SINePost newsletter - April 2021
In this issue:
- Universal Credit claimants
- Electoral Statistics
- Levels of loneliness
- Housing Affordability estimates
- House price statistics for small areas
- Local Tobacco Control profiles
- Personal Well-being estimates
- Child Benefit statistics
- Forthcoming statistical releases
1. Universal Credit claimants
The latest Universal Credit claimant count shows that Somerset had a total of 15,680 claimants in March 2021.This represents a slight increase on the January 2021 figure quoted in the last instalment of SINePost. This increase since January has also been seen in both the South West figure and the national figure, with Somerset remaining below both. The figure represents a claimant rate of 4.8% of the working age population, compared to the regional figure of 5.1% and the national figure of 6.5%.
You can explore the data further at: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/
2. Electoral Statistics
The number of local government electors in Somerset increased each year between 2018 and 2020, in line with increases to national figures. In March 2020 there were 435,464 local government electors registered in Somerset, a 1.2% increase on the previous year’s figure of 430,171.
The number of parliamentary electors across Somerset four Districts rose by a similar amount in the same period, from 420,181 in 2019 to 425,570 in 2020. Mendip was the only district which saw a decrease in numbers of registered electors, albeit a very small decrease.
For the full dataset, see:https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration
3. Levels of loneliness
The ONS have released estimates of levels of loneliness during the Coronavirus pandemic. In Somerset 5.6% of people reported that they “often or always” felt lonely in the period October 2020 – February 2021. A further 17.1% of people reported feeling lonely “some of the time”. Both figures are below the national figures of 7.2% and 19.67% respectively.
Within Somerset there is some variation; Somerset West and Taunton reported 7.3% for “often or always” whilst Mendip reported only 4.2%. Sedgemoor was 6. 5% and South Somerset 6.1%.
National findings showed that areas with a higher concentration of younger people and areas with higher rates of unemployment tended to have higher rates of loneliness during the study period. Local authorities in rural areas also reported lower rates of loneliness than more urban areas.
Data is from the ONS Opinions and Lifestyles Survey and can be downloaded from:
4. Housing Affordability estimates
The latest house price affordability estimates from the Office for National Statistics show that relative to earnings, house prices in Somerset remain high. The ratio of median house price to median gross annual earnings provides a measure of how affordable it is to get on the property ladder.
On average, full time workers in Somerset in 2020 could expect to pay 8.6 times their annual workplace-based earnings on purchasing a home. This is the lowest figure since 2015, but remains higher than the national ratio of 7.7. It is however slightly lower than the South West regional ratio of 8.8. At District level, the affordability ratio ranged from 7.9 in South Somerset to 9.5 in Mendip.
The analysis uses earnings data based on ‘place of work’ rather than ‘place of residence’ to indicate the extent to which employees can afford to live where they work.
For the full dataset, see:
5. House price statistics for small areas
The Office for National Statistics has published latest ‘small area’ statistics on house prices and sales, for the 12 months to September 2020. The small area data covers electoral wards, Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs).
At MSOA level (small areas typically comprising around 3,000 households), the median price paid for a residential property in the year to September 2020 ranged from £153,475 in Bridgwater Town Centre (based on 138 sales) to £420,000 in Pilton, Butleigh and Alhampton in Mendip area (based on 68 sales).
For the full dataset, see:
6. Local tobacco control profiles
Public Health England has updated its Local Tobacco Control Profiles with newly available data. This data tool provides an overview of the extent of tobacco use and tobacco related harm in the county. Smoking prevalence amongst adults in Somerset in 2019 was estimated to be slightly above the national figure, at 14.4%.
Numbers of smokers in Somerset who had successfully quit during 2019/20 was estimated to be 1,657 per 100,000 smokers, or 1.7%. Quitters are assessed four weeks after their designated quit date and are deemed to be successful if they have not smoked, even a single puff on a cigarette, in the past two weeks. On this measure Somerset is ahead of the South West region (1,412 per 100,000) but behind the national figure for England (1,808 per 100,000).
The profiles are available as an interactive tool at: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/tobacco-control
7. Personal Wellbeing estimates
Life satisfaction, happiness, and feelings that life is ‘worthwhile’ have all decreased in Somerset according to the Office for National Statistics’ latest data for the Measuring National Well-being programme. The data covers the period April – September 2020 and gives an indication of the impact of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic on people’s wellbeing. Results are based on the Annual Population Survey, with respondents asked to rate their current wellbeing on a scale of 0 to 10.
Average feelings of satisfaction amongst respondents in Somerset were 7.75, a decrease from 7.8 in the period of April 2019 to March 2020. Reported levels of happiness saw a similarly decrease, from 7.59 to 7.57, with feelings that life is ‘worthwhile’ averaging 7.99, down from 8.01. Meanwhile, self-reported levels of anxiety remained unchanged. These negative changes are in line with changes to national figures, and Somerset’s ratings are better than UK averages for all four measures.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/
8. Child Benefit Statistics
Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs show that there were 100,110 children (aged 0-19) in Somerset for which Child Benefit was being received in August 2020. An additional 5,520 children had been ‘opted out’ due to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HIBC).
Of the families in Somerset receiving Child Benefit, 46% are currently one-child families; 39% have two children; and 15% have three or more children.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-benefit-statistics-annual-release-august-2020
9. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies over the coming weeks:
- Conceptions in England and Wales: 2019 (ONS)
- Active Lives Survey results (Sport England)
- Subnational estimates of dwellings and households by tenure: 2019 (ONS)
- Crime in England and Wales: 2020 (ONS)
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Please email AHolly@somerset.gov.uk