Related to: House Prices and Tenure, Internet Access, Mental Health and Illness

Key Facts

  • There were 15,932 living in Bath and North East Somerset at the time of the 2011 Census, representing 9% of the total population. This increases to 51% of Bathwick ward and 38% of Westmoreland ward.

Demography

The majority of full time students aged over 18 are studying at the two universities in the area, the University of Bath and Bath Spa University. Between 1995/96 and 2008/9 the number of students in these higher education institutions rose from 10740 to 21540 (101%).  1.

The student population is not equally distributed accross the area, both Universities have a notable proportion of students living 'on-campus' and student housing is also found throughout the City. In particular, Westmoreland ward had saw a population increase of 23% between 2001 and 2011. 2. Table 1 demonstrates the proportional concentration of students in wards in Bath and Norh East Somerset.

Area

Full time students 18 +

%

England & Wales

2,485,001

4%

B&NES

15,932

9%

Bathwick*

2,483

51%

Westmoreland

2,454

38%

Oldfield

1,599

27%

Widcombe

1,534

27%

Kingsmead

1,096

20%

Bathavon West**

434

18%

Abbey

903

16%

Lansdown

473

10%

Walcot

588

10%

*Bath University Campus, ** Bath Spa University Campus

Table 1 - Wards with a greater than average proportion of student residents 3

Students and the Environment

In 2011, Keep Britain Tidy conducted research with a number of Universities, including the University of Bath 4 examining the relationship between student communities and their local environment. The report noted that university is often a transitional space where people grow into adult responsibilities from a period of living with parents. This growth in responsibility can be seen throughout a student's time at university. Priorities for students change over time, whilst in the first year:

  • Students placed 'University assignments', 'social functioning', 'financial functioning' and 'putting out the waste/recycling'as being very important and something they would have a high likelihood of being done.
  • 'Staying inormed' and being 'sensible, adult and responsible' were also considered very important, but had a lower liklihood of being done.
  • Maintaining their immediate property was not considered important and had a low liklihood of being done.
  • as students spent longer in their local area, the importance of 'staying informed' and 'being sensible, adult and responsible' increased.

The report also highlighted individual, rather than collective, behaviours in Houses of Multiple occupancy, which meant that although there was no intention of poor behaviour, it was common for no one in a household to take responsibility for waste and irregular living patterns could cause noise nuisance for neigbours.  Students who percieved Bath to compare postiively to their home were more likely to improve their behaviours to meet a percieved standard of the City.

More broadly, students were more likely to identify with the physical space of their home area, whilst they were more likely to identify with their friends and social groups at University.

Communicating with students

Analysis in 2011, of areas with high levels of community capacity5 (the ability of a community to take self-directed action), discovered that some areas with a high proportion of student residents had lower levels of capacity. However, these communities were also considerably more likely to be active users of Social Media.

This was also backed up by the Keep Britain Tidy research 6, although it was also observed that students were often critical of how social media was used as an engagement tool. Students percieved themselves to be time-poor and so were less likely to engage with web-sites or other traditional media. Direct communications from their University or Landlords were also seen to be effective.

Students and Mental Wellbeing

Research for the National Union of Students 7 in Scotland highlighted a range of issues surrounding student mental health

  • Exams and examinations and future careers were a big cause for concern, with nearly all students interviewed reporting that exams caused more stress than expected.
  • Having enough money to get by was highlighted as a cause of stress for 70% of students, and working a paid job was considered a cause of stress for 50%
  • Alternatively, 30% of students felt comfortable asking their institution for help or support, while 80% reported that stigma related to mental health issues would be the primary barrier.