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Gypsy and Irish Traveller Report 2016

The Census included ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ as a specific ethnic group for the first time in 2011. In North Yorkshire 588 people were identified in this ethnic group by the 2011 Census, with the largest numbers in the districts of Selby (158 people), Hambleton (132 people) and Harrogate (107 people) and with smaller communities across the other districts of the county.

Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) count of Gypsy and Traveller caravans have shown an increase in caravan numbers in North Yorkshire from around 230 at the time of the Census in 2011 to around 290 in January 2016.

Those identified as being among the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group in the 2011 Census tend to be younger than the overall population of the county. While the Census found that the 0-15 age group represented around 17% of the overall population of North Yorkshire this age group represented almost 32% of the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group. The population profile for those aged 16-64 years was similar in both the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group and the overall population, at around 62%. However the 65+ age group represented just 6% of the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group (around 35 individuals) in comparison to almost 21% of the overall population of the county.

Big Issue

Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group reported poorer general health than the overall population of North Yorkshire. This was the case nationally. Around 5% of the overall population of the county reported ‘bad/very bad’ health but among the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group the figure was around 12%. Among the whole population around 82% reported ‘good/very good health’ while the figure was only around 74% for those in the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group.

Life expectancy is much shorter among the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group than for other ethnic groups, with higher levels of chronic sickness, disability and poor dental health. The group are also less likely to have registered with a GP.  The travelling lifestyle and societal prejudice are causal factors.  The Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group also has low levels of educational achievement, low levels of economic activity (in particular of females) and there is some evidence of higher levels of domestic abuse than in the general population.

Figures from the 2011 Census also reveal that there is a much higher rate of lone parent families among the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group than in the overall population – around 18% across North Yorkshire compared with around 8% in the whole population of the county. In Selby district more than 1 in 4 Gypsy or Irish Traveller households are lone parent families (26% of households).



Local Authority site provision currently exists in Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale and Selby, with private site provision in Craven and a temporary site annually for Seamer Horse Fair in Scarborough district. There is other private site provision within the County but most of these are not specifically registered as Gypsies, Roma, Travellers and Showpeople (GRTS) sites.

North Yorkshire County Council commission the GaTEWAY (North Yorkshire) service, provided by Horton Housing Support Ltd, which is an accommodation and health promotion related support service for GRTS across North Yorkshire. It provides short-term support, through informal support (drop in sessions), welfare needs assessments and more formalised structured short term support, up to six months, but no longer than 2 years, to help single people, couples, families and older teenagers to maintain their cultural identity and to develop the skills and confidence necessary to allow them to live independently, this may include:
•Remaining in their own caravan on an authorised socially rented (local authority) or privately financed site or unauthorised encampment or development;
•Remaining in bricks and mortar housing or moving into identified accommodation or
•Support to maintain their travelling lifestyle at the roadside.

North Yorkshire County Council is part of the North Yorkshire Gypsy & Traveller Partnership, which includes representatives from all local authorities within North Yorkshire and York and sits within the North Yorkshire Strategic Housing Partnership structure. The partnership works to provide good quality sites for GRTS groups and to improve the poor physical and mental health, lower life expectancy and poorer education outcomes experienced by the GRTS community.

Further Information

For more information on this data contact

Links to related sites: - GaTEWAY (North Yorkshire) - York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Strategic Housing Partnership

Author: Colin Bainbridge

Date Published: 16/03/2016