Norfolk has a balance of urban and rural districts with Norwich the most urban and North Norfolk the most rural. The rural nature of Norfolk presents opportunities in providing access to natural greenspace but higher risk of being killed or seriously injured on the roads and provides challenges to the delivery of services. Currently more than 140,000 people in Norfolk live in areas categorised as the most deprived 20% in England. These are mainly located in the urban areas of Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, together with some identified pockets of deprivation in rural areas, coastal villages and market towns. Norfolk remains a very safe place. It continues to have one of the lowest crime rates in England, with over 50% of Norfolk population living in areas with the lowest (20%) crime incident rate in England. The level of crime and disorder in most places is well below the national average. Although this varies across the county with the highest levels of crime being in some areas of Norwich and Great Yarmouth.
Access to green space is important to the quality of life, fresh air, exercise benefits both physical and mental health. On average Norwich has the largest combined size of ‘Parks, Public Gardens, or Playing Fields within 1,000 m radius’ and Great Yarmouth has the lowest amount. Health services in Norfolk are commissioned by Norfolk and Waveney CCG and approximately one third of spending on social care is commissioned by Norfolk County Council. With approximately 30% of the annual Norfolk County Council budget being spent on Adult Social Services. The average spend on Adult social care per head of population is one of the highest in England with over £600 per person for the year 2019/2020. Housing continues to provide challenges as rent and prices rise as well as the demand for specialist housing to cater for an aging population. Homelessness in Norfolk is much better than the national rate, with 70 persons per capita compared to England at 380. This varies across the county with a higher rate in Great Yarmouth (190) and lower in South Norfolk (20). Employment within Norfolk is slightly higher than that of England, although the average earnings are slightly lower with a median salary for 2020 being around £28,000 for full time workers.
Average monthly private rental rates between October 2019 to September 2020 in England was £845, in Norfolk the average is £715 and varies from £578 in Great Yarmouth to £796 in Norwich. The number of households is projected to increase in Norfolk by 62,000 between the years 2020 and 2040, that is a percentage increase of roughly 16%, higher than England in general which is set to increase by 13%. Out of the Norfolk districts, Breckland has the largest percentage increase and South Norfolk the largest numerical increase in households over the time period. 15,000 houses were sold in Q1 2019 in Norfolk with average house price varying from £175,000 in Great Yarmouth to £257,000 in South Norfolk. Homelessness in Norfolk is better than England with 70 households per capita in temporary accommodation compared to 380 in England. Within Norfolk itself, Great Yarmouth had the highest number in temporary accommodation per capita, 190. With South Norfolk having the lowest number, 20. But both were lower than the average of the East of England at 240. It has been shown that renting correlates with a lower life expectancy and worse health outcomes and low-quality housing can cause certain health issues.
A household considered to be fuel poor if they reside in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below and if they properly heat their home, their remaining income is below the official poverty line. Fuel poverty in Norfolk is higher (11.5%) than England at 10.3% of households in fuel poverty and is the second worst in the East of England. Within Norfolk the highest percentage is in North Norfolk and the lowest in Broadland.
Local district, borough and city councils
Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Transport Plan for 2026 sets out the vision for “A transport system that allows residents and visitors a range of low carbon options to meet their transport needs and attracts and retains business investment in the county.” Norfolk’s key strategic connections by road are to London and the South and an East-West road connection and route. Rail lines to the Midlands and North of England, London and the South, Midlands and the North of England via Cambridge, the South and Europe via St Pancras / Thameslink from King’s Lynn. Norfolk’s other gateways are Norwich Airport and the Ports at King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.
Norfolk has a slightly higher percentage of road deaths (per capita) than England but the rate is generally trending downwards. In 2019 there were 28 road deaths in Norfolk with the highest as South Norfolk with nine fatalities. In the Norfolk area there are on average 67 vehicles per 100 people, 53 of which are cars. This is higher than England which has 58 vehicles per 100 people. Of the Norfolk districts South Norfolk has the highest vehicle ownership rate and Norwich has by a significant margin, the lowest.
Economy & employment
The average weekly wage across Norfolk was £540 in 2020 compared to £590 in the rest of England. The average wage grew by 0.7% compared to a drop in England of 0.4%. In the year 2019/20 the unemployment rate in Norfolk was 3.7% in the 16 to 64 age group which was higher than England at 3.5%. Out of the Norfolk districts Breckland had the highest unemployment rate at 7.4% and South Norfolk had the lowest at 1.6%. The percentage of the working population employed by the public sector was like England around 21%. An indication of the activity in an economy is the number of Active Enterprises. Norfolk has about 33,000 active enterprises in 2020 and has shown little change from the previous year. This equates to about 3.5 Active Enterprises per 100 people in Norfolk which is lower than the English average of 4.2.
In general, the population of England is moving to rural areas from more urban ones with the East of England having the highest rate of inflow per capita.[27,28] Across Norfolk the Rural-urban classification varies from Urban within Norwich, to mainly Rural in Breckland, North Norfolk and South Norfolk. 88% of North Norfolk is classed as rural. This variation across the county provides challenges to the delivery of services.
Currently 130,000 people in Norfolk live in areas categorised as the most deprived 20% in England, these areas are mostly located in Norwich and Great Yarmouth. However, some of the smaller areas of rural deprivation, which can make delivery of services more difficult and reduce accessibility for the population, remain hidden.
Health & social care
The Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group oversees the health services in Norfolk. Collections of general practices (GPs) join together into Primary Care Networks. Within Norfolk and Waveney there are over one hundred GPs, three hospitals and over five hundred and fifty registered care providers. Mental health services are provided by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust. Total current healthcare expenditure for the UK in 2018 was £214.4 billion, roughly equalling £3,200 per person per year. When adjusted for inflation, healthcare spending in the UK more than doubled between 1997 and 2018. Within the East of England over 270,000 individuals worked in various aspects of health and social care in the year 2020, making up 9% of employed population.
In the year 2019/20 there were 111 workers killed at work and roughly 1,900 workplace injuries every day across the whole of Great Britain. These workplace injuries cost roughly £5.6 billion and cause over 38.8 million lost workdays. The most frequent injury type was “Slips, trips or falls on same level” followed by “Handling, lifting or carrying”. These two types made up just under 50% of all injuries. Mental health is a major factor in workplace absence, accounting for around 45% of all lost workdays. The amount of people afflicted with work related stress, depression or anxiety is rising. This issue is especially acute in certain industries such as public administration, social work and education.
Norfolk remains a very safe place. In 2019/20 there were roughly 7.2 recorded crimes for every 100 people in Norfolk, this compares favourably with England at large (8.4) and the rest of the East of England (7.6). There was a one percent drop in the number of recorded crimes compared with the previous year with a 20% drop in burglaries and 15% drop in robberies. Out of the Norfolk districts Norwich has the highest incidence of crime per capita and North Norfolk has the lowest.
Profile themed data for localities in Norfolk & Waveney