Skip to content

2011 Census Analysis - Distance Travelled to Work This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 26 March 2014 Download PDF

Key Points

Each of the 26.5 million people aged 16 to 74 in work and resident1 in England and Wales in 2011 were allocated to one of the following categories in the census:

  1. Working at home (10.4%).

  2. Undertaking a regular commute to a fixed onshore location in the UK (81.2%).

  3. ‘Other’ - people working outside the UK, working on an offshore installation or working with no fixed place of work (8.4%).

The ‘other’ category is predominantly made up of those working with no fixed place of work. This may include workers in the construction industry, agency workers and people working from home some (but not most) of the time.

Average commuting distances:

  • The average distance2 commuted to work in England and Wales increased from 13.4 km in 2001 to 15.0 km in 2011. This is estimated using only workers making a regular commute3 between their enumeration address and their workplace address.

  • On average workers resident in the East of England (17 km) had the longest commutes while working residents in London had the shortest commutes (11 km).

  • In both 2001 and 2011, males commuted further than females. In 2001, 39% of males and 25% of females commuted more than 10 km. By 2011, the rates of commuting such distances had increased to 42% for males and 30% for females.

  • With the exception of those living in London, workers in managerial and professional occupations (groups 1 to 34, 5, 6) were more likely to commute 20 km or more. The difference with other occupation groups was not so noticeable for London residents, where skilled trade workers were most likely to commute 20 km or more.

  • Full-time workers commuted longer distances in 2011 than their part-time counterparts. While 55% of part-time workers commuted less than 5 km, 38% of full-time workers did the same.

Commuting patterns in England and Wales:

  • Between 2001 and 2011, there was a growth7 in the numbers of regular commuters (1.2 million) but also in the number of home workers (0.6 million), and those in the ‘other’ category (1.1 million).

  • The share of workers in the ‘other’ category increased from 4.7% in 2001 to 8.4% in 2011 while the share of home workers increased from 9.2% to 10%. The share of workers undertaking a regular commute fell from 86% to 81%.

The increase in the ‘other’ category:

  • The number of people in the ‘other’ distance category – people working outside the UK, working on an offshore installation or working with no fixed place of work – doubled from 1.1 million in 2001 to 2.2 million in 2011. This category accounted for 8.4% of all workers in 2011, up from 4.7% in 2001.

  • The growth in commuting in this category can largely be attributed to an increase in workers with no fixed place of work.

  • Males (12%) were more likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category than females (4.2%) in 2011. Male and female workers of all ages were more likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011 compared with 2001.

  • Workers in the ‘other’ distance category were focused on a number of industries and occupations and included over 36% of construction workers and 26% of those involved in Skilled Trade Occupations.

  • Having had the highest rate of workers in the ‘other’ distance category in 2001 (5.6%), the rate in London increased to 11% in 2011. The second highest rate in 2011 was the South East at 9.0%.

  • Part-time8 workers were more likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category than full-time workers for both males (15% for part-time compared with 12% for full-time) and females (5.6% for part-time compared with 3.1% for full-time).

Home workers have already been discussed in the previously released method of travel to work article. This report therefore focuses on examining the large rise between 2001 and 2011 in those in the ‘other’ category together with examining changes in distance travelled to work amongst the majority of workers who undertook a regular commute to a fixed onshore UK location.

Notes:

  1. All location figures in this report are based on where the workers are enumerated and not where they work.

  2. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.

  3. Where commuting distances have been analysed, only workers with a commuting distance have been considered. That is, home workers and workers in the ‘other’ category are excluded from the calculation.

  4. Occupation group 1: Managers, Directors and Senior Officials.

  5. Occupation group 2: Professional Occupations.

  6. Occupation group 3: Associate Professional and Technical Occupations.

  7. This is based on the 2011 figure for workers in the ‘other’ distance category being an estimate for those aged 16 to 74 from the published figure which is for workers aged 16 and over.

  8. Full-time = more than 30 hours per week, part-time = 30 hours or less per week.

Foreword

The England and Wales census asked the same question in 2011 as was asked in 2001 (See Census Comparability Report for further details). People in work were asked ‘How do you usually travel to work? Tick the box for the longest part, by distance, of your usual journey to work’. Due to definitional differences, and because the census questionnaire is self-completed by the population of England and Wales, the census estimates of people travelling to work may differ from other sources.

