2. Births statistics
The number of live births declined for the third successive year in Somerset in 2018 according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This represented the lowest annual figure for at least ten years.
There were a total of 5,224 live birth during 2018, down from 5,367 births during 2017, and 9% lower than a recent peak of 5,764 births during 2011.
The total fertility rate (TFR) in Somerset decreased from 1.89 to 1.83 children per woman in 2018. The highest TFR in 2018 was in South Somerset (1.89) and the lowest in Sedgemoor (1.68).
Declines in numbers of births and fertility rates in Somerset are mirroring national downward trends.
For the full dataset, see: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/datasets
3. Understanding Towns analysis
The Office for National Statistics has published the first in a series of articles providing new data and analysis on towns in England and Wales (defined as urban areas with a population of 5,000 or over), as a result of increasing national policy interest. Analysis initially focuses on population and workplace employment growth, for the period 2009 to 2017.
Results indicate that all Somerset towns have experienced population growth over the period, ranging from 2% in Crewkerne to 18% in Wincanton. In line with two-thirds of towns nationally, most Somerset towns have also seen employment growth over the period; the exceptions being the (generally larger) towns of Bridgwater, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil.
The analysis is due to be followed up with additional articles, looking in more detail at how towns are progressing, using data on demographics, economy, health and a range of other topics.
4. Working and Workless Households
There are estimated to be 19,000 ‘workless’ households in Somerset in latest annual (2018) figures published by the Office for National Statistics. This represents 11.3% of all households. A workless household is defined as one containing at least one person aged 16 to 64 and where no-one aged 16 or over is in employment.
Somerset ranks 151st highest of 200 county and unitary authorities in Great Britain in terms of proportions of workless households. Somerset ranks 8th out of 15 authorities within the South West of England.
An estimated 9,000 children (aged under 16) in Somerset live in workless households, representing 9% of the child population. An estimated 24,000 children live in ‘mixed’ households (where at least one person works and one person is unemployed or inactive) and 72,000 children live in ‘working’ households (where all individuals are in employment). It should be noted that estimates are based on survey data and in some cases are not considered reliable for practical purposes.
For the full dataset, see: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment
5. Volunteering statistics
An estimated 25% of adults (aged 16 or over) in the South West of England take part in formal volunteering at least once a month, according to the latest annual ‘Community Life’ Survey from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Applying this proportion to Somerset’s population demographic would equate to around 115,000 regular adult volunteers.
Formal volunteering is defined as those giving unpaid help through an organisation or club. When looking at all volunteering (formal and informal), 68% of adults in the South West engaged at least once in the last year, representing the highest rate of any English region.
For further details, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/community-life-survey-2018-19
6. Walking and Cycling statistics
Somerset residents are more likely to participate in cycling than their national counterparts according to figures from the Department for Transport, based on Sport England’s Active Lives Survey (covering November 2017 to November 2018). Participation rates in respect of walking are broadly in line with national averages.
- An estimated 12.7% of Somerset residents cycle at least once a week, compared to 11.5% in England as a whole. The higher Somerset rate is largely due to people who cycle for leisure purposes (as opposed to travel/work reasons).
- An estimated 69.6% of Somerset residents walk at least once a week (continuously, for at least 10 minutes), compared to 69.5% nationally. Walking for leisure purposes is higher in Somerset but this is offset by lower proportions walking for travel/work.
For the full dataset, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/walking-and-cycling-statistics-cw#participation-in-walking-and-cycling
7. Crime statistics
There were 38,368 crimes recorded in Somerset during 2018/19 according to the Office for National Statistics, representing a rate of 69 crimes per 1,000 population.
Within the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area, crime rates ranged from 59 per 1,000 in South Gloucestershire to 115 per 1,000 in Bristol.
Overall, there was a 3% increase in recorded crime in Somerset in 2018/19 compared to the preceding year. Largest increases were seen in robbery and non-residential burglary. Largest falls were seen in drug offences and bicycle theft.
It should be noted that police recorded crime can be affected by a number of factors, including changes in recording practices, policing activity and willingness of victims to report. A rise or fall in recorded crime does not necessarily mean the actual level of crime in society has changed.
8. School Exclusions
There were a total of 110 permanent exclusions of pupils from state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in Somerset during the 2017/18 academic year, according to figures published by the Department for Education. This represented 0.16% of all pupils, which was above the national average rate of 0.10% of pupils.
During 2017/18, there were a total of 5,246 fixed-period exclusions in Somerset state-funded schools, representing a rate of 7.53 per 100 pupils on roll. This was above the national average rate of 5.08.
A total of 8,681 school days were ‘lost’ due to fixed-period exclusions in Somerset during 2017/18, with an average of 4.04 days lost per excluded pupil. Nationally, exclusions were, on average, longer at 4.41 days per pupil.
For the full dataset, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018
9. Service Families Attitude Survey results
Latest annual results from the national Tri-service Families Continuous Attitude Survey have been released by the Ministry of Defence. The survey monitors the views of spouses and civil partners of armed forces personnel in areas such as childcare, employment, family life, housing and the Armed Forces Covenant.
Findings from the latest survey include:
- 59% are satisfied with their quality of life married to a member of the Armed Forces.
- 77% of Service partners are employed (up from 68% in 2014).
- Half of Service families have school-age children, with 16% having had a child change schools for Service reasons (down from 22% in 2015).
10. English Housing Survey results
Further results of the latest English Housing Survey have been released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The national survey, first run in 2008/09, aims to assess the ongoing circumstances and condition of housing in England.
Findings from the 2017/18 survey include:
- Over half of owner-occupied homes are under-occupied (i.e. have two or more spare bedrooms). Two thirds of home owners aged 65+ live in an under-occupied home.
- While owner occupied homes were less likely to have poor housing conditions than homes in the private rented sector, the social rented sector had the lowest prevalence of poor housing conditions.
- The neighbourhood issues people most commonly consider to be problems are litter and crime. Ethnic tension and harassment on the grounds of nationality, race or religion are mentioned less often.
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during August:
- Fire statistics incident level datasets (Home Office)
- Local area migration indicators, UK: 2018 (ONS)
- Suicides in the UK: 2018 registrations (ONS)
- Dementia profile: August 2019 data update (PHE)
- Local Alcohol Profiles for England: August 2019 data update (PHE)
- Individual Insolvencies by Ward, England and Wales, 2018 (Insolvency Service)