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Living and Working in Sheffield

‘Sheffielders’ is the correct term to use when describing residents of Sheffield. The population of Sheffield has grown to over half a million people, ten times its original size during the industrial revolution. It became the City of Sheffield in 1893 and is one of eight core cities outside London to be in the English Core Cities Group.

The last Census shows the ethnic makeup of Sheffield to be about 91% white, 4.6% Asian, and 1.8% mixed and Black. Sheffield is more diverse that those statistics indicate, with large Polish, Somali, Slovak, Kosovar, and Yemeni populations. As far as religion is concerned, 68.6% of the population was Christian at the time of the last census in 2001.
Muslims comprise 4.6%, with other religions making up less than one percent. The number of people who claim no religious affiliation is above the national average at 17.9%, with 7.8% who just didn’t want to say what their religion is. The largest age group is 20-24 year olds who make up 9.2% of the cities population because of local universities.

Sheffield’s citizens are represented by a City Council. Eighty-four councilors represent 28 wards with three coming from each ward. The Local Government Act of 1972 made the council a metropolitan council of the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire. Local government is reorganized every so often in the U.K. The latest was 2004, and the city of Sheffield saw lines drawn for 28 new wards with 84 councilors. All of the Council Seats were contested that year as they were all new and local elections are now held regularly. The city also has a Lord Mayor, but it is largely a ceremonial title since it no longer carries with it control of the City Council finances.

The grouping of electoral wards is further divided into districts, which don’t seem to have a lot of political power, but represent former villages and townships that have been annexed into the city. Each ward is made up of on average four to six districts.

Economically, the city of Sheffield is rebounding from a disastrous decline in the steel industry beginning in the 1980s, and the miner’s strike in 1984-85. The city has worked hard to regenerate run-down areas since then, and public works projects in the City Centre like the “Heart of the City” project have helped some, mainly with building new shopping areas that employ many people, but at lower wages than the steel industry did.

The labour market in Sheffield has changed drastically in the past few decades with only 14% of the jobs in manufacturing. Steel production did not disappear from Sheffield however. The area currently produces more steel than it has ever produced. It just does it with less people, more automation, and cleaner processes than it ever has. Limestone and coal are not dead industries either, but are also less noticeable and employing fewer workers.

One promising employment fact is that Sheffield s economy is also one of education. The city spent a full third of their yearly budget on education in 2004-2005. Sheffield has two major universities and two colleges, one of the colleges being formed by the merger of six smaller colleges. One hundred and forty-one primary schools, twenty-three secondary schools and seven private schools lay the groundwork for a good education economy with 70,000 plus people employed in the field in some manner.

Sheffield’s next claim to fame may come in the form of retail sales. Sheffield has invested heavily in High Street and department stores. Currently Sheffield sits at 35th in a list of UK Shopping destinations, but the city hopes to turn that around soon with the 500 Million Pound New Retail Quarter Project. These projects also bolster construction employment. Let’s not forget about Meadowhall, a giant of a shopping centre on the site of an old steel works.

Sporting and leisure venues are also projected to bring in tourist dollars to the city’s coffers. The city council owns several venues and they are operated by independent trusts. Sheffield Arena, Don Valley Stadium, Millennium Galleries, Lyceum Theatre and The Crucible Theatre are some of the venues the city council hopes will draw tourists and tourist money into the city of Sheffield. The music industry in Sheffield is quite healthy, and is backed by City Council funding as well with live music venues, and training programs for all kinds of music industry related careers.

Sheffield has pretty good access to transportation with two major motorways nearby, an international airport within 20 miles, good local roads, light rail, local rail, bus services, and national rail all available. The local rail was hampered by the industrial nature of the city’s economy and the hilly terrain for many years, but changing times have made the city take another look at improving it.

The city is located inside and outside National Park lands and is considered by many the greenest city in Europe now. With an economy that has shifted as drastically as Sheffield’s, many cities would not bounce back so quickly, but a Barclays Bank Financial Planning study found that the Hallam District of Sheffield was the highest ranking area outside London for overall wealth.

About the Author: Article by Susan Ashby of Sheffield Singles. To read more articles like this or for dating in Sheffield visit

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