SINePost newsletter - June 2014
In this issue ...
- Workplace populations
- Workpace Zones: a new geography for workplace statistics
- Latest population projections
- Local house prices
- 'Help to Buy' Mortgage Guarantee Scheme statistics
- 'Happy at Home' index
- Armed forces personnel
- Registered Electors
- Disability-free life expectancy
- Ageing Alone
- Early Years Profiles
- Forthcoming Statistical Releases
1. Workplace Populations
New data from the 2011 Census is providing estimates of the number of workers in a locality on a typical working day, known as the ‘workplace population’:
The data confirms Taunton as the largest employment centre in Somerset; with 41,928 people working in the town on a normal working day. Yeovil accommodates 30,769 workers, Bridgwater 19,089 workers and Frome 9,486 workers.
Taunton town accounts for 70% of people who work within the district of Taunton Deane. By comparison, Yeovil, Bridgwater and Minehead account for around 40% of their respective districts’ workplace populations. Mendip has the most dispersed workforce; with Frome (19%), Wells (11%) and Shepton Mallet (11%) being the largest employment centres.
2. Workplace Zones: a new geography for workplace statistics
Workplace Zones (WZs) have been introduced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to help provide small-area statistics on the economy and labour market. While existing ‘Output Areas’ contain broadly consistent numbers of people based on where they live, WZs aim to have consistent numbers of workers based on where people work.
There are 547 Workplace Zones in Somerset. The ONS has released around 30 new tables detailing ‘key characteristics’ of workers, from the 2011 Census:
By way of example, the Workplace Zones in Somerset with the most ‘highly qualified’ workers (qualified to Level 4 or above) are at East Quay, Bridgwater, and Somerset College, Taunton. The areas with the most ethnically diverse workforce (with the highest proportions of non-‘White British’ workers) are at Isleport Business Park, Highbridge, and in the area of Butlins in Minehead.
3. Latest Population Projections
From its current figure of around 535,000, Somerset’s population is projected to reach 550,000 by the year 2017 and 600,000 by 2032, according to figures released by the ONS. The projections provide annual estimates from 2012 to 2037, including age and gender breakdowns.
The most significant increases are anticipated in residents aged 75 and over, whose numbers are projected to double in the 25-year period to 2037 from around 55,600 residents in 2012 to 112,200 residents by 2037. Over the same period the number of children and young people (aged 0 to 15 years) is projected to increase by a modest 7%, while the ‘working age’ population (nominally, 16 to 64 years) is projected to decline by 3%. More detail on Somerset is available on our Population Estimates and Projections page.
The projections provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population if recent demographic trends continue. They are not forecasts and do not take any account of future government policies, changing economic circumstances or the capacity of an area to accommodate the change in population.
4. Local House Prices
The average price paid for a residential property in Somerset in 2013/14 was £210,171, according to data released by the Land Registry. This represents an increase of 1.6% on the figure a year earlier.
The figures reveal that the most expensive area to buy a property in Somerset in the last year was Wedmore (with an average price paid of £393,500), followed by Dulverton and South Petherton. The areas with the lowest average price paid was Watchet (£174,000), followed by Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea.
A total of 1,052 newly built properties were sold in Somerset in 2013/14, of which over half were in Taunton (315 properties) and Bridgwater (235 properties). The average price for a new semi-detached ‘starter home’ was £207,000 in Taunton and £176,000 in Bridgwater.
5. 'Help to Buy' Mortgage Guarantee Scheme Statistics
In the first six months of the Government’s Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, 45 loans were completed in Somerset, to a value of £6.6 million. Nationally, 80% of loans were made to first-time buyers.
Under the scheme lenders can purchase a guarantee on mortgage loans and are therefore able to offer home buyers more high-loan-to-value mortgages (80-95%). See the Help to Buy statistics website.
