About the area

The statistics on this page provide key information relating to West Suffolk. Detailed statistical reports about each of the 43 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 is a predominantly rural district 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.

West Suffolk has six market towns, Brandon, Bury St Edmunds, Clare, Haverhill, Mildenhall and Newmarket.

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.

Where data are not yet available for West Suffolk then figures for Forest Heath District Council (FHDC) and St Edmundsbury Borough Council (SEBC) are shown:

Population

  West Suffolk England Source
Total population 179,248 55,619,430 ONS MYE 2017
Between 2016 and 2017 the population grew by 1.45% 0.64% ONS MYE 2016 AND 2017
West Suffolk has an ageing population: % of the population aged over 65 20.6% 18% ONS MYE 2017
Ethnic diversity. Percentage of White (English/Welsh/Scottish/NI/British) people 86.3% 79.80% Nomis Census 2011
Percentage of people who considered themselves to be in very good health 47.6%% 47.20% Nomis Census 2011

West Suffolk's population is spread across a large rural area, plus five main settlements.

The distribution of the population is: villages and outlying areas 40.8%, Bury St Edmunds 23.4%, Haverhill 15.5%, Newmarket 9.6%, Brandon 5.5%, and Mildenhall 5.2%.

Economy and skills

  West Suffolk England Source
Percentage of 16-64 year olds who were economically active 82.90% 78.70% Nomis APS Oct 17 - Sept 18

Sectors of employment. Percentage of employees working in:

Nomis Business Register and Employment Survey 2017 (BRES): open access

Business administration and support services

15.40% 9.30%
Health 11.80% 12.84%
Manufacturing 11.80% 8.08%
Retail 9.60% 9.50%
Accommodation and food services 7.90% 7.38%
Percentage of residents aged over 16 with at least NVQ Level 1 or equivalent qualifications 87.5% 85.50% Nomis APS Jan - Dec 2017
Between 2016-17, the proportion of young people achieving a 9-4 pass in both English and Maths GCSE 62.10% 64.20% DfE SFR 01/2018, data published Jan 2018 for 2016/17

Housing

  West Suffolk England Source
Average household size 2.4 people 2.4 people ONS MYE 2016 and 2016 based household projections
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of households increased by 9.60% increased by 8.60% ONS 2016 based household projections
Ratio of lower quartile earnings to lower quartile house prices (Ratios are calculated by dividing house price by annual earnings; the higher the ratio the more expensive it is to buy a house)

FHDC 9.48 times

7.26 times ONS ratio of house price to resident based earnings. Year ending Sept 2017 
SEBC 9.55 times
Average cost of renting a home (3 bedroomed)

FHDC £1,000 per month

£881 per month Gov.uk Private rental market summary statistics April 17 - March 18
SEBC £932 per month
Rate of homelessness 3.21 households per 1,000 2.41 households per 1,000 Table 784 Local authorities' action under the homelessness provision year April 2017 to March 18

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