1. Latest Population Estimates
Somerset’s population has increased by 3,749 to 555,195 in the latest annual estimate from the Office for National Statistics. Known as the ‘mid-year estimate’ (MYE), this represents an estimate of the population on 30th June 2017.
The annual percentage increase in Somerset’s population (up 0.7%) was marginally below the South West rate (0.8%) but above the England and Wales rate (0.6%).
At a district level, Taunton Deane saw the biggest percentage increase (up 1.3% to 117,423), followed by West Somerset (up 1.1% to 34,865), Sedgemoor (up 0.7% to 122,178), South Somerset (up 0.4% to 167,216) and Mendip (up 0.3% to 113,513). Despite the increase in West Somerset, its population remains below the level it was a decade ago.
In the last ten years the median age of Somerset’s population has increased from 43.3 years to 46.7 years. Taunton Deane consistently has the lowest median age and West Somerset the highest (with mid-2017 figures of 45.0 and 55.0 years respectively). For England and Wales as a whole, the median age is 39.9 years.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates
2. Migration estimates
More people continue to move into Somerset than move out according to latest ‘internal’ migration estimates. In the year to June 2017 an estimated 3,404 more people moved into Somerset from elsewhere in the UK than moved out.
As a result, 78% of the overall population growth in Somerset is explained by internal migration from within the UK. International migration (that is, from outside the UK) accounted for 17% of population growth (a net increase of 747 people). The remaining growth is attributed to ‘other’ movements, e.g. armed forces personnel. Somerset’s population increase is countered by ‘natural change’, with 643 fewer births than deaths in the county in the year to June 2017.
Somerset continues to see a net ‘inflow’ across most age groups but with a key exception being the 18-20 age group. Amongst 18 to 20 year-olds, an estimated 2,300 more moved away from the county than moved in.
3. Housebuilding statistics
The number of new permanent dwellings completed in Somerset declined for the second successive year in 2017/18, in figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
A total of 1,970 new permanent dwellings were completed during 2017/18, compared to 2,030 dwellings in 2016/17, and 2,250 dwellings in 2015/16. Of the new homes built in 2017/18, approximately 86% were built through private enterprise, and approximately 14% through housing associations.
A total of 1,970 new permanent dwellings were started in Somerset in 2017/18, representing an increase on the 1,880 starts during 2016/17.
For further details, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building (Table 253).
4. House Price Statistics for Small Areas
The Office for National Statistics has published its latest ‘small area’ data on house prices and sales, covering electoral wards, Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) and Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs):
In 2017, the median price paid within Somerset’s neighbourhoods (MSOAs) ranged from £134,000 in parts of Bridgwater, to £428,000 in the Wedmore area of Sedgemoor. Compared to 2016, the median price paid for residential property increased in 59 neighbourhoods, was unchanged in one, and declined in 11 neighbourhoods.
5. Homelessness statistics
Local authorities in Somerset received 655 homelessness applications during 2017/18 according to figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), a decline of 13% on the 2016/17 figure.
A total of 397 households were accepted as statutorily homeless during 2017/18 (representing 61% of all homelessness applications). This was 6% fewer homelessness acceptances than during 2016/17. South Somerset and Taunton Deane saw the highest rates of acceptances (2.10 and 2.64 per 1,000 households respectively) and Mendip the lowest (0.35 per 1,000) households. The national rate was 2.41 (or 2.08 per 1,000 outside London).
A total of 1,206 Somerset households were prevented from becoming homeless during 2017/18 through positive action by local authorities (that is, action outside the homelessness statutory framework). This compared to 1,465 households during 2016/17.
An additional 69 cases of homelessness ‘relief’ were recorded in 2017/18 (where an authority was unable to prevent homelessness but helped secure alternative accommodation). This was a decrease on the 198 cases during 2016/17.
