Newly-released data from the Office of National Statistics gives a fresh perspective on our area and the way we live our lives today.

The numbers come from the Census which was completed by more than forty million households across the UK on 21 March 2021.

For the first time, the ONS has developed a way to analyse certain data by a specific custom area, not just the normal wards and counties it’s reported on before.

So we’ve mapped, as closely as the ONS tool allows, data from a geographical patch which matches Shine Radio’s editorial area. If you’re a regular listener you’ll know this area as The Petersphere.

The chart show

In these charts, the blue bars show the numbers in our area and the black lines indicate the data for England and Wales as a whole.

Where the black line and the blue bar are apart from each other it means our area is different from the rest of the country. The further apart they stray, the more unusual we are.

For example, you can see on the age profile chart that our local population is older than that of the nation as a whole. No surprise there, you may think.

Source: ONS Census 2021

Everyday People

The data suggests 39,300 people live in The Petersphere, including babies and children.

If you extract data for those aged 15 and above (a common measure of economically-active people) there are 33,012 such people in this area.

A greater percentage of people around here are likely to work part time than in the population as a whole.

And we choose to live in houses and bungalows over flats and apartments, more so than across England and Wales. Again, this may not surprise since we have more houses than flats in this rural area, compared with big cities.

9 to 5

Working from home is much more common around here than across England and Wales as a whole. Indeed, more than 4 in 10 of us work mainly at or from home, according to the data.

However, the ONS suggests we take some results with a small pinch of salt since they will have been affected by Covid-related changes. This measure may well be one of them.

We’re more likely to work in management, senior/director roles and professional occupations in this area than does the general population. There aren’t many factory workers round here.

And we’re more likely to walk to work too. Bicycles are more popular than motorbikes and scooters but fewer than 1% of us use them for commuting.

The car remains by far the most popular means of transport for workers, but no more so here than across the country as a whole.

Source: ONS Census 2021

Our house, in the middle of the street

There are 16,600 households in this area, and more than one third of them have two people living in them.

30% of homes have just one person in them – that’s lower than the population as a whole which may surprise you if you consider the maturity of the local population.

The data suggests few people around here have any identity other than a single UK one. We’re about half as likely as the population as whole as having a non-UK identity.

We’re also well qualified, with nearly 42% of local people having a Level 4 (University-type) qualification.

Only 11.5% of people here said they had worked in the last 12 months, but the ONS says this is a measure that will have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 and the furlough scheme. Remember, the survey was done in March 2021.

A more meaningful measure perhaps is the percentage of local people who have never worked. The 16.6% here is 35% lower than the percentage across England and Wales as a whole.

Drive

The number of households in the Petersphere with no car is less than half the national average which you may expect in a rural area with few bus services.

We’re also more likely to have several vehicles than is typical in England and Wales.

The socio-economic classification results echo the occupation data above. In addition to the professional and managerial classes we’ve already seen, this data suggests people around the Petersphere are more likely than the population as a whole to work in small businesses or operate their own accounts.

These are some of the findings we’ve analysed so far. There is much more in the dataset which we’ll try to dig into in the weeks ahead.

We’d also be keen to explore with listeners what this means for the way we live our lives and whether you’re particularly surprised by any of it. Do comment below.

Credit

All this data is Crown copyright and published by the ONS. If you’d like to dig into it yourself, it’s publicly available, free of charge at https://census.gov.uk/