1. Active Lives Survey results
An estimated 60.5% of adults (aged 16+) in Somerset are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, according to latest results from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey. At a district level, rates are highest in Mendip (64.7%) and lowest in Sedgemoor (57.1%). The national (England) average rate is 62.6%.
At the other end of the scale, 26.7% of adults in Somerset are classed as ‘inactive’ – that is, doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Inactivity ranges from 24.0% in West Somerset to 29.6% in Sedgemoor.
The survey results also indicate that 14% of adults in Somerset (65,700 people) volunteered at least twice in the last year to support sport or physical activity (for example, by fulfilling coaching, stewarding, administration or transport roles). This was in line with the national average proportion.
For the full dataset, see: www.sportengland.org/adultnov1718tables/
2. Population and Health Projections: POPPI and PANSI updates
The Institute of Public Care, in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University, have updated their ‘POPPI’ (Projecting Older People Population Information System) and ‘PANSI’ (Projecting Adult Needs and Service Information) tools, which aim to explore the impact that demography and certain health conditions may have on the future population.
According to the latest projections, between 2019 and 2035:
- The number of people aged 75 or over and living alone in Somerset is projected to increase from 26,500 to 41,300.
- The number of people aged 75 or over with a long-term health problem or disability is projected to increase from 38,400 to 61,200.
- The number of people aged 65 or over with a learning disability is projected to increase from 2,900 to 4,000.
For further details, see: www.poppi.org.uk and www.pansi.org.uk (registration required).
3. Teenage Pregnancy statistics
The number of conceptions to women aged under 18 declined for the tenth successive year in Somerset in 2017, in figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Nationally, rates have also continued to decline.
There were 135 conceptions in Somerset in 2017, representing a rate of 15 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 15-17. Rates were highest in West Somerset (25 per 1,000) and lowest in Mendip (11 per 1,000). Overall numbers of under 18 conceptions in Somerset have more than halved since 2011.
The ONS suggests possible reasons for the continued decrease in teenage conception rates are improved sex and relationship education, better access to contraceptives and increased participation in higher education.
4. Educational Attainment by Age 19 statistics
Overall educational attainment by the age of 19 in Somerset remains broadly unchanged according to latest annual figures from the Department for Education (DfE).
- 84.4% of 19-year-olds in Somerset were qualified to at least Level 2 (equivalent to five GCSEs at grade 4). This was above the England average of 82.2%.
- 56.0% of 19-year-olds were qualified to at least Level 3 (equivalent to two A-levels), which was below the national average of 57.2%.
In terms of disadvantaged pupils, the attainment gap between those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and those not eligible for FSM in Somerset was 25.9 percentage points (ppts) at Level 2, and 30.8 ppts at Level 3, with both gaps continuing to exceed national averages.
5. Vehicle Licensing statistics
The number of licenced vehicles in Somerset continues to increase, with an additional 6,000 vehicles recorded in 2018 compared to 2017, in figures from the Department for Transport. The total number of licenced vehicles in Somerset has now reached 406,000.
At the end of 2018 there were 317,700 licensed cars in Somerset (an increase of 3,800 on the previous year). Numbers of motorcycles increased by approximately 400, to 17,100, over the same period, while numbers of Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs) increased by 1,500 to 47,700. Numbers of HGVs and buses were broadly unchanged.
There were a total of 1,050 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) licensed in Somerset at the end of 2018, an increase of 296 vehicles on the previous year. ULEV refers to vehicles with significantly lower levels of emissions than conventional vehicles, including electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
6. Car Driving Test statistics
Driving test success rates in Somerset continue to exceed national averages according to latest figures published by the Department for Transport. Between April and December 2018, a total 8,369 practical car driving tests were conducted in Somerset, with an overall pass rate of 57.6%. This compares to a national rate of 45.7%.
Success rates at the Yeovil test centre continue to exceed those at the Taunton test centre, with pass rates of 62.0% and 54.2% respectively.
Pass rates for males continue to exceed those for females (61.2% compared to 54.4% overall). Nationally, rates were 49.5% for males and 42.4% for females.
7. Annual Population Survey results
The latest results of the Annual Population Survey (APS) have been published by the Office for National Statistics. The APS aims is to provide information on key social and socioeconomic variables between the 10-yearly censuses, with particular emphasis on providing information relating to sub-regional (local authority) areas.
Latest findings include:
- An estimated 41,900 Somerset residents identify as non-British, representing 7.7% of the county’s population. (For England as a whole, the proportion is 11.8%)
- 33.7% of the Somerset population holds a Level 4 (degree or equivalent) qualification, compared to 39.0% nationally.
- 18.1% of workers in Somerset are self-employed, compared to 15.4% nationally.
- 3.5% of workers in Somerset are in non-permanent employment, compared to 4.6% nationally.
For the full results, see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/articles/1157.aspx
8. Out-of-work Claimant Count
South Somerset continues to have the lowest out-of-work Claimant Count rate in Somerset (1.9%), according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. Somerset West and Taunton district has the next lowest rate (2.3%), followed by Mendip (2.5%) and Sedgemoor (2.8%).
In March 2019, Somerset’s claimant count stood at 7,560, representing an increase of approximately 500 claimants on the same point in 2018. It may be noted that increases have been anticipated as a result of the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC), with a broader span of claimants required to look for work under UC than under Job-Seekers Allowance (JSA).
At a ward level, highest Claimant Count rates were in Bridgwater Westover (7.2%) and Frome Market (5.1%). Nevertheless, Bridgwater Westover experienced the biggest year-on-year decline in claimant numbers of any Somerset ward.
9. Prepayment Electricity Meter statistics
There are approximately 28,200 households with prepayment electricity meters in Somerset, according to experimental statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:
At a neighbourhood (LSOA) level, Shepton Mallet North has the highest number of prepayment meters (384), followed by Highbridge South East (382), Bridgwater Eastover Central (306) and Bridgwater Town Centre (295). The Wellington South West area has the fewest prepayment meters (6).
The Somerset Financial Inclusion Strategy has previously identified prepayment meters as an example of a ‘poverty premium’, whereby users may not be benefiting from competitive pricing in the energy market.
10. Loneliness in Childhood analysis
The Office for National Statistics has published analysis of children's reporting of loneliness, based on the results of The Children’s Society Household Survey.
The analysis shows that the type of area where a child lives and relative poverty are both important in predicting loneliness, but also highlights that the child’s perspective of their situation is also an important contributing factor.
Furthermore, children living with a parent or guardian whose life satisfaction is very high are less likely to report loneliness than children whose parents or guardians rated their life satisfaction at lower levels.
For the full report, see: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing
11. Forthcoming Statistical Releases
The following are due for release at sub-regional geographies during May:
- Location of UK regular service and civilian personnel annual statistics: 2019 (MOD)
- Road traffic estimates in Great Britain: 2018 (DfT)
- Road lengths in Great Britain: 2018 (DfT)
- Inequalities in Life Expectancy segment tool: 2019 data update (PHE)
- End of Life Care Profiles: May 2019 data update (PHE)
- Population by country of birth and nationality: 2018 (ONS)
- Internet Users in the UK: 2019 (ONS)
- Benefit Cap: number of households capped to February 2019 (ONS)