Sheffield First Partnership has released its latest findings into what it is like to live, work and learn in Sheffield.

The State of Sheffield 2014 report tells the continuing story of the city’s development, providing an overview of what is happening, how things are changing and how Sheffield is faring compared to other cities.

Sharon Squires, Director of Sheffield First Partnership Said:

“Cities like Sheffield are complex entities and always face change. People, businesses and communities have different experiences and perceptions of the city. It is a challenge to provide a single analysis of Sheffield, the State of Sheffield report goes beyond simple description and instead asks important questions about living, working and wellbeing in Sheffield. The common narrative is that Sheffield continues to be a ‘city of choice’ for many.”

Unlike previous reports, this year the 2011 census results have been incorporated to give a more defined view of Sheffield’s make up. The population of the city has grown over the last 10 years and has become more diverse – in particular there have been increases in younger and older people, and it is more diverse in its ethnic groups and communities. This is due to a combination of the impact of the universities in the city and inward migration of households with young families. The ethnic minority population of the city is now 19 per which is more than double that in 2001.

The economic performance of Sheffield and the Sheffield City region remains a mixed story. Sheffield does not appear to have suffered or experienced more problems than comparable cities and the unemployment claimant rate in the city has declined over the last 10 months in line with national trends.

Sheffield remains ‘in the pack’, rather than lagging behind like some northern cities, however levels of youth unemployment, particularly long term youth unemployment, remain far too high.

Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council and Chair of the Sheffield Executive Board said:

“Sheffield is a very resilient city and one that always shows grit and determination. Although it seems that we have weathered the economic storm well there is still a lot of work to do to make sure that the Sheffield of tomorrow provides the right opportunity for our young people.

We continue to help young people get a start on the career ladder. Our commitment to apprenticeships, for which we are a leader nationally, has now seen the percentage of young people Not in Education, Employment and Training (NEETS) reduce to 6.5 per cent but we want to reduce this further.

We are ambitious about Sheffield’s future. We will always stand up for Sheffield, for fairness and for equality. We will do everything we can to create opportunities for local people.”

Health represents a complex set of conditions that are inherently linked to social and economic conditions, with different parts of the city and different communities experiencing a variety of root causes.

It is clear that people are living longer in Sheffield and the overall health of the city’s population is improving. However inequalities remain – areas of concern include infant mortality rates, unhealthy lifestyles, dementia and poor mental health (particularly amongst the city’s children and young people), in addition to persistent geographical inequality.

The report suggests that many of those already in difficulty could face even more extreme hardship in the future, while those currently on the margins of poverty and households who may have been financially secure previously could have new challenges to face.

This year’s report as well as presenting data about the changing landscapes of the city, has also been able to tap into the views of a variety of Sheffield residents. There are common threads in their stories of life in the city, which highlight the experiences of living, working and wellbeing in the city. Generally Sheffield is regarded as a place that offers tolerance, a variety of experiences and is still very much a city of choice for people to come and live.

Sharon Squires concluded:

“As with previous years, the 2014 report contains challenges for us all as well as many positives. It is clear though that Sheffield continues to move in the right direction. The extent to which remains a city of residential choice, provides a sustainable environment for all, and a city in which people can achieve and fulfil their ambitions will be themes that next year’s State of Sheffield will need to return to.”

A full copy of the report is available on the Sheffield First website.