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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 2021 there were 24,945 businesses in Somerset, a increase of just 15, or 0.06% on the previous year. Between 2017 and 2021, the number of businesses in Somerset increased by 585, or 2.4%. This is positive growth and higher than that seen for the South West (1.0%) but at a slower rate than the UK (3.6%) 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 more visible. Between 2017 and 2021, there was an increase of 4.3% of businesses in Somerset, compared to an increase of just 1.92% for the South West, and 4.1% for the UK as a whole.

The same Business Demography figures show that in 2018 there were 2,245 business births in Somerset, which given the total stock of businesses in the county represents a birth rate of 10%. In the same year the South West business birth rate was 10.4% and the UK business birth rate was 12.7%.

Business survival rates in Somerset are broadly similar to those for the South West as whole, but notably higher than they are nationally, beyond the first year or so. Among businesses in their first year, survival rates are typically similar, with 88.9% of new enterprises set up in 2018 in Somerset remaining active in 2019, compared to 90% and 89.3% for the South West and UK respectively. However, the three-year survival rate for businesses started in 2016 was 59.3% in Somerset, compared to 49% for the South West and 52% for the UK. The five-year survival rate for businesses started in 2014 was 47.7% in Somerset, 45.9% for the South West, and 42.5% for the UK.

Source: ONS, Business Demography, UK 2019