6. Fuel Poverty estimates
The number of Somerset households living in fuel poverty has declined in latest estimates from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The new (2016-based) estimate of 24,391 fuel-poor households represents a reduction of 3,246 households on the previous year’s figure. At a rate of 10.2% of all households, fuel poverty in Somerset is now below the national average rate (of 11.1% in 2016).
A household is considered to be fuel poor if:
- they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level)
- were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.
Highest rates of fuel poverty are generally found in areas of deprivation and in rural areas (typically those containing older, less energy-efficient properties, and with no access to the gas grid). West Somerset district has the highest fuel poverty rate in Somerset (11.6% of households) and Taunton Deane the lowest (9.6%).
Rates vary considerably at local level. The individual areas with the highest rates in 2016 were in Bridgwater (Hamp area), Yeovil (Westfield area) and Taunton (Roman Road area).
7. Child Health Profiles 2018
Public Health England (PHE) has now published ‘user friendly’ pdf versions of its current child health profiles, following delays in publication earlier in the year. The profiles present a picture of child health and wellbeing for all (upper tier) local authority areas. Somerset’s profile is available at:
In comparing local indicators with England averages, the Somerset profile describes the health and wellbeing of children in Somerset as ‘mixed’. Indicators where Somerset is better than national averages include dental health and obesity, while inpatient hospital admissions for mental health conditions and for self-harm appear worse than national averages.
8. Greenhouse Gas Emissions estimates
The rate of carbon dioxide emissions in Somerset continues to fall according to annual estimates from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-local-authority-and-regional-carbon-dioxide-emissions-national-statistics-2005-2016
Overall carbon dioxide emissions in Somerset have steadily declined from 7.8 tonnes per person in 2006 to 5.3 tonnes per person in 2016 (mirroring a national downward trend). The latest annual fall is largely attributable to declining electricity use, both in industrial and domestic settings.
Around 35% of carbon dioxide emissions in Somerset in 2016 related to industry and commerce, 33% to transport and 32% to domestic energy use.
9. Car Driving Test statistics
Pass rates for practical car driving tests in Somerset remain well the above the national average rate in figures released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). There were a total of 12,002 tests conducted in 2017/18, with pass rates of 61.3% at the Yeovil test centre and 56.4% at the Taunton test centre. This compared to an overall national pass rate of 46.3%.
Males continue to have higher pass rates than females. Pass rates for males were 64.7% in Yeovil and 60.5% in Taunton, compared to female pass rates of 58.2% in Yeovil and 52.6% in Taunton.
10. SINePost and Somerset Intelligence website survey results
Back in March of this year we conducted a survey to gather some feedback and information on the use of SINePost and the Somerset Intelligence (SI) website. Thank you to everybody who took the time to partake, your responses have provided us with some very helpful insight. The key headlines are as follows:
- Of the respondents, 67% said they used both the SI website and SINePost, with the rest using SINePost (16%) or the SI website (19%) alone.
- Everybody who used SINePost said they were happy receiving it monthly.
- 58% of SINePost and 30% of the SI website users said that they find most or all of the content useful or of interest.
- 47% of SINePost and/or the SI website users said they are motivated to look elsewhere on the SI website once or more times per month, 13% said they are hardly ever were
- 53% of SINePost and/or the SI website users said they have used information sourced from there in their work/organisation for a specific reason, like funding bids and student assignments for example.
- 48% of users said they find the SI website easy or very easy to use
- 19% of SI website users said they had noticed pages/data that seem out of date. Some of these had since been updated, some are awaiting updates from us or larger data sources such as ONS.
All comments and suggestions have been taken on board and have enabled us to have a greater understanding of what users find helpful so that we can continue to make these resources as useful as possible.
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies in July:
- Local Alcohol Profiles for England: July 2018 update (PHE)
- Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England: July 2018 update (PHE)
- Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 (ONS)
- Special educational needs in England: January 2018 (DfE)
- Individual Insolvencies by location, age and gender (Insolvency Service)
- Road lengths in Great Britain: 2017 (DfT)