|Curzon Street Station [...] opened in 1838. It closed to passengers 55 years later, having proved too inconvenient. [...] it has been derelict ever since||It closed to regular passenger services just 16 years later in 1854 (superseded by the more central Birmingham New st.); holiday excursions continued until 1893 (44 years later). It was a goods station until 1966 with the building itself used as offices. It was often used after this date by local Arts organisations as a temporary base or as a venue.|
|Some 14% of the population is unemployed, the highest level in any big city in the country||The Birmingham City Council bulletin for October 2012 uses the claimant count figure of 10.9% (rather than the higher Labour Force survey figure) which is higher than all the 'core cities'. It's awful.|
|In the inner-city wards of Aston and Washwood Heath, the figure is higher than 30%||Yes it is. Aston is at 30.7% and Washwood Heath 30.4%.|
|Two-fifths of Birmingham’s population live in areas classified as in the 10% most deprived parts of England.||Yep, 2010 figures tell us that 40% of the population are living in SOAs (Super Output Areas) that are in the 10% most deprived in England|
|The city’s infant mortality rate is strikingly high, around 60% worse than the national average||The figures are for deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2008-2010 it was 7.3 for Birmingham, 4.6 is the average for England. That is indeed 60%.|
|By 1971 “the city of a thousand trades” had become a sort of British Detroit, employing tens of thousands of car workers||Longbridge alone had 25,000 workers in the 70s. Castle Bromwich circa 7,000 workers. There were also the van making plant at Drews Lane in Washwood Heath and not to mention all the companies supplying parts. We relied big time on the car (love to get some exact figures on all this).|
|When militant unions and incompetent management destroyed the auto industry, Birmingham was hit brutally||The Cowley car plant in Oxfordshire was most notorious for militancy but the problem of unofficial strikes plagued the car industry as a whole in the 1970s.|
|[Birmingham] has built a convention centre, an opera house and a spectacular shopping mall.||I think it means 'concert hall' rather than opera house.|
|Between 1998 and 2008 the city lost some 61,000 private-sector jobs, according to the Centre for Cities, a think-tank||The Centre for Cities mention a 50,000 figure but the key point is that private sector jobs dropped 6% in this period but public sector jobs grew 8%. Of course the problem, as Centre for Cities predicted, was that this would leave us vulnerable to public sector cuts. Which of course it did.|
|Since around 2004 gross value-added—a measure of output—has lagged||There's a chart accompanying this point that rightly has our GVA well below London and also below the national average. In 1997 we averaged £200 GVA per head higher than the UK average. By 2009 we're £900 less. However, Greater Manchester was £2,700 less than the UK average in 2009.|
|Some 22% of Birmingham’s population is under the age of 15, which puts the city on a par with Vietnam.||Strange to add in the Vietnam reference there but yes, like them, we haz lots of young people. 37.7% are under 25. Bradford actually claims to be the youngest city in the UK, also having 22% of its population under 15 years of age.|
|Only 25% of the working-age population have degree-level qualifications, in contrast to the 38% who do in Manchester.||The 2010 data for '16 - 59/64 yr olds' says yes, Mancs are better qualified than us. 25.7% for Birmingham. 33.5% for Manchester (LEA areas). When you just look at data for those economically active then the gap is starker: 32% of Brummies with degrees, 43.9% of Mancs. You could spin the data to reduce the gap by comparing Greater Manchester to Birmingham & Solihull (34.6% the former, 33% the latter).|
|Unlike London and Manchester, the city has been slow to organise its transport investment on a city-region level.||Public transport in Birmingham is run by private companies but strategy comes from a public body called Centro which is an Integrated Transport Authority. Manchester used to have a similar set up until April 2011 when it was re-organsed along the lines of Transport for London giving it much more control than we have in the West Midlands. Centro seems keen to have the same set up.|
|As a result, it can be quicker to get to London than around Birmingham’s suburbs||Quickest journey time to London from Birmingham is on the 07:30 from New st. which takes 72 minutes. Mapumental tells me that there is no Birmingham suburb that, on average, is not reachable in that time during the rush hour by public transport.|
|Thanks primarily to the city’s conservative Pakistani population, just 49% of women have jobs, against 65% nationally||In 2009 the City estimated there were 49,600 Pakistani women. Of those 28,200 were of working age (for context, there were 209,700 white British women of working age). Birmingham does have the largest Pakistani population of any local authority (based on 2001 census figures). I could only find 2001 census figures for this (the 2011 census has only had small drip feeds of data come out so far) which are part of a useful, detailed 2003 report into Birmingham's Labour market. This tells us:|
- 61% of working age women in Birmingham were employed in contrast to the English average of 70.6%
- 54% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women look after their home or family. The figure is 52% for other ethnic groups and 15% for white British women.
- 13.3% of Pakistani women were in full or part-time employment. Only Bangladeshi's had a lower figure.
- However, 19% of Pakistani women were economically active in 'other' ways (not defined in census). This is far higher than the average figure (6.5%).
|Many British people now seem to think that Manchester is Britain’s second-biggest city||Most often quoted for this is the 2007 survey by the BBC (100 people asked). 48% of respondents said Manchester, 40% said Birmingham.|
|The city has repeatedly failed to win competitions to become a “capital of culture”||Yes, twice. Once for 2008 European Capital of Culture where it got to the final six, losing to Liverpool and then for 2013 UK Capital of Culture which was won by Derry.|