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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
A snapshot of life in statistics
City workers

The Office for National Statistics' Social Trends survey offers a unique insight into how our lives are changing.

Here we look at some of the figures which describe modern UK living.


Children and young people are spending more of their lives in the classroom, the figures show.

The proportion of under-fives in schools tripled from 21% in 1971 to 64% last year.

There were nearly three times as many further education students in the UK in 2004/05 - 76% of all 16-year-olds - as in 1970/1.

And the number of pupils being permanently excluded from school fell by 23% from 1997/8 to 12 in every 10,000 in 2004/5.


England and Wales are becoming louder places, according to the statistics.

Noise complaints by type

Environmental heath officers reported that complaints about noise pollution from households increased nearly fivefold between 1984/5 and 2004/5, with nearly three quarters coming from domestic premises.

Loud music and barking dogs were the biggest irritants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, cited as the most common sources of complaints about neighbours by two-thirds and one quarter of councils respectively.

The number of complaints about road works, building sites and demolition sites rose by a third over the same period.


Life expectancy rose by 5.1 years for men and 3.7 years for women in the UK from 1981 to 2002, the figures reveal.

Although people have been living longer, the number of years spent in poor health has been increasing.

In 1981, men would spend an average of 6.4 years of their life being ill, but by 2002 this had risen to 8.8 years.

For women, the time spent in poor health rose from 10.1 years 10.6 over the same period.


There was some good news for the planet contained within the statistics.

Carbon dioxide emissions in the UK dropped by 18% between 1970 and 2004.

The amount of household waste collected for recycling or composting in England tripled between 1996/7 and 2004/5.

But none of this will be enough to assuage fears about global warming - 2006 was the warmest year on record for central England, with an average temperature of 10.8 degrees Celsius.


In England and Wales, 10.9 million crimes were committed against adults living in private households in 2006 - 8.4 million fewer than a decade previously.

Offenders by age

Property crime accounted for 73% of all crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2005/6.

The risk of becoming a victim of crime over the same period fell from 40% to 23%.

Teenage males were the most likely group to have been involved in crime.

And four out of every 10 juveniles released from detention re-offended within a year of their conviction.


Household disposable income rose in the UK by 1.4% between 2004 and 2005, while GDP per person went up by 1.2%.

The proportion of single parents with persistent low incomes fell from 40% in 1991/4 to 21% for 2001/4.

But in 2003, one quarter of the adult population owned almost three quarters of the country's wealth.


One area where the UK fares better than most of Europe is road safety.

In 2004, the UK road accident death rate for children aged 14 or under, at 1.3 per 100,000 population, was one of Europe's lowest.

Luxembourg had the lowest recorded rate, at less than 0.1 per 100,000 population, while Poland had the highest at 3.6.

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