You didn’t read that headline wrong! Despite the lack of political leadership, the difficulties in the labour market and the constant media negativity, the quality of life is markedly improving in inner-city areas, not least those with a Protestant majority.
A few statistics from the Village and Sandy Row area:
- teenage pregnancy is now barely a quarter of the rate it was just seven years ago, at under 5%;
- number of school leavers with five good GCSE grades has nearly doubled in that same period, to 38.5%;
- the number of burglaries has halved since 2003;
- the number of children achieving Key Stage 2 in mathematics has more than doubled to two-thirds;
- the percentage of working age residents with no qualifications fell from more than half in 2001 to under a third in 2013.
This is credit to community workers, teachers, outreach organisations and most of all to the people themselves.
Of course, there are many areas to work on. But the constant hail of negativity in reporting about these areas is utterly at odds with the reality in many of these areas, and with the vast array of positive trends ongoing in them.