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About Gateshead

(Last updated: January 2024)

Gateshead is located on the southern bank of the river Tyne, opposite Newcastle upon Tyne to the north, and bordering County Durham to the south, Northumberland to the west and South Tyneside/Sunderland to the east.

Gateshead is a constantly changing borough combining modern facilities with a fascinating heritage. The borough stretches almost 13 miles along the south bank of the river Tyne and covers 55 square miles, making it the largest of the five Tyne and Wear authorities.

Gateshead is a borough of contrasts. It has a large urban hub centred around the main town centre area in Bridges ward and has a number of smaller urban centres and busy employment areas such as Blaydon, Whickham, Felling and Birtley. However, around two thirds of the borough is rural with numerous small settlements such as Kibblesworth, Sunniside, Chopwell and High Spen.

Built on traditional industries of mining and heavy engineering, the 1930s saw diversification through the development of the Team Valley Trading Estate (TVTE), the first trading estate of its type in the UK. Centrally located for the region, the TVTE has become prominent for transport and distribution activities and is the borough's most prestigious employment centre; attracting the highest number of inward commuters to the borough on a daily basis.

The 1970s saw the decline of many of the region's traditional industries. A high proportion of those who lived in Gateshead worked in these industries, resulting in unemployment and high levels of deprivation and financial and social exclusion, the impact of which is still being felt today.

In the 1980s Gateshead saw the development of the MetroCentre, one of the UK's and Europe's largest shopping centres.

The urban core, shared with Newcastle, is the focus of regeneration, promoting growth through the digital economy, knowledge-based businesses and cultural-led regeneration. Major initiatives such as the The Glasshouse International Centre for Music, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead College and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge have all been developed over the years.

Gateshead has a population of around 197,700 (ONS Mid Year Population Estimates 2022) living in 89,000 households (ONS Census 2021). The population reduced by around 13,000 after the 1980s but subsequently grew significantly. However, between the 2011 and 2021 Census the population reduced by just over 4,000. Current estimates of the population suggest it is ageing, with an increase between 2011 and 2022 in those aged 65-74 of 13.4% (2,500 people) and those aged 75+ of 15.8% (2,600 people). Those aged 45-64 decreased by 2.1% (1,100 people). Over the same period there is estimated to have been a reduction in those aged 0-24 of -6.6% (-3,770 people) and those aged 25-44 of -5.0% (-2,710 people). Population projections from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) predict that this ageing population trend will continue into the future, becoming more pronounced if life expectancy continues to increase.

It is estimated that around 6.5% (12,660) of the population are from a non-White group (ONS Census 2021). The non-White population has increased from around 1.6% in 2001 to 3.7% in 2011 and then to 6.5% in 2021 (ONS Census 2001, 2011 and 2021).

Within Gateshead, socio-economic inequalities exist as illustrated by the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation (CLG). Gateshead is ranked 47th most deprived out of 317 local authorities in England. Within Gateshead there are 21 areas which fall within the 10% most deprived areas in England, equating to almost 32,700 people or 16% of the population of Gateshead. Much of this deprivation is based within the central and eastern urban areas of the borough.

Around 94,600 or 72.0% of working age (16-64) Gateshead residents are in employment which compares with an average of 75.9% for England as a whole (ONS Annual Population Survey Y/E Sep 2023), and around 5,160 or 4.2% are unemployed claiming jobseekers allowance or universal credit which compares with an average of 3.8% for England as a whole (DWP Dec 2023).

The average household income in Gateshead is just under £39,600 per year, compared with an England average of just under £48,645 (CACI Paycheck, 2023).

At 77.4 for men, and 81.6 for women, life expectancy is lower than the England averages of 79.4 and 83.1 respectively. These latest life expectancy figures represent a slight decrease on the previous year (ONS 2018-20). Around 22% of people in Gateshead reported that their health limits day to day activities compared to around 17% nationally, but only 8% are in bad health (ONS Census 2021).

55% of housing is owner occupied, and 20% is managed by Gateshead Council. 21% of housing is rented from a private landlord or letting agency and 4% from a registered social landlord (Gateshead Council, Apr 2023).

In 2021/22 at Key Stage 4, the percentage of pupils achieving a standard 9-4 pass in English is 79%. The national average based upon all schools is also 79%. The percentage of pupils achieving a standard 0-4 pass in maths is 74% compared with the national average of 73% (DfE School Performance Tables 2021/22).

'Attainment 8' is a score based on how well pupils have performed in up to 8 qualifications. In Gateshead, in 2021/22, the score was 49.7 compared with the national average of 48.8 (DfE School Performance Tables 2021/22).

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