In all cases, figures given for the 2011 Census use the 2001 methodology for calculating home workers as used in CT0015EW. That is, people who recorded their place of work as working mainly at or from home were considered to have their mode of travel to work as working mainly at or from home. This means the statistics for distance travelled to work in 2011 are broadly comparable with the data from 2001.

Where multivariate data has been analysed (e.g. method of travel to work by age by sex), the data for the 2001 Census is workers aged 16 to 74. The data for the 2011 Census, however, is for workers aged 16 and over. Due to statistical disclosure control, ONS is unable to publish multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly and the City of London. Multivariate data for the Isles of Scilly has been combined with Cornwall while data for the City of London has been combined with Westminster.

All data discussed in this report concerns the resident working population. That is, where a figure is given for a local authority or region, it refers to the workers that are resident in that particular area.

How many people commute to work?

In 2011, 26.5 million people aged 16 to 74 were in work and resident in England and Wales. This was up 12% on the corresponding figure of 23.6 million people in 2001.

Home workers

Around 2.7 million people worked from home in 2011, an increase of 25% on the 2001 figure of 2.2 million. Home workers made up 10% of workers in 2011, up from 9.2% in 2001 (Figure 1). For more information on home working in the 2011 Census, please refer to the report on method of travel to work.

Regular commuters

A regular commuter is a worker for whom a distance travelled to work value had been calculated. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode and excludes people who work mainly at or from home, offshore workers, workers working outside the UK and workers with no fixed place of work.

The number of people making a regular commute in the UK increased from 20.3 million in 2001 to 21.5 million in 2011, a rise of 5.8%. There was a decrease, however, in the proportion of workers making a regular commute from 86% in 2001 to 81% in 2011.

‘Other’ category

The ‘other’ category includes people commuting to locations outside the UK, people working on offshore installations, and workers with no fixed place of work. The number of workers in this category doubled from 1.1 million in 2001 to 2.2 million in 2011. This category accounted for 8.4% of all workers in 2011, up from 4.7% in 2001.

Of these workers, 91% had no fixed place of work in 20011, while this figure increased to 95% in 20112. Given these percentages, the growth in commuting in this category can largely be attributed to an increase in workers with no fixed place of work.

There may be a number of reasons for the growth in the ‘other’ distance category. It could be that, proportionally, the number of jobs that require travel to multiple locations has increased. It may also be the case that more people are employed by agencies and are required to commute to various locations.

Although the 2001 and 2011 questionnaires asked respondents to provide details for their ‘main job’, it may be that making that distinction has become difficult for some workers with more than one job. As such, the growth in the ‘other’ distance category may indicate a decline in the proportion of workers with more than one job who are able to clearly define their main job.

Finally, it may be due to people who have a regular commute most days of the week but who work from home for one or two days a week. Workers with such working patterns may have been inclined to identify as having no fixed place of work.

Figure 1: Commuting patterns of workers

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 1: Commuting patterns of workers

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.

Download chart

Notes for How many people commute to work?

  1. This is an estimate based on comparing figures for the workday population in UV37 with the figures for the enumeration population in UV39. See Appendix A for a detailed breakdown of the data.
  2. This is an estimate based on comparing figures for the workday population in WD1117EW with the figures from the enumeration population in DC1117EW. See Appendix A for a detailed breakdown of the data.

Who has no fixed place of work or a workplace outside the UK?

This section describes the characteristics of people in the ‘other’ distance category. Of these workers, 91% had no fixed place of work in 20011, while this figure increased to 95% in 20112. Given these percentages, the characteristics largely reflect people with no fixed place of work. Reasons why people would be in this category were given in the preceding section. The 2001 data are for workers aged 16 to 74 and the 2011 data are for workers aged 16 and over.

Age and Sex

In both 2001 and 2011 males were more likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category than females for all age groups (Figure 2). For all age groups, the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category increased between 2001 and 2011, especially among younger workers.

It is likely that males were more likely than females to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category due to males being more likely to be employed in the construction industry (see industry section). In 2011, 13% of males were employed in this industry, compared with 2.0% for females.

The proportion of male workers aged 20 to 24 in the ‘other’ distance category increased from 5.5% in 2001 to 12.3% in 2011. Similarly for females, the rate increased from 1.7% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2011. For females in 2011, workers in this age group were the most likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category. For males, workers aged 40 to 44 were the most likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011 (13%).

Figure 2: Percentage of male and female workers in the ‘other’ distance category to work by age

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 2: Percentage of male and female workers in the ‘other’ distance category to work by age

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. The 2001 figure is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Notes for Who has no fixed place of work or a workplace outside the UK?

