Overall, Somerset has a stable and successful economy, with many economic indicators performing better than the regional and national averages. Over the last decade Somerset has maintained a steady level of economic growth, low unemployment and continuous job growth.
The employment structure in Somerset is similar to that of the South West and the UK. However Somerset has a greater proportion of people working in the agriculture, manufacturing, distribution, hotels and restaurants sectors and a smaller percentage of people working in the financial and business services than regionally or nationally.
The usual resident population of Somerset on Census Day 2011 was estimated to be 529,972. This represents an increase of 31,879 people since the last Census in 2001, a rise of 6.4%. There are a total of 249,000 households in Somerset and the majority of those (70%) are owner occupied.
There is a great deal of choice where to live with so many beautiful and accessible Somerset villages and market towns to choose from. Picture book thatched cottages, mellow ham stone houses in South Somerset or, the Blue Lias stone houses of the Mendips.
To find out the latest average house prices in Somerset visit Land Registry website.
Childcare supports families in balancing work/life commitments and enables more adults to work. Increasing the levels of registered childcare across the county, particularly in disadvantaged areas is a key priority of Somerset County Council's Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership, supporting working parents and helping community regeneration. Integrated early education and childcare is being developed in disadvantaged areas through the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative, working towards a target of 14 places per 100 children.
Somerset has some of the most diverse landscapes in the British Isles, from the remote uplands of Exmoor to nationally designated areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Quantock, Blackdown and Mendip Hills and world-renowned 'wetlands'. The beautiful coastline complements the rolling landscape of south Somerset.
With such a varied and beautiful landscape, it's not surprising that Somerset has provided the settings for many films, such as 'Land Girls', 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and 'Chocolat'.
Recent surveys have established that the majority of Somerset residents consider the Somerset countryside to be the most important factor in determining their quality of life.
There is easy access by rail and road to the major city centres such as Taunton, Plymouth, Bristol, Swindon and London. Bristol International Airport has many European and global flights available, with easy parking and a dedicated bus transport system from Bristol city centre.
Within a couple of hours cycling you can travel from the tidal mudflats of Bridgwater Bay in the west, across the Levels and Moors and Mid Somerset Hills to the limestone Yeovil Scarplands in the east. From the north, in a day's cycling, you can travel from the Mendip limestone plateau through the dramatic Cheddar Gorge, across the Levels and Moors to the Vale of Taunton Deane and over the scarp of the Blackdown Hills with its flat-topped plateau into Devon.