1. Revised Population Estimates
Revised official population estimates have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), affecting county, region and local authority figures. The revised components are:
- local authority emigration estimates for mid-2012 to mid-2016 have been recalculated using an improved distribution model that includes a wider range of administrative and survey data than before;
- local authority-level immigration estimates for mid-2015 and mid-2016 have been recompiled using previously unavailable data and using improved matching methods;
- an improved method for accounting for the migration of dependants of foreign armed forces personnel has been incorporated.
As a result, the latest population estimate for Somerset (relating to mid-2016) has been revised to 551,446, an increase of approximately 2,000 on the previous estimate. With the exception of Sedgemoor, all Somerset districts have seen their estimates raised.
The next official annual population estimate (for mid-2017) is due to be released by the ONS in June.
2. Teenage Pregnancy
The number of conceptions to women aged under 18 declined for the ninth successive year in Somerset in 2016, in figures from the Office for National Statistics. Nevertheless, as a rate per population, Somerset saw a marginal increase. Nationally, conceptions and rates have continued to fall.
There were 163 conceptions in Somerset in 2016, representing a rate of 17.4 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 15-17. Rates were highest in West Somerset (19.7 per 1,000) and lowest in South Somerset (15.6 per 1,000). Overall numbers of under 18s conceptions in Somerset have halved since 2008.
The proportion of under 18 conceptions leading to abortion declined marginally in Somerset, from 58.8% in 2015 to 57.1% in 2016.
3. Health State Life Expectancies for Small Areas
The Office for National Statistics has published estimates of life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy for Census Wards. Estimates have previously been made available for (larger) Middle layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs).
The figures demonstrate wide variations across the county:
- In the period 2009 to 2013, males born in the Butleigh and Baltonsborough ward were expected to live for 17 more years in ‘Good’ general health than males in Bridgwater Westover ward (74.2 years compared with 57.0 years respectively).
- Bridgwater Westover also had the shortest male life expectancy in Somerset at 74.6 years, compared with Street West ward at 88.5 years; a gap of 14 years.
- For females, the gap in healthy life expectancy (HLE) at birth for the equivalent time period was 20.2 years; HLE in Glastonbury St Benedict’s was 57.6 years, compared with 77.8 years in Tower ward.
- In contrast, females in Beckington and Selwood could expect the longest life (95.6 years), compared with females born in Glastonbury St Benedict’s (76.1 years).
4. Vibrant Economy Index
Grant Thornton UK has published an updated index which ranks local authority areas according to whether businesses, communities and individuals can be expected to thrive. Typical prosperity indicators are considered alongside: dynamism and opportunity; inclusion and equality; health, wellbeing and happiness; resilience and sustainability; and community, trust and belonging.
Taunton Deane is ranked as the 149th most vibrant of 324 local authority areas in England. Mendip is ranked 151st, followed by South Somerset (152nd), Sedgemoor (236th) and West Somerset (299th).
In terms of individual themes within the index, South Somerset is ranked best in Somerset for ‘prosperity’ and ‘resilience’; Mendip is ranked highest for ‘dynamism’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘community’; and Taunton Deane is best for ‘health’ and ‘resilience’.
Compared to a previous version of the index in 2016, Taunton Deane, Sedgemoor and West Somerset have seen their rankings improve. South Somerset’s rank is unchanged, while Mendip’s has fallen.
5. Annual Population Survey: Qualifications Data
An estimated 34.3% of Somerset’s population aged 16 to 64 hold a degree, HND or equivalent qualification according to latest figures from the Annual Population Survey (for the period January to December 2017). This proportion remains well below South West and national averages (39.0% and 38.6% respectively).
Nevertheless, an estimated 79.7% of Somerset’s working-age population are qualified to at least Level 2 (equivalent to 5 or more GCSEs or NVQ level 2), above the national average of 74.7%. Somerset also has a lower proportion of residents with no formal qualifications than the national average (4.7%, compared to 7.7% nationally).
6. School Population Forecast 2017
Numbers of school pupils in Somerset are forecast to rise each year up to at least 2022, according to the latest annual Somerset School Population Forecast (covering state-funded schools).
Key Points from the 2017 Forecast include:
- The highest number of primary aged pupils ever recorded in Somerset, although the era of rising primary aged pupil numbers across the county is coming to an end;
- Further increases in the primary school number on roll in Bridgwater, Taunton and Yeovil, but these are offset by falling numbers in some rural areas;
- Particular growth is forecast in secondary numbers in Bridgwater, Taunton and Yeovil with a combined increase of 1,653 pupils by 2022;
- A further increase in the number of pupils in Somerset’s special schools.
See: https://slp.somerset.org.uk/ipost/iPost Documents/School Population Forecast 2017 Part 1.pdf
7. Dementia Profile
Public Health England have updated their local authority-level dementia profiles with 2016/17 data. The profiles aim to help inform the provision of care of people who have dementia.
Headlines for Somerset for 2016/17 include:
- 1.0% (5,479 people) on GP practice registers were registered with dementia, compared with 0.8% for England as a whole.
- There were 5,390 people aged 65 or older on Somerset GP practice registers for dementia, representing 4.0% of patients in this age group.
- The diagnosis rate (observed prevalence as a proportion of expected prevalence) in 2017 shows Somerset with a rate of 62.1% of people estimated to be living with dementia (aged over 65), below the national estimate of 67.9%.
For the full profiles, see: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile-group/mental-health/profile/dementia
For further information about dementia in Somerset, see: www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/dementia.html
8. Electoral Statistics
The number of local government electors in Somerset has increased in latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
As of 1st December 2017 there were 420,715 local government electors registered in Somerset, up from 415,619 a year earlier (an increase of 1.2%). This increase was in line with a national upward trend. Numbers of electors increased in all Somerset district areas.
The number of parliamentary electors (within Somerset’s five constituencies) was 412,524 on 1st December 2017, up from 409,121 the previous year.
9. Plug-In and Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle statistics
At the end of 2017 there were a total of 677 plug-in cars and vans (plug-in hybrid or fully electric) licensed to registered keepers in Somerset, in statistics from the Department for Transport. Numbers of vehicles in the county have doubled since the beginning of 2016, mirroring a national increase.
Furthermore, there were a total of 755 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) licensed in Somerset at the end of 2017. ULEV refers to vehicles with significantly lower levels of emissions than conventional vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (in practice this covers all vehicles with fully electric power, and cars and vans with tail-pipe emissions below 75 g/km of CO2).
As a rate per head of population, Mendip currently has marginally the highest proportion of ULEV vehicles in the county.
10. SINePost Reader Survey
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