The quite extraordinary demographics of Manchester Gorton where the next Westminster by-election will be held

The quite extraordinary demographics of Manchester Gorton where the next Westminster by-election will be held

Young, non-white with a huge number of students

The following is based on a briefing by David Cowling who writes that the “incomparable House of Commons Library have produced the following summary of 2011 census data for Manchester Gorton constituency”

52.4% of its residents were “White”; this is the lowest for any constituency in the North West, and the 8th lowest for constituencies across the UK outside London (Slough, Leicester South and Leicester East, Bradford West, Birmingham Perry Bar, Ladywood and Hall Green all had lower “White” ratios.

Among Gorton’s non-white residents, there are relatively high ratios for Black/African/Caribbean etc. and, particularly, Pakistani ethnic backgrounds. At the time of the Census 18.6% of Gorton’s residents were Asian: Pakistani, compared to 1.9% England and Wales average.

29% of Gorton residents at the time of the 2011 Census described their religion as “Muslim”; 11th highest for constituencies in England and Wales.

Relatively low rate of home ownership and high rates of renting, particularly private rented; 26% of households social rent in Gorton and 33% privately rent. Private renting is more than twice the rate in Gorton than the national or regional average and Gorton has the 16th highest rate of private renting for constituencies in the UK.

Gorton’s population is young – with relatively high ratios for the under 45 age groups. In Gorton, 23% of residents are aged 16 to 24 years, nearly double the 12% UK average. Conversely, 8% of Gorton’s residents are aged 65+, compared to 16% for the UK on average.

29% of Gorton’s working age residents are students, nearly double the 15% UK average.

29% of Gorton’s residents in employment travel to work by bus; compared to 7.5% UK average. Gorton is the 2nd highest constituency for bus travel across the UK, beaten only by Camberwell and Peckham, where 35% go to work by bus.

Car ownership in Gorton is relatively low – 45% of households have no car, compared to the UK average of 26%.

What’s clear from this is that Gorton will be no ordinary by-election and so much could depend on the candidates selected. This is not a seat where Paul Nuttall should compete and Mr Farage should keep well away. Latest betting has Labour as an 90%+ chance with the LDs second favourite.

My guess is that Labour will choose to hold it on May 4th – the local elections day where in Gorton they will also be choosing the first elected mayor of the combined authority of Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham is the LAB candidate for that.

Mike Smithson

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