  1. This is an estimate based on comparing figures for the workday population in UV37 with the figures for the enumeration population in UV39. See Appendix A for a detailed breakdown of the data.
  2. This is an estimate based on comparing figures for the workday population in WD1117EW with the figures from the enumeration population in DC1117EW. See Appendix A for a detailed breakdown of the data.

Industry, occupation and hours worked

Figure 3 shows the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category across 18 industry groups for 2011 (note: there is no comparable 2001 data available). Unsurprisingly, workers in the construction industry (category ‘F’) were the most likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category (36%). Such jobs are more likely to have no fixed location given the nature of the work.

At 21%, workers in the mining and quarrying industry were the next most likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category. This will include those working offshore in the oil industry. Category ‘N’ includes workers in the cleaning, gardening and security industries and 17% of such workers were classified in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011.

Workers in the financial and insurance industry group were least likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011 (3.2%).

Figure 3: Percentage of workers commuting ‘other’ distances by industry

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 3: Percentage of workers commuting ‘other’ distances by industry

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. A: Agriculture; Forestry; Fishing
  3. B: Mining & Quarrying
  4. C: Manufacturing
  5. D: Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply
  6. E: Water Supply; Sewerage; Waste Management and Remediation activities
  7. F: Construction
  8. G: Wholesale and Retail trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
  9. H: Transportation and Storage
  10. I: Accommodation and Food Service Activities
  11. J: Information and Communication
  12. K: Financial and Insurance Activities
  13. L: Real Estate Activities
  14. M: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities
  15. N: Administrative and Support Service Activities
  16. O: Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security
  17. P: Education
  18. Q: Human Health and Social Work Activities
  19. RSTU: R: Arts, entertainment and recreation, S: Other service activities. T: Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods - and services - producing activities of households for own use, U: Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
  20. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  21. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Occupation

A similar pattern can be seen for occupation (Figure 4). For all occupation groups, males were more likely than females to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011. At 28%, males in skilled trades were the most likely to be in the 'other' distance category in 2011. The same was true for females; however, only 8.4% of those employed in skilled trades were classified in the ‘other’ distance category.

At 14% and 12% respectively, males in the process, plant and machine operatives and the elementary occupations categories were also quite likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category. These occupations include transport drivers and some trades related workers so it is not surprising to see quite high proportions of such workers in the ‘other’ distance category.

Workers in the ‘administrative and secretarial occupations’ category were the least likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category (3.3% for males and 1.3% for females).

Figure 4: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category by occupation

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 4: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category by occupation

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. OCC 1: Managers, Directors and Senior Officials
  3. OCC 2: Professional Occupations
  4. OCC 3: Associate Professional and Technical Occupations
  5. OCC 4: Administrative and Secretarial Occupations
  6. OCC 5: Skilled Trades Occupations
  7. OCC 6: Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations
  8. OCC 7: Sales and Customer Service Occupations
  9. OCC 8: Process, Plant and Machine Operatives
  10. OCC 9: Elementary Occupations
  11. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Hours worked

For both males and females in 2011, part-time workers were more likely to be classified in the ‘other’ distance category (Table 1). For males the proportion of part-time workers in the ‘other’ distance category was 15%, while for full-time workers the rate was 12%. Among females, 5.6% of part-time workers were classified in the ‘other’ distance category, while the rate for full-time workers was 3.1%.

For each of the nine English regions and Wales, the part-time rate was higher than the full-time rate for both males and females. The difference was smallest for males in the North East (12.8% for part-time workers compared with 10.9% for full-time workers). The largest difference was for females in London where the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category for part-time workers (10.2%) was more than twice the rate for full-time workers (4.7%).

Table 1: Percentage of male and female workers in the ‘other’ distance category by hours worked per week

English regions and Wales, 2011

English region/Wales Males Females
Full-Time2 Part-Time3 Full-Time2 Part-Time3
North East 10.9 12.8 2.3 3.9
North West 10.3 13.7 2.5 4.6
Yorkshire and The Humber 10.3 13.2 2.5 4.4
East Midlands 10.2 13.0 2.6 4.7
West Midlands 10.4 14.1 2.6 4.7
East of England 12.7 15.6 2.9 5.4
London 13.3 19.6 4.7 10.2
South East 12.6 15.5 3.1 5.8
South West 12.3 14.1 3.0 5.2
Wales 11.2 13.6 2.6 4.8
   
England and Wales 11.6 15.1 3.1 5.6

Table notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. Full-time = more than 30 hours per week.
  3. Part-time = 30 hours or less per week.
  4. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  5. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

Location

Between 2001 and 2011, the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category increased in each of the nine English regions and Wales (Figure 5). Workers resident in London experienced the largest percentage point increase over the period, rising from 5.6% in 2001 to 11% in 2011. At 8.9%, the South East had the second highest rate in 2011, while the North East had the lowest proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category at 7.3%.

