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England and Wales



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About this dataset

This dataset provides Census 2021 estimates that classify usual residents aged 16 years and over in England and Wales by economic activity status, by provision of unpaid care, and by general health. The estimates are as at Census Day, 21 March 2021.

Protecting personal data

Sometimes we need to make changes to data if it is possible to identify individuals. This is known as statistical disclosure control. In Census 2021, we:

  • Swapped records (targeted record swapping), for example, if a household was likely to be identified in datasets because it has unusual characteristics, we swapped the record with a similar one from a nearby small area. Very unusual households could be swapped with one in a nearby local authority.
  • Added small changes to some counts (cell key perturbation), for example, we might change a count of four to a three or a five. This might make small differences between tables depending on how the data are broken down when we applied perturbation.

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About the variables

Economic activity status (13 categories)

Description: People aged 16 years and over are economically active if, between 15 March and 21 March 2021, they were: * in employment (an employee or self-employed) * unemployed, but looking for work and could start within two weeks * unemployed, but waiting to start a job that had been offered and accepted

It is a measure of whether or not a person was an active participant in the labour market during this period. Economically inactive are those aged 16 years and over who did not have a job between 15 March to 21 March 2021 and had not looked for work between 22 February to 21 March 2021 or could not start work within two weeks.

The census definition differs from International Labour Organization definition used on the Labour Force Survey, so estimates are not directly comparable.

This classification splits out full-time students from those who are not full-time students when they are employed or unemployed. It is recommended to sum these together to look at all of those in employment or unemployed, or to use the four category labour market classification, if you want to look at all those with a particular labour market status.

Quality information: As Census 2021 was during a unique period of rapid change, take care when using Labour Market data for planning purposes.

Comparability with 2011: Broadly comparable. We changed some of the wording on the Census 2021 questionnaire and removed some of the options that people could choose from.


General health (3 categories)

Description: A person's assessment of the general state of their health from very good to very bad. This assessment is not based on a person's health over any specified period of time.

Comparability with 2011: Highly comparable


Provision of unpaid care (5 categories)

Description: An unpaid carer may look after, give help or support to anyone who has long-term physical or mental ill-health conditions, illness or problems related to old age.
This does not include any activities as part of paid employment. This help can be within or outside of the carer's household.

Comparability with 2011: Broadly comparable. If you use this variable to compare with the same one used in the 2011 Census, you can combine the categories "less than 9 hours" with "10 to 19 hours" and "20 to 34 hours" with "35 to 49 hours".

The combination of the categories "less than 9 hours" and "10 to 19 hours" means that this does not exactly match the Census 2011 variable which had a "1 to 19 hours" category. It can still be used when comparing with data from the 2011 Census although there is a difference of one hour of care.


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