About the area

Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council are working together to share services across West Suffolk. The statistics on this page provide key information relating to each district and where available, West Suffolk as a whole. Detailed statistical reports about each of the 45 wards in West Suffolk can be found on our Ward reports page.

For more specific information about an area, use our 'Find my nearest' mapping tool which provides a wealth of information such as local councillors, nearest schools and NHS services as well as bin collection days.

The area of West Suffolk comprises the council areas of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, two predominantly rural districts in the heart of East Anglia. Well-connected with London, the rest of East Anglia and the Midlands, West Suffolk is a safe and comparatively prosperous place in which to live. It also has some beautiful and accessible countryside areas, including grassland, heath and forest.

Forest Heath has three main market towns, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon. St Edmundsbury has two: Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill.

Bury St Edmunds, the largest settlement in West Suffolk, has been a prosperous town for centuries. People are drawn to its market and Georgian architecture, shops, leisure and cultural facilities.

Newmarket is known as the 'home of horseracing'. It has more racehorses, trainers, stable staff, stud farms and racing organisations in and around the town than anywhere else in the world. Racing accounts for a significant number of local jobs.

Haverhill, Mildenhall and Brandon expanded significantly in the 1970s due to the construction of new housing to accommodate families moving as part of the Greater London Council's expansion programme.

Today, West Suffolk has a thriving, diverse economy, embracing a number of business sectors. These include tourism, food and drink, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, including a number of businesses trading with the two major US Air Force bases in West Suffolk. In all of West Suffolk's towns and rural areas, many of our residents benefit from a good quality of life. However, some areas have suffered more than others from the impact of the economic downturn. Others are facing issues such as: rural isolation, a lack of skills or qualifications amongst young people, an ageing population with some in need of more specialist housing or care, poverty, or health deprivation.

Population

  Forest Heath St Edmundsbury Average
In 2015 the population of West Suffolk was 176,214
(Office for National Statistics mid year estimates 2015)
63,691 112,523  
Between 2014 and 2015 the population grew by 1.39% 0.4%  
In 2011 West Suffolk has an ageing population
(Census 2011).
 
18% of the population were aged over 65 England average 16.3%
Forest Heath is the most ethnically diverse district in Suffolk. In 2011 it had the smallest percentage of White (Eng/Welsh/Scot/NI) people (Census 2011)
 
77.2% 91.6% Great Britain average 80.5%
In 2011 the percentage of people who considered themselves to be in good health (Census 2011) 48.1% 47.3%  
West Suffolk's households are spread across a large rural area, plus five main settlements. The distribution of the population is: villages and outlying areas 38%, Bury St Edmunds 25.5%, Haverhill 15%, Newmarket 10.5%, Brandon 6% and Mildenhall 5% (Census 2011)
 

Economy and skills

  Forest Heath St Edmundsbury England
As of 2015, percentage of 16-64 year olds who were economically active (NOMIS Annual population survey 2015) 78.2% 84.4% 77.8% in Great Britain as a whole
In 2015, 83.3% of West Suffolk employees worked in services, 11.1% worked in manufacturing and 4.4% worked in construction (NOMIS Annual Population Survey)
In 2011, the percentage of residents aged over 16 with at least NVQ Level 1 or equivalent qualifications, compared to an (Census 2011) 74.3% 77.6% England average of 77.5%
Between 2014-2015, the proportion of young people achieving 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths (Department for Education and Suffolk Observatory) 49% 54.1% England average of 53.8%

Housing

  Forest Heath St Edmundsbury England
The average household size in West Suffolk (Census 2011) 2.3 people 2.4 people England average 2.4 people
Between 2001 and 2011, the number of households (Census 2011) increased by 4.12% increased by 8.53% England and Wales average 3.4%
In 2015, the ratio of lower quartile earnings to lower quartile house prices (DCLG 2015) 8.39 times 10.06 times England average 7.02 times
In June 2014, the average cost of renting a home (National Housing Federation) £825 per month £710 per month East of England £690 per month
England £720 per month
In October to December the rate of homelessness (DCLG 2015) 0.65 households per 1,000 0.51 households per 1,000 England average 0.63 households per 1,000

Further information about the districts and the rest of Suffolk can be found at: www.suffolkobservatory.info