The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme is separate from the ‘Equity Loan’ part of Help to Buy, which has been running since April 2013. So far, 366 homes have been sold under the Equity Loan scheme in Somerset, meaning a grand total of 411 homes sold under the two parts of Help to Buy. This represents a relatively small proportion of the nearly 9,000 homes sold in Somerset in the last year.
6. 'Happy at Home' Index
Taunton is one of the ‘happiest’ places to live in the country according to a survey undertaken by the property website Rightmove. Taunton ranked 3rd best of 111 towns and cities nationally and was the only Somerset town to be included. The survey was completed by around 50,000 people nationwide, who were asked to rate their local area against 12 distinct factors. See the Rightmove website.
According to the results, Taunton scores particularly well in respect of ‘pride’, ‘neighbourliness’ and ‘recreation’, but less well in respect of ‘amenities’ and ‘costs’.
7. Armed Forces Personnel
The ONS has published more detailed statistics from the 2011 Census on membership of the Armed Forces (including breakdowns by age, gender and ethnicity) at local authority level. See the ONS website.
At the time of the census, 3,171 residents of Somerset were members of the Armed Forces. Due to confidentiality issues detailed figures for the 50 members of the Armed Forces resident in West Somerset are not available. Nevertheless, the published results demonstrate that of the Armed Forces residents in the rest of the county around 92% are male, 95% are ‘White British’, and just over one quarter (26%) are aged 16-24.
8. Registered Electors
The total number of local government electors in Somerset in 2013 was 411,619 according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This represents a fall of 2.5% in the number of registered electors compared with 2012. This is largely the result of a notable decrease within Taunton Deane (down 8.8%). All other districts saw very marginal falls in the number of electors.
Taunton Deane is identified as having the greatest decrease in local government electors between 2012 and 2013 of any local authority in the UK.
9. Disability-Free Life Expectancy
Males born in Somerset can expect to live 84.9% of their lives disability-free and females 83.5% of their lives disability-free according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Both figures are significantly higher than the estimates for England as a whole.
The figures mean that males born in Somerset can currently expect to live 12 years of their lives with a disabling health condition and females 13.8 years with a disabling health condition.
Life expectancy has increased markedly since the 1980s and is expected to increase further, but the number of years lived with a disabling condition is key in terms of demands on health and social care resources.
10. Ageing Alone: Report on Loneliness and the 'Oldest Old'
CentreForum, the independent think-tank, has published a report on the impact of loneliness on the ‘oldest old’ (identified as those aged 85 or over).
The report finds that nearly half of the ‘oldest old’ people experience loneliness most or some of the time. It also draws from the results of the government’s Measuring National Wellbeing programme which identified a strong correlation between loneliness and low life satisfaction.
Furthermore, research suggests that loneliness is strongly associated with greater risk of various illnesses and that socially isolated and lonely adults are more likely to undergo early admission into residential or nursing care.
11. Early Years profiles
Public Health England’s new Early Years Profiles provide a snapshot of local authority (upper-tier) area performance against key indicators regarding children aged 0 to 5 years. Data for 12 indicators are currently provided, with placeholders in place for an additional four indicators, from the CHIMAT website.
According to the profile for Somerset, the county is classified as having ‘medium’ performance in respect of all indicators (i.e., broadly in line with the national benchmark). Somerset is rated as having borderline ‘poor’ performance in relation to smoking in pregnancy (at time of delivery), based on 2012/13 data.
12. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during June:
- Fuel Poverty sub-regional statistics - 2012 data (DECC)
- Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Mid-2013 (ONS)
- Children in out-of-work benefit households - as at May 2013 (DWP)
- Placements of children looked after - 31 March 2013 (Ofsted)
- Homes and Communities Agency Housing Statistics - 2013/14 (DCLG)
- Road transport fuels consumption at local authority level - During 2012 (DECC)
- 2011 Census Analysis - Unpaid care expectancies by NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, England 2010-12 (ONS)
- 2011 Census - Qualifications and labour market participation in England and Wales (ONS)
- Census Analysis - How do living arrangements, family type and family size vary in England and Wales?
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