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The Story of Bath and North East Somerset: In Data - Republished

The B&NES Strategic Evidence Base is an evolving document with updates made on an ongoing basis. As such, B&NES Council are pleased to advise that the SEB has now been republished. A summary of the key findings is detailed below, and the republished full report can be found here:

These documents are designed to be used to support decision making and strategic planning across the area, and may be of great use to those making funding applications. This information can be used to support and strengthen bids and applications.

This useful resource provides detailed insight into areas such as population, health, inequality, growth, emissions and housing.

The key themes updated as part of this republication are:

  • Population (to incorporate new mid-year estimates) & Live Births

  • Education

  • Housing  (Vacant dwellings)

  • Wellbeing

  • Childhood weight

There is also a feedback form where you can provide comments on the SEB:

Strategic Evidence Base Key Findings: February 2024

Population & Live births

  • In 2022 the population of B&NES was estimated to be 195,618, a 10% increase since 2012.

  • This growth is not a result of natural change, but rather inward migration, largely students from across England and Wales.

  • The shape of the population is largely driven by the high number of university students attending the two campus-based universities in the area.

  • Since 2012 the gap between births and deaths in B&NES has been narrowing, even showing some signs of a natural decrease in several years.

  • Live births are at their lowest level since at least 2008 in B&NES. Furthermore, there has been a notable natural decline in the population during 2022 owing to deaths exceeding births by approx. 200.



  • Pupils in B&NES attained higher grades compared to regional and national figures in all stages of education except Key Stage 2 (KS2), which dropped below national figures for the first time since 2015/16.

  • Girls consistently performed better than boys at all key stages.

  • The attainment gap between Free School Meal (FSM) and non-FSM pupils is consistently larger across all key stages in B&NES than the gap seen nationally.

  • Nationally, the attainment gap widens as pupils move through the education system whereas in B&NES the attainment gap at EYFS is the largest, having increased sharply in 2022/23.

  • KS2 attainment in the FSM cohort is the worst in the country and Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFS) attainment in the FSM cohort is 3rd worst in the country.

  • Key Stage 4 (KS4) attainment in the FSM cohort is broadly in line with national.

  • Pupils make good progress between KS2 and KS4, with pupils in B&NES achieving on average a quarter of a grade higher in each qualification compared to similar pupils across the country.

  • EYFS and KS2 attainment in B&NES is lowest in the Black and Other ethnic groups and is below national levels. KS4 attainment & progress is lowest in the Black ethnic group and again is below national levels. Whilst numbers in these cohorts are relatively low, this is a trend seen for a number of years, particularly at KS2 and KS4.

  • Persistent school absence increased sharply in 2021/22, both in B&NES and nationally. However, rates remained lower in B&NES compared to national. Nationally this was driven by increases in illness absences including Covid-19.

  • Suspensions are higher in B&NES than national, especially when looked at by ethnicity, where Black and Mixed race pupils have higher suspension rates.

Housing: Vacant Dwellings

  • Between 2014 and 2022 the number of vacant dwellings in B&NES increased by 54% (from 1,598 to 2,461) and the number of long-term vacant dwellings almost doubled (from 423 to 828). However, the estimated number of dwelling stock has increased by only 9% over the same period (from 77,519 to 84,661).



  • Average ratings of personal wellbeing have worsened across all indicators (happiness, life satisfaction, worthwhileness, anxiety) in B&NES and nationally since 2021/22 and remain below pre-Covid levels. Anxiety levels in B&NES have been higher than national for much of the last decade.


Childhood weight

  • In 2022/23, nearly 30% of Year 6 children resident in B&NES were overweight or obese (inc. severely obese). This compares to a national figure of 37%. Following the pandemic, there has been an increase in the percentage of Year 6 pupils who are obese, both nationally and in B&NES. There is a higher proportion of boys living with obesity, however recent data has shown an increase in the percentage of girls who are obese. Deprivation is also a significant factor, with more than twice as many children categorised as obese or severely obese in the most deprived areas in 2022/23, compared to the least deprived areas.



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