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Context: Nottinghamshire in 2021

When selecting where to focus our activity we looked at the major trends and issues affecting the County now and into the future, including the impact of COVID-19.

To do this we collected and analysed the latest statistics about Nottinghamshire’s communities, economy, and environment.

A growing and ageing population

Nottinghamshire covers 805 square miles with a population of 833,000.1

  • The overall population is predicted to jump to 908,000 (9%) by 2034.2
  • Our ageing population (the over 65s) is expected to increase over 30% by 2034, or an extra 53,200 people.
  • The number of older people expected to live alone is thought to increase by 26% by 2030.3

1ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates 2020
2Based on 2018 Office for National Statistics sub national population projections
3POPPI tool – Projecting Older People Population Information

Health and wellbeing is generally good, but poorer in some communities

The wellbeing of Nottinghamshire residents is generally good.4 However:

  • Some areas are the most deprived in England, particularly in Mansfield and Ashfield Districts, with 31 neighbourhoods falling within the nation’s most deprived 10%.5
  • People in the most disadvantaged areas have lives that are on average 7 years shorter than those living in the least disadvantaged areas and experience permanent illness or disability 14 years earlier.

85% of a person’s health is influenced by social factors such as employment, education, and the environment, together with strong and supportive communities. These are key factors in the services we plan and deliver, as they can improve the health of our County.

The impact of the pandemic has been unequal across Nottinghamshire. As well as the effects of the virus on people’s health, restrictions and lockdowns have affected people’s lifestyles, worsening physical health, mental health and loneliness. This may have a significant and continuing impact on people’s health over the next few decades.

4Public Health Outcomes Framework for Nottinghamshire, Public Health England (PHE), October 2021
5English Indices of Deprivation 2019, published by Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Economic growth is in line with the national average, with some areas underperforming. Education and skills are priorities for future growth

Nottinghamshire’s economic landscape has changed a lot over the last 30 years, with growth largely mirroring the national economy. However, while the south and east of the County are generally performing at or around the national average, the north, especially Ashfield and Mansfield, are below the national average in terms of education, skills, training, annual earnings and business growth.6 Also, Nottinghamshire in general is performing below England’s average in several areas:

  • The average annual salary for full-time workers is £30,000, compared to £31,461 nationally.7
  • In 2020, 35% of the working age population in Nottinghamshire were qualified to degree level or above, compared to 43% nationally.8
  • That same year, 7% of the working age population in the County had no qualifications, compared to 6% nationally.

However, these figures vary throughout Nottinghamshire, with the most significant skill gaps in Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood.

The pandemic’s economic footprint is mostly in line with the national average, but some areas and business sectors are doing better than others. Education has been impacted by the pandemic too, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities, and there’s a challenge to recover ‘lost learning’ in the short and medium term to avoid lasting effects on some children’s life chances.

6ONS Annual Population Survey (APS), December 2020 (accessed via NOMIS)
7ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), December 2020 (accessed via NOMIS)
8ONS Annual Population Survey (APS), December 2020 (accessed via NOMIS)

Unrivalled digital and transport connections and lower house prices than the national average

Nottinghamshire’s central location makes it one of the best-connected counties in England with East Midlands Airport on the doorstep, good rail links and a network of over 4,000 kilometres of road.

Through the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire programme, the Council has helped achieve 98% superfast broadband coverage to make our County one of the top three most digitally connected in the UK.

While the average house price in Nottinghamshire is below the national average at £194,000, housing is more affordable in some parts of the County than others.9 A first-time buyer needs to raise on average five and a half times their salary to buy a house in Ashfield District and nearly nine times their salary in Rushcliffe District.10

9HM Land Registry House Price Statistics, December 2020
10Ratio of lower quartile house prices to lower quartile earnings, ONS, 2020

Supportive communities and high levels of satisfaction with local areas

The coronavirus pandemic helped communities come together, which has been crucial for our vulnerable residents. During this time, the County Council received over 800 offers of volunteer support through the Coronavirus Support Hub. There are now well over 4,000 voluntary and community sector organisations working across the County.

The majority of residents feel positive about the places where they live. In 2021, 83% of Nottinghamshire residents were either very or fairly satisfied with their local area, an increase of 7% since 2019. Resident satisfaction with the County Council has also improved, with 66% saying they were very or fairly satisfied (compared to 56% in 2019) and 13% dissatisfied (compared to 22% in 2019).11

Crime rates fell significantly in Nottinghamshire while societal restrictions were in place because of the pandemic. Previously there had been a long-term upward trend in crime rates, with Nottinghamshire exceeding the East Midlands average. 90% of people feel safe in their communities during the day, but the proportion of respondents stating that they feel safe outside in the area after dark has fallen by 4% over the last year, from 65%.12 Since the end of restrictions, crime rates have steadily returned to the norm, except for burglary and vehicle crime which have remained much lower than expected.

11Nottinghamshire Residents Survey, 2021
12Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Survey, 2021

A rich and diverse natural environment. Carbon emissions are reducing more slowly than the national average

The pandemic also encouraged more people to appreciate Nottinghamshire’s rich historic environment and diverse landscape. There are over 2,500 hectares of ancient woodland, 67 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 64 nature reserves and over 1,400 local wildlife sites. However, in the last century Nottinghamshire has lost 90% of its lowland heathland and 97% of its flower-rich meadows.

The Government’s target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 has led to a positive shift towards greener services and infrastructure. Nottinghamshire has reduced its annual carbon emissions by 29% since 2005, but this is less than the UK average (36%).13

13BEIS data, published by ONS, October 2021

Keeping pace with social and technological trends

Due to new technology, improved healthcare and better connectivity, our world is changing quickly, and the needs of our residents, communities and businesses are changing too. 2020 accelerated some of these changes, as Covid-19 led us to adapt to digital ways of connecting, shopping and working, and many of us adopted lower carbon lifestyles and changed the ways we spent our time.

In the future, 5G mobile will transform our daily lives as vehicles and home appliances connect and exchange data. Within the next 10 years, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence-based manufacturing and hyperfast connectivity will be the norm. This will have a huge impact on the way people interact with local Government and the services they expect.

It’s important that Nottinghamshire as a whole keeps pace, ensuring we remain an attractive place to live, work and invest for the future.

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