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The local area guide to living in Southampton
Situated along the South Coast of England, Southampton is the largest city in Hampshire. Well known for its aviation, maritime, and cultural history, the city - which plays host to millions of tourists all year round - is constantly alive with activity, and never lacking in things to do.
The city has a large cultural presence; from galleries, to museums, and two popular music venues, there are hundreds of buildings to visit - and if you fancy an outdoors pursuit, there's always miles of rolling coastlines to enjoy, including the bustling port for which Southampton is best known.
Information about the local residents
The 2011 census showed the population of Southampton to be at 236,900; an increase of nearly 9% since the previous 2001 census report. 77% of this population are estimated to be White British, whilst a sizeable portion of the population is White Other, Asian and Chinese. The major religion in Southampton is Christianity, with 65% of the population being of this faith.
The largest age group in the city are those aged between 20-24, which is likely because the city has a large student presence, owing to the number of colleges and universities scattered around the area. Those aged between 25-29 were the second largest age group, meaning that the city is most popular with the younger generations.
The majority of Southampton’s population enjoy full-time employment, with only 2.4% claiming jobseeker's allowance – lower than the UK average. The majority of these jobs are in the health and education sectors, whilst a large portion of jobs are also in wholesale and retail.
Southampton features many primary and secondary schools, the majority of which received 'Satisfactory' or above in their Ofsted reports. These include Mansel Park Primary School, Sinclair Nursery and Primary School, and Valentine Primary School; all of which are evenly spread across the city for easy access within the catchment areas.
Secondary schools include Wildern School and The Gregg School; the former of which received an 'Outstanding' Ofsted rating, and the latter of which is a renowned independent school with an excellent reputation. For those with special educational needs, 'Forest Park' caters for all types of requirements, providing a more personal and assisted style of education.
Southampton benefits from several institutes offering higher education. The University of Southampton is a prestigious establishment; consistently making its way into UK league tables, and appearing on tables listing the top 20 universities in the UK. The highly rated Southampton Solent University can also be found in the city, and the University of Bournemouth isn't too far away for those wishing to study closer to home.
Southampton has pretty much every form of transport you could need in such a vast city. There are two train stations for those travelling by rail: Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway; the latter of which serves the nearby international airport for those with further travelling to do. Southampton central has links to London, Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Bournemouth and more.
There is a regular bus service, with 6 different companies offering bus routes in and around Southampton to surrounding towns Fareham, Gosport, Upper Shirley and many others. There is also a frequent Unibus service around the city.
As an important port town, Southampton offers ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight and also to Hythe.
Southampton has seen its fair share of many spectacular festivals and concerts. The Southampton Guild Hall is conveniently located in the centre of the city and has played host to some big names in music and theatre.
The nightlife in Southampton is excellent, the bustling suburb of Portswood offers a range of pubs and clubs to cater to all tastes. These include the Tolkein themed 'Hobbit' pub - a particular favourite with the locals - and the Rockstone which serves up various ales and an assortment of food.
For days out, there are various shopping areas and complexes, and even a market on alternating Fridays and Saturdays which offer a range of goods, from clothes to accessories, to food.
Whilst Southampton itself doesn't have a typical sandy beach owing to the ports, there are several picturesque beaches nearby which are lovely for walks, and enjoying the tranquility the southern coastline has to offer.