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Business Births, Deaths & Survival Rates


Births, deaths and survival rates are published annually as part of the business demography dataset by the Office for National Statistics. This dataset captures all new businesses registered for VAT or PAYE, and all those who cease to trade and are de-registered from the same lists.

The tables and charts above show the rates of survival among businesses within their first few years of operation. Data is reported for Somerset, the South West and the United Kingdom.

About the data

According to ONS data, in 2018 there were 24,240 businesses in Somerset, a decrease of 120, or 0.5% on the previous year. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of businesses in Somerset increased by 1,870, or 8.4%. This is positive growth but at a slower rate than that seen for the South West (11.7%) and UK (17.9%) as a whole over the same period.

If we exclude agriculture and public administration, then the difference in growth rates between Somerset and regional and national averages is greater still. Indeed, over a slightly different 4-year period, between 2013 and 2017, there was an increase of 6.9% of businesses in Somerset, compared to an increase of 13.7% for the South West, and 19.5% for the UK as a whole.

The same Business Demography figures show that in 2017 there were 2,125 business births in Somerset, which given the total stock of businesses in the county represents a birth rate of 9.4%. In the same year the South West business birth rate was 10.6% and the UK business birth rate was 13.1%.

Business survival rates in Somerset are broadly similar to those for the South West as whole, but notably higher than they are nationally, especially beyond the first year or so. Among businesses in their first year, survival rates are typically similar, with 91.9% of new enterprises set up in 2016 in Somerset remaining active in 2017, compared to 92.1% and 91.5% for the South West and UK respectively. However, the three-year survival rate for businesses started in 2014 was 65.5% in Somerset, compared to 63.3% for the South West and 61.2% for the UK. The five-year survival rate for businesses started in 2012 was 46% in Somerset, 45.8% for the South West, and 43.2% for the UK.

Source: ONS, Business Demography, UK 2017