Local elections 2022: how many candidates by party, youngest and oldest, gender split and most common names

More than 21,000 candidates from across the UK will run for council or devolved government office at the May local elections

<p>Elections are being held in local authorities across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and some parts of England</p>

Elections are being held in local authorities across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and some parts of England

This May voters across the country will take to the polls to have their say on how their local council or government is run.

Using data sourced from Democracy Club, NationalWorld has crunched the numbers to give you some unusual insights into the next election.

From the octogenarians and knights standing for election to the names you’ll most likely find on the ballot paper, we reveal everything you need to know about the 2022 local election candidates.

Where are elections taking place?

This May more than 21,000 potential politicians will run for council or devolved government office, Democracy Club data shows.

According to the Electoral Office, 164 local authorities in England are having elections in May as well as all local authorities in Wales (22) and Scotland (32). In Northern Ireland voters will elect representatives to the Assembly, the devolved parliament.


The gender divide

Gender data is only available for 26% of (5,569) candidates but of those it is clear men still dominate the ballot paper.

Almost two-thirds (63.4%) of candidates are male with 3,532 standing for election, while 2,027 (36.4%) females are standing. This election will also see nine non-binary or “gender non-conforming” candidates standing, representing 0.2% of candidates. One candidate indicated their pronouns are “she/they”.


Most common names

Given the gender divide it will come as no surprise that the top 10 most common candidate names are all male.

David comes out on top with over 500 vying for an election win. John comes in at a close second with 492 candidates and then Paul with 342.

Female candidate names rank much lower down the list with top name Sarah accounting for 125, followed by Susan with 92 and Helen with 87.


Doctors, knights and reverends

While there is no information on the candidates’ usual occupations, the data does reveal that a number of doctors, knights, and military personnel are all throwing their hats into the ring.

The data shows 95 doctors, two professors, two reverends and one lieutenant commander are in the running.

There are also many British medal holders including four knights, two Commanders of the British Empire (CBE), 11 Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and 15 Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Oldest and youngest candidates

While candidates have to be aged 18 or over to stand there is no age cap for more senior would-be politicians.

DemocracyClub only holds year of birth data for 5% of the candidates standing in the elections.

This shows there are at least 16 candidates born before the end of World War II in 1945, making them around 77 or older, with Mrs Mary Clark being the oldest. The 85-year-old Independent candidate, who was born in 1937,  is standing for New Malden Village in Kingston upon Thames.

There are also at least 11 teenagers standing for election with the youngest being 18-year-old Conservative and Unionist Party representative, Owen Scott Rutherford, who is standing for a seat at Little London and Woodhouse in Leeds.

Despite the teenage interest local politics still appears to be attracting more middle aged people – the average age of candidates is 48, while the most common age is 41.

The proportion of candidates whose year of birth is known varies by region, from 3% in Wales to 37% in Northern Ireland, which could affect the national average if younger or older candidates are more common in the latter.


The political landscape

Labour is fielding the greatest number of candidates with almost 5,400 candidates standing (almost 600 of them under Labour and Cooperative Party)

The Conservative and Unionist Party are fielding more than 5,300,while the Liberal Democrats have more than 3,600 candidates.

But smaller, less familiar parties will also be featuring on the ballot paper this May.

One of those, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which has famously stood against the likes of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, will be fielding 10 candidates.