Figure 5: Percentage of workers commuting ‘other’ distances

English Regions and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 5: Percentage of workers commuting ‘other’ distances

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Map 1 shows the percentage of working residents in the ‘other’ distance category for 346 local authorities1 in England and Wales. Local authorities near or on the coast tend to have a higher percentage of workers in this category. This may reflect the fact that this category includes jobs that are located offshore.

Nevertheless, this category largely consists of workers with no fixed place of work. Proportions of workers in the ‘other’ distance category were generally higher in southern areas of England and Wales, especially in London. The local authorities with the highest percentage of residents with no fixed workplace or working abroad in 2011 were Newham (16.4%), Waltham Forest (15.4%) and Brent (14.7%), all of which are in London.

Map 1: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category

England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Map 1: Percentage of workers in the ‘other’ distance category, England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Download map

  • PNG
    (45.8 Kb)

Each of the 346 local authorities in England and Wales experienced an increase in the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category. However, there have been some changes in terms of the local authorities with the highest proportions of workers in the ‘other’ distance category.

Table 2 lists the 10 local authorities with the highest proportions of workers in the ‘other’ distance category in 2001. Maldon in Essex had the highest rate at 7.5%. Seven of these local authorities have coastlines, while the southern most tip of West Devon borders the Estuary of the River Tamar. This is likely to indicate an above average number of offshore jobs in these areas. In Broxbourne in Hertfordshire and Epping Forest in Essex, London taxi drivers living in these areas may explain the high proportions of workers in the ‘other’ distance category.

Table 2: Local authorities with the highest proportions of workers commuting ‘other’ distances to work in 2001

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 b 2011 Percentage Point Change
Maldon 7.5 10.7 3.2
Rother 7.4 11.4 4.0
South Hams 7.3 10.3 3.1
Wealden 7.2 10.9 3.8
Broxbourne 7.1 11.7 4.6
Castle Point 7.1 11.5 4.5
Epping Forest 6.9 11.1 4.2
Hastings 6.9 10.7 3.8
West Devon 6.9 9.6 2.7
West Somerset 6.8 9.2 2.4

Table notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

Moving forward 10 years, Table 3 shows the top 10 local authorities as of 2011. Broxbourne and Castle Point are the only two local authorities from outside London, while Castle Point is the only area to have a coastline. The increase in the number of London local authorities is indicative of a growing influence of the ‘no fixed place of work’ component of the ‘other’ distance category.

Increases in the proportion of resident workers employed in the construction industry were seen between 2001 and 2011 in the boroughs of Newham (3.0%), Waltham Forest (3.5%), Brent (2.7%), Haringey (2.7%) and Ealing (3.3%). This may partly explain the growth in the ‘other’ distance category in these areas. This may also indicate an increase in workers working from home some of the time, while it may also suggest an increase in the proportion of workers with more than one job or an increase in the proportion of workers undertaking agency work.

Table 3: Local authorities with the highest proportions of workers commuting ‘other’ distances to work in 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 b 2011 Percentage Point Change
Newham 5.3 16.3 11.1
Waltham Forest 5.9 15.3 9.4
Brent 6.4 14.6 8.2
Barking and Dagenham 6.6 13.8 7.3
Haringey 5.8 13.5 7.6
Ealing 5.0 12.6 7.6
Barnet 5.6 11.9 6.3
Greenwich 6.2 11.8 5.5
Broxbourne 7.1 11.7 4.6
Castle Point 7.1 11.5 4.5

Table notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

The 10 local authorities with the lowest proportions of workers in the ‘other’ distance category in 2011 are listed in Table 4. At 5.4%, the lowest rate was in Copeland. Given that the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Copeland, Cumbria employs over 10,000 people2, it is unsurprising that a relatively low proportion of workers were in the ‘other’ distance category. Similarly, the large industries that remain in Barrow-in-Furness would go some way to explaining why the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category was quite low in this area.

