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Information about the Black Country

Our vision is to improve the health & well-being of people of all ages across the Black Country. We provide a range of specialist health services for people with learning disabilities in Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton. In Dudley we provide community healthcare services for children, young people and their families. In Sandwell and Wolverhampton, we care for and support people of all ages who have mental health needs.

As a leading healthcare provider we want to celebrate and encourage equality & diversity. We are committed to striving towards delivering appropriate and responsive services that meet the needs and wishes of local people and our staff across the Black Country.

The Black Country comprises the Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton and covers 356 square kilometres. The Black Country today is a product of its industrial past. It has a special place in UK and world history as the area that pioneered the urbanisation of the industrial revolution.

Today, the Black Country is home to just under 1.1 million people, accounting for one fifth of the West Midlands region’s population. The age profile of the Black Country is similar to that of the West Midlands with an ageing population, and there are more women than men living here.

The average Black Country resident earns less per person compared to the national average, and many parts of the region are dominated by concentrations of low priced private housing and large areas of social rented housing. The Black Country has high levels of unemployment, reducing the opportunities for those who live here.

After years of decline the population of the Black Country is starting to increase. The population is very diverse in terms of ethnicity, with some 26% of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) origins, particularly from the Indian Sub Continent and the Caribbean. This is compared to the national average of 9%. The Black Country contains 9.5% of all the authorised and tolerated traveller sites in the wider region, and has sizable Polish and Somali communities as well as refugee and asylum seekers. The predicted population growth in the Black Country is expected to be within these Black & Minority Ethnic populations and particularly South Asian groups. About 4% of Black Country house holds have no one who has English as their main language.

The Black Country has total of 131,156 people of working age that have declared themselves as having a disability or a limiting long term illness. This is about 20% of working age adults.

The Black Country incorporates a diverse selection of faith groups including Christians of many different denominations, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists, as well as small groups from pagan and humanist traditions. The 2011 Census shows that the biggest faith represented in the Black Country remains Christian at 59%, with the next largest faith communities being Muslim and Sikh at around 6% each. The next largest faith community is Hindu at 2%. These figures are for the whole of the Black Country, but there is a marked difference between boroughs. Within Sandwell and Wolverhampton around 9% of the population identify with the Sikh faith and in Dudley and Walsall it is the Muslim faith which is the next largest community, after Christianity, at 4.1% and 8.2% respectively. Around 20% of the population say they have no religion.

Stonewall, the national charity working for equality and justice for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, feel that the government figure of 5-7% of the population being LGB is a reasonable estimate. However, there is no hard data on the number of LGB people living in the UK, as no national census has asked people to define their sexual orientation. National research has shown that 1 in 10 young people are of lesbian, gay or bisexual orientation. This means there are potentially over 10000 young people in the Black Country who are lesbian, gay or bisexual or exploring their sexual orientation.

It is very hard to find data on how many people identify as transgender in any geographical area but a home office funded study by GIRES (Gender Identity Research and Education Society) estimate there to be between 300 000 to 500 000 trans people in the UK. With a population of 63.7 million that would be about 0.6%.

For the first time the census included opportunity for people to record that they were in a same sex civil partnership rather than a marriage. In Wolverhampton for example 0.2% (319 people) stated that they were in a civil partnership.