Buckinghamshire is widely considered to be an affluent county, with residents having some of the best outcomes in the UK. However, this picture masks the significant variations in health, work and education outcomes across the county.
Unmasking these variations using data can be a challenge for researchers. Often, data that is made publicly available doesn’t have the level of granularity or accuracy required to develop a detailed picture at smaller geographies, like wards. However, recently released Census data has helped to fill that need.
Buckinghamshire Council launched its flagship Opportunity Bucks programme to improve opportunities for people in the county. It focuses on 10 wards in Buckinghamshire across three areas where people are experiencing the most hardship.
To inform the work of the Opportunity Bucks programme, we at Buckinghamshire LEP have produced a set of economic profiles on those 10 wards, by analysing the latest Census data.
Analysing the data has yielded important findings that suggest some challenges are more prominent in certain wards.
Key findings include:
- Residents of the Booker, Cressex and Castlefield ward have the most acute labour market participation difficulties. Long-term unemployment is particularly high amongst residents of this area and employment rates are particularly low.
- Residents of the remaining Wycombe Opportunity Bucks wards are less likely to be long-term unemployed (or have never worked) but current unemployment and claimant rates are relatively high.
- Two of the three Aylesbury Opportunity Bucks wards have the 2nd and 4th lowest employment rates of all 49 wards in Buckinghamshire.
- There is a relative lack of job opportunities in Aylesbury. A higher proportion of residents in the Aylesbury Opportunity Bucks wards usually work in routine roles.
- Households in Aylesbury North are least likely to have access to a car or van, and therefore residents are more reliant of other means of transport to access employment opportunities.
- Working residents of Chesham and Booker, Cressex & Castlefield ward are more likely to work on a self-employed basis than those of all other Opportunity Bucks wards (and the county as a whole).
- Those who are unemployed or economically inactive in the Terriers & Amersham Hill ward are more likely to be over the age of 50.
Increasing awareness of the specific challenges that residents experience is fundamental so that targeted intervention can be effective. While the economic ward profiles help to raise that awareness, data on its own cannot provide the full picture in developing a real in-depth understanding of the circumstances of residents and their needs.
By making the economic ward profiles available on the Bucks Data Exchange, we hope that they can be used by local Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to help make the case to funders and, along with their in-depth knowledge of local communities, help guide future programmes and initiatives.
You can find out more about the Economic Profiles and the Opportunity Bucks Programme here.
You can find more helpful data and information on the Buckinghamshire economy on the Bucks Data Exchange here
For more information on the Buckinghamshire economy, please visit the Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory
If you have any questions about the Bucks Economic Observatory or want to know how to find, or access data on the Bucks economy, you can contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org