Somerset’s population has increased by 4,204 to 559,399, 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 2018.
The annual percentage increase in Somerset’s population (up 0.8%) was above the South West rate (0.7%) and the England and Wales rate (0.6%).
At a district level, Mendip saw the biggest percentage increase (up 1.2% to 114,881), followed by the Somerset West and Taunton area (up 1.0% to 153,866), Sedgemoor (up 0.5% to 122,791) and South Somerset (up 0.4% to 167,861).
The figures indicate that in the last ten years the median age of Somerset’s population has increased from 43.7 years to 47.0 years. For England and Wales as a whole, the median age is currently 40.0 years.
For the full dataset, see: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration
2. Migration estimates
More people continue to move into Somerset than move out according to latest ‘internal’ migration estimates. In the year to June 2018 an estimated 3,889 more people moved into Somerset from elsewhere in the UK than moved out.
As a result, 74% 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 25% of population growth (a net increase of 1,298 people). The remaining growth is attributed to ‘other’ movements, e.g. armed forces personnel.
Somerset’s population growth continues to be countered by ‘natural change’, with 1,019 fewer births than deaths in the county in the year to June 2018.
3. Fuel Poverty estimates
The number of Somerset households living in fuel poverty has increased in latest estimates from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The new (2017-based) estimate of 26,305 fuel-poor households represents an increase of 1,914 households on the previous year’s figure. At a rate of 10.7% of all households, fuel poverty in Somerset remains below the national average rate (of 10.9%).
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 recorded the highest fuel poverty rate in Somerset (12.6% of households) and Taunton Deane the lowest (10.2%).
Rates vary considerably at local level. The individual areas with the highest rates in 2017 were in Taunton (Roman Road area), Yeovil (Westfield area) and rural West Somerset (Roadwater area).
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):
The figures indicate that in 2018, the median price paid within Somerset’s neighbourhoods (MSOAs) ranged from £140,000 in central Yeovil, to £495,000 in the Wedmore area of Sedgemoor. Compared to 2017, the median price paid for residential property increased in 50 neighbourhoods, was unchanged in four, and declined in 17 neighbourhoods.
Overall, there were 9,840 property sales in Somerset during 2018, approximately 900 fewer than in the previous year, and representing a second successive year-on-year decline. The southern area of Frome saw the highest number of sales, while the eastern side of Bridgwater saw the largest annual increase in sales, and the second highest number of sales overall.
5. Private Rental Market summary statistics
The median monthly rent paid for private housing in Somerset was £640 during 2018/19, according to figures published by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). This was below South West and national median figures (of £700 and £695 respectively). Within the South West, median rents ranged from £600 in Torbay to £1,000 in Bath and North East Somerset.
In terms of property type, median monthly rents in Somerset in 2018/19 were £375 for a ‘room’ (non-self-contained room with shared facilities), £475 for a one-bedroom property, £625 for a two-bedroom property and £750 for a three-bedroom property.
The VOA advise that comparisons with previous years’ statistics may be unreliable due to an inconsistent survey sample, nevertheless, overall results indicate that median monthly rent in Somerset was £15 higher in 2018/19 than in 2017/18. Figures do not include Housing Benefit claimants.
For the full dataset, see: www.gov.uk/government/collections/private-rental-market-statistics#2019
6. Housebuilding statistics
The number of new permanent dwellings completed in Somerset increased marginally in 2018/19, following two successive years of decline, in figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
A total of 1,970 new permanent dwellings were completed during 2018/19, compared to 1,940 dwellings in 2017/18, and a peak of 2,250 dwellings in 2015/16. Of the new homes built in 2018/19, approximately 86% were built through private enterprise, and 14% through housing associations.
A total of 1,690 new permanent dwellings were started in Somerset in 2018/19, representing a decline on the 1,950 starts during 2017/18.
For further details, see: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building (Table 253).
7. Traveller Caravan Count
The number of traveller caravans located in Somerset increased to 612 in the latest six-monthly count published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, representing the highest count in at least five years.
At a district level, Mendip accounted for just over half of traveller caravans in Somerset (312), with Taunton Deane (118) and Sedgemoor (117) the next most common locations.
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:
Overall carbon dioxide emissions in Somerset have steadily declined from 7.6 tonnes per head of population in 2007 to 5.0 tonnes per person in 2017 (mirroring a national downward trend). The latest annual fall is largely attributable to declining electricity use, both in industrial and domestic settings, while emissions due to transport increased for the fifth successive year.
Around 39% of carbon dioxide emissions in Somerset in 2017 related to transport, 33% to industry and commerce, and 28% to domestic energy use.
9. Local Health data update
Public Health England (PHE) has published an update to its local health data tool, including new indicators on smoking prevalence, deaths from causes considered preventable, and back pain prevalence. The update has been published on PHE’s ‘Fingertips’ web platform, providing additional options for presenting and visualising data. It is presented at electoral ward, MSOA (Middle-layer Super Output Area), district and county level:
At a Somerset ward level, the tool indicates that life expectancy at birth ranges from 75.1 years (Glastonbury St Benedict’s) to 91.1 years (Windwhistle) for females, and between 73.9 years (Chard Jocelyn and Bishop’s Hull) and 87.7 years (Butleigh and Baltonsborough) for males. Data is suppressed for a small number of wards for data quality purposes, e.g., where the confidence interval around the life expectancy value is greater than 20 years.
10. UK Civil Society Almanac
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) has published its latest annual refresh of data on charities’ finances, workforce, volunteers and impact.
Key findings include:
- More than half of the voluntary sector’s workforce is educated to degree level or higher, with voluntary organisations reporting the lowest incidence of skills gaps compared to public and private sector organisations.
- Volunteering rates are stable, but diversity remains an issue. Formal volunteers are more likely to be older, well-educated and from higher socio-economic groups.
- For the first time in six years, there was a fall in overall earned income from the public.
Supporting data indicates that in 2016/17 there were 2,062 ‘general charities’ in Somerset (which excludes organisations such as independent schools or housing associations). West Somerset had the highest rate of charities per head of population (and the 9th highest rate nationally) and Sedgemoor had the lowest rate (ranked 106 of 348 authorities nationally).
Meanwhile, the NCVO has published a new research report, Time Well Spent, looking at what makes successful employer-supported volunteering schemes: www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/volunteering-policy/research/time-well-spent
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during July:
- Use of Discretionary Housing Payments: financial year 2018 to 2019 (DWP)
- Workless households for regions across the UK: 2018
- Walking and cycling statistics, England: 2018 (DfT)
- Car driving test data by test centre (DVSA)
- Permanent and fixed period exclusions from schools: 2017 to 2018 (DfE)
- Individual Insolvencies by location, age and gender, England and Wales 2018 (Insolvency Service)
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