SINePost newsletter - November 2021
Published: 18 November 2021 Author:
In this issue:
- Births statistics
- Universal Credit claimants
- Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings results
- Small Area Population Estimates
- Business Activity, Size and Location
- Hate Crime statistics
- Carbon dioxide emissions and woodland coverage
- Road accident statistics
1. Births statistics
The number of live births in Somerset declined for the fifth successive year in 2020 according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). There were a total of 4908 live births during 2020, down from 5,155 live births in 2019, and 13% lower than the 2015 figure of 5,623.
The total fertility rate (TFR) in Somerset for 2020 was 1.72 children per woman. This is a decrease from 1.80 in 2019 and 1.99 in 2015. At district level, South Somerset had the highest TFR at 1.81, whilst Mendip was lowest at 1.61.
The age specific fertility rate in Somerset has decreased amongst all age groups except for those aged 40-44. The fertility rate for women in this age group increased to 13.5 from 10.7 in the previous year. This fertility rate shows the average number of children being born per 1,000 women in the age group in the given period.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/livebirths/
2. Universal Credit claimants
The number of Universal Credit claimants in Somerset has continued to fall month-on-month despite the end of the furlough scheme in September. Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show a total of 10,830 claimants in the for October 2021, down marginally on the September figure of 10,950 and significantly lower than the peak figure of 16,935 claimants in August 2020.
The October figure for Somerset remains higher than the pre-pandemic figure of 7,370 seen in March 2020.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/
3. Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings results
Median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees living in Somerset increased by 4% to £567 in 2021 in provisional estimates from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average earnings for full-time employees living in Somerset remain below both the South West regional figure (£577) and the Great Britain figure (£613).
The equivalent earnings figure for people working in Somerset (based on ‘place of work’ rather than ‘place of residence’) was lower, at £547, suggesting a leakage of Somerset workers to higher value jobs outside the county.
For Somerset residents, the distribution of earnings in 2021 saw the bottom 10% of full-time employees earn less than £375 per week. At the other end of the distribution, the top 10% of full-time employees earned more than £958 per week.
In 2021 the gender pay gap (based on median gross hourly earnings) for full-time employees was 10.2% for Somerset residents, compared to a UK average of 7.9%. The figure for Somerset has decreased from 15.6% in 2018. It may be noted that these figures do not show differences in rates of pay for comparable jobs but are affected by factors such as the proportion of men and women in different types of occupations.
To explore the data, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/
4. Small Area Population Estimates
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published latest population estimates for small areas, including electoral wards, output areas (OAs, LSOAs, MSOAs) and National Parks, by age and sex. The figures relate to estimated usual resident populations on 30 June 2020 (‘mid-2020’) The estimates can be useful for service planning and as denominators for the calculation of various local rates and indicators.
The figures show that of Somerset’s 127 electoral wards, 97 have seen a population increase since the 2011 national census. The ward with the greatest population increase over this period is West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine which has seen an increase of 36% from 4,706 persons in 2011 to 8,038 persons in 2020. Northstone, Ivelchester and St Michaels in South Somerset has seen the biggest decrease with an estimate 249 fewer residents in 2020 than 2011.
There are three wards in Somerset in which at least one-in-five of the resident population is aged 75 or over, of which Minehead North is the highest with approximately 23.1% of the population aged 75 or over. West Monkton and Cheddon Fitzpaine is the ward with the highest proportion of the resident population aged under 16, with an estimated 25%.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/
5. Business Activity, Size and Location data
There are 24,945 business enterprises in Somerset in 2021, according to latest figures from an annual snapshot from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). This is a marginal increase on the 2020 figure of 24,930, and a 1.8% increase on the 2019 figure of 24,510.
79% of businesses in Somerset employ fewer than five people, with over 90% employing fewer than ten people.
The industry sectors with the most businesses in Somerset are Agriculture, forestry & Fishing (14.2%), Construction (13.8%) and Professional, scientific & technical (13.2%). Although the total number of businesses in Somerset has increased by 1.8% over the past two years, the number of businesses in the Professional, scientific & technical sector has fallen by nearly 8% in the same period.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/
6. Hate Crime statistics
There were 3,351 hate crime offences recorded in the Avon and Somerset police force area during 2020/21 according to figures from the Home Office, an increase of 7% on the 3,134 hate crimes recorded in 2019/20. For England and Wales as a whole, recorded hate crime increased by 18%. The Somerset figure for 2020/21 represents an increase of over 70% compared to 2015/16.
Nationally, increases in police recorded hate crime in recent years have been driven by improvements in recording and better identification of what constitutes a hate crime.
The majority of hate crime in Avon and Somerset in 2020/21 was motivated by race (72%), with sexual orientation (13%) the next most common motivating factor, followed by disability (8%), religion (4%) and transgender (3%). Nationally, 71% of hate crime was motivated by race. When comparing to the previous year, hate crimes in Somerset with a motive recorded as ‘transgender’ increased by 30%, whilst those motivated by religion decreased by 30%.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2020-to-2021
7. Carbon dioxide emissions and woodland coverage
The Office for National Statistics has published an interactive tool to analyse carbon dioxide emissions and woodland cover at local authority district level.
All four Somerset districts saw a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2019. Sedgemoor saw the biggest decrease (-41%) followed by Somerset West and Taunton (-37%), South Somerset (-30%), and Mendip (-29%). Despite seeing the biggest decrease over this period, total emissions in Sedgemoor in 2019 remained higher than the other districts with an estimate 1.5 kilotonnes (kt) CO2 per square kilometre, whilst Somerset West and Taunton was lowest with 0.6kt/km2.
The tool also shows that in 2019 12% of Somerset West and Taunton was covered by woodland – above the England average of 10% - whilst Mendip (8%), South Somerset (6%), and Sedgemoor (6%) were all below the national average. The report identifies the Somerset Levels as an example of an area which has low woodland coverage due to large amounts of wetlands and peat bogs. While trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, peat bogs also store large amounts of carbon. However, when peat bogs are in a poor condition, they release greenhouse gases.
Nationally the area of tree-covered woodland in the UK increased by 11% between 1998 and 2021.
To access the data and explore the interactive tool, see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/articles/carbondioxideemissionsandwoodlandcoveragewhereyoulive/
8. Road Accidents statistics
There was a big decrease in the number of road accidents in Somerset in 2020 according to annual figures from the Department for Transport. The figures show a total of 637 reported road accidents in the county during 2020, compared with 994 in 2019. This represents a fall of over 35%.
The low number of accidents in 2020 is likely to be largely influenced by the significant decrease in vehicle miles travelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns (see SINePost newsletter May 2021).
Of the 637 accidents in 2020, a total of 12 were fatal, 66 ‘serious’ and 559 ‘slight’. 2% of accidents on Somersets roads in 2020 were on the motorway, with 48% on A-roads, and 50% on minor roads. In terms of road surface condition, 65% of accidents were on dry roads, 33% were on wet or flooded roads, and 2% on snow or ice.
For the full dataset, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/reported-road-accidents-vehicles-and-casualties-tables-for-great-britain
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