Social aspects of living in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council is the largest unitary authority in the country. At the last national census, the population of Birmingham was just over 977,000, making it the second largest city in the UK. The ratio of males to females is 48% to 52%, which differs with the regional and national figures which are 49% to 51%. Birmingham is an ethnically diverse city which celebrates the festivities of all the cultures and religions that are to be found in the city. Just as the traditional holidays of Christmas and Easter are celebrated so are; Diwali, Chinese New Year, Eid, St Patrick’s Day, Vaisakhi and many more.

Using the 2001 National Census the dominant age profile in Birmingham is between the ages of 20 and 44 which accounts for 36% of the population, this is 2% higher than the regional average and 1% higher than nationally. The proportion of 5 to 15 year olds is 16% which is 2% higher than the national average and 1% higher than the regional figure. Just over 70% of the population are classed as ethnic white compared to 89% regionally and 91% nationally. 3% are classed as being of mixed-race, which is about double the regional and national averages. Almost 20% of Birmingham’s population is Asian; this is significantly higher than the regional figure of 7% and the national one of 5%. 6% of the population are classed as black, which is about three times the regional and national averages, whereas the percentage of ethnic Chinese is broadly in line with regional and national figures at just over 1%.

Health wise the residents of Birmingham generally consider themselves to be healthy, with the percentage of people claiming to feel in good health being 66%, only 1% lower than the regional and 2% lower than the national averages. Life expectancy in Birmingham is slightly lower than the regional and national levels. A male can expect to live just under 75 years, which is one year less than the regional average and about 18 months below the national average. A female can expect to live 80 years, which is broadly in line with the regional average and about one year less than the national average for a woman.

77% of Birmingham population is aged 16 years or over. 51% of those residents are single and have never been married, compared to a regional and national figure of just 44%. The proportion of residents that are currently married is only 37%, compared to regional and national figures of 44% and 43%.The percentages of divorced and widowed people in Birmingham is in line with the regional and national figures of 6% and 7%,

With a population density of about 37 people per hectare, the city is slightly less densely populated than similar large UK cities and urban areas. Housing trends in Birmingham are at variance with regional and national trends. The proportion of residents living in a house or bungalow is only 77%, compared to the national average at 80% and regionally the figure is 86%. The proportion of those houses or bungalows that are detached properties is significantly below regional and national averages at 11% compared to 24% regionally and 23% nationally. Semi-Detached houses represent the largest proportion of housing in Birmingham. At 35% the proportion of semi-detached properties is 3% lower than the regional average but 3% higher than the national one. Terraced housing accounts for 31% of the properties; the regional average for terraced housing is 14% and 19% nationally. The rest of the population of Birmingham, 18%, live in apartments or maisonettes. This figure is 7% higher than regionally and 4% higher than the national average.

24% of the resident population are employed, which is 1% below the regional and national averages. Of that working population 76% are in full-time employment which is 1% above the regional and national averages. To get to work 32% of the people use their own private transport, which is 5% fewer than the regional figure and 3% less than the national one. Reflecting the city’s excellent public transport network 13% of Birmingham residents travel to work by public transport compared to only 6% regionally and 8% nationally. On average men work 41 hours a week and women, in Birmingham, work 32 hours a week. Compared to regional and national figures men in Birmingham work an hour less a week, whereas women work an hour more. Socio-economically, 24% of Birmingham’s residents are classed as band A or B, 51% in band C and 25% in bands D or E. Regionally 54% of residents are in the middle C band and nationally the figure is 55%. The proportion of people classed as band D or E is 3% higher than regionally and 6% higher than nationally.

Regionally the crime statistics show a general decline in the number of offences being committed. However, for 2005-2006, comparing the city’s crime rate to national figures shows that, per 1000 head of population, there were 8 household burglaries compared to 5 nationally and 6 motor vehicle thefts compared to just 3 nationally.

Despite not achieving the national averages, Birmingham city’s schools performed well at Key Stage 2 (age 11) compared to other large city unitary authorities.  The benchmark for pupils to attain is at least Level 4 in English, Mathematics and Science. Nationally the figures are 79%, 76% and 87%. Birmingham school pupils recorded 76%, 71% and 83% respectively The national average at Key Stage 4 (age 16) for school pupils attaining 5 or more good (grade A* to C) GCSEs, including Mathematics and English Language, is 45.8%. In Birmingham the figure was 40.8%, which again compares well to other large unitary authorities.

Birmingham has three universities. Birmingham University is the oldest and, developing from the Mason Science College, it became the original ‘red-brick’ university when it was established in 1900. It is now one of the top universities in the country and is ranked 23rd by the ‘Good Univerities Guide’ (GUG). A highly respected science and technology college for many years  Aston University was granted university status in 1966.  It is now one of the leading institutions for science & technology and is ranked 26th by GUG. With a history going back to 1843, the University of Central England (UCE) was originally the Birmingham Polytechnic. It gained university status in 1992 and is now ranked 78th by GUG.

UK National Statistics data reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.