward and MSOA) data on child excess weight and obesity, combining three years of data from the National Child Measurement Programme (2015/16 to 2017/18):
For Reception children in Somerset, estimated obesity rates range from 3.8% in the Ilchester/Yeovilton area of South Somerset, to 12.7% in the Hamp area of Bridgwater (based on MSOA data). For Year 6 children, obesity rates ranged from 8.0% in the Taunton Dowslands/Corfe area of Taunton Deane to 26.6% in the Milford Road area of Yeovil.
Overall, Somerset has a lower prevalence of obesity among Reception children than the England average (8.5% compared to 9.5%) and a lower prevalence among Year 6 children (16.6% compared to 20.0%), based on the latest three-year period.
8. Pupil Absence in Schools statistics
Overall pupil absence across state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in Somerset increased from 4.9% in 2016/17 to 5.1% in 2017/18, according to figures published by the Department for Education (DfE). Nationally, pupil absence also increased, from 4.7% to 4.8% over the same period.
In Somerset primary schools the overall absence rate increased from 4.2% to 4.3% and the rate in secondary schools increased from 5.7% to 6.0%.
One in nine Somerset pupils were persistently absent during the academic year 2017/18 (that is, missing more than 10% of possible school sessions), mirroring the national picture.
9. Local Tobacco Control Profile
Public Health England has updated its Local Tobacco Control Profiles data tool, providing an overview of the extent of tobacco use and tobacco related harm in the county. The latest update includes the addition of several new indicators, including rates of premature birth, low birth weight of term babies and hospital admissions for asthma (in under 19s):
Somerset continues to appear better than, or similar to, national average benchmarks in respect of the majority of existing and new indicators. Furthermore, following successive years of improvement, Somerset’s smoking in pregnancy rate now appears in line with the national average benchmark for the first time.
10. Living Longer: Caring in Later Working Life analysis
The Office for National Statistics has published analysis on the interplay between caring and working in later life:
The analysis identifies that as the UK population gets older, an increasing number of workers are providing care towards the end of their working life for family members. One in four older female workers, and one in eight older male workers, have caring responsibilities.
- An ageing population means that more older workers may need to take on caring responsibilities, particularly for a parent, in the future.
- Informal care providers are hugely important to the economy and society. Yet being a carer can come at great personal cost.
- Most carers are women, who are likely to be working part-time. These part-time jobs will be lower paid than full-time equivalents, leading to lower future pension security.
At the time of the last national census (2011), approximately 57,000 adults in Somerset identified that they provided unpaid care, of which more than half (55%) were in employment.
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during April:
- Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England: 31 March 2018 (DfE)
- Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people aged 19 in 2018 (DfE)
- Conceptions in England and Wales: 2017
- Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2018 (ONS)
- Income and tax by borough and district or unitary authority (HMRC)
- Liver disease profiles: April 2019 update (PHE)