All of the 346 local authorities experienced an increase in the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category. Cambridge was the local authority with the smallest increase in the proportion of resident workers classified in the ‘other’ distance category (1.9 percentage points). It is likely that jobs in the university and science park are more likely to require a conventional commute. Furthermore, such workers may be less likely to have a second job.

Table 4: Local authorities with the lowest proportions of workers commuting ‘other’ distances to work in 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 b 2011 Percentage Point Change
Copeland 3.0 5.4 2.4
Cambridge 4.0 5.8 1.9
Carlisle 3.5 6.0 2.6
Corby 2.7 6.0 3.3
Gateshead 3.0 6.1 3.1
Barrow-in-Furness 3.5 6.2 2.6
Allerdale 3.8 6.3 2.4
Preston 3.2 6.3 3.1
Stafford 3.6 6.3 2.7
Telford and Wrekin 3.2 6.4 3.1

Table notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

Notes for Location

  1. Due to statistical disclosure control, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were combined as were Westminster and the City of London.
  2. See www.sellafieldsites.com/press-office/facts for details.

Method of travel to work

Figure 6 shows a breakdown of how workers in the ‘other’ distance category in 2001 and 2011 commuted to work. At 71% in 2001 and 66% in 2011, driving to work was the most common method of travel to work among such workers. These proportions are higher than the share of driving to work among workers who made a regular commute (60% in both 2001 and 2011).

The proportion of these workers commuting by ‘other’ means decreased from 6.4% in 2001 to 5.4% in 2011. This may reflect the fact offshore workers made up a lower proportion of the ‘other’ distance category in 2011 compared with 2001.

Figure 6: Method of travel to work of workers commuting ‘other’ distances

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 6: Method of travel to work of workers commuting ‘other’ distances

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. 'Rail' includes light rail networks such as the London Underground.
  3. ‘Other’ methods include motorcycles, taxis and other forms of transport.
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  6. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

London experienced the largest percentage point increase in the proportion of workers in the ‘other’ distance category, rising from 5.6% in 2001 to 11% in 2011. Figure 7 shows how these workers commuted to work in these years. The proportion of workers that drove to work decreased from 47% in 2001 to 35% in 2011.

The decrease in the proportion of workers driving to work was offset by increases in the proportion of these workers commuting by rail (including the Croydon Tramlink, the Docklands Light Railway and the London Underground) and by bus. Commuting by rail increased from 28% in 2001 to 37% in 2011, while commuting by bus increased from 6.0% in 2001 to 12% in 2011.

This pattern is similar to that seen for those making regular commutes; however, the changes are of a greater magnitude; for example, driving to work for those making a regular commute decreased from 36% in 2011 to 28% in 2001.

It may be that those commuting by rail and bus are working from home for, perhaps, one or two days a week and as such selected the ‘no fixed place of work’ option in the workplace address question. Alternatively, this may indicate a greater proportion of workers who are unable to identify a main job where they have more than one location due to undertaking agency work or being employed in occupations requiring journeys to multiple locations.

Figure 7: Method of travel to work of workers resident in London commuting ‘other’ distances

London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 7: Method of travel to work of workers resident in London commuting ‘other’ distances

Notes:

  1. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  2. 'Rail' includes light rail networks such as the London Underground.
  3. ‘Other’ methods include motorcycles, taxis and other forms of transport.
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.

Download chart

How far do people commute to work?

The following sections consider only workers making a regular commute between their enumeration address and their workplace address. The data presented in this section do not include people working from home, people with no fixed place of work, or people working outside the UK. All distances are given in kilometres.

Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode. This distance is likely to underestimate the true commuting distances of workers. It is likely that the commuting distances are more accurate for those walking or cycling to work, compared with those driving a car for example.

Furthermore, this measurement does not make allowances for people commuting from a second address. Where a worker has a second address for work purposes, the distance of their commute may appear unrealistically long. Such commutes can exaggerate the average commuting distance for a given area and can inflate the number of workers commuting 60 km or more.

For workers in England and Wales the average distance commuted to work increased from 13.4 km in 2001 to 15.0 km in 2011. This, together with an increase of 1.2m in the number of people with a regular commutes, means that total distance of daily commutes by regular commuters in England and Wales increased from 270 million km in 2001 to 320 million km in 2011.

Table 5 shows the average distance commuted by workers resident in the nine English regions and Wales in 2001 and 2011. In both years, workers resident in the East of England had the longest average commuting distance (16 km in 2001 and 17 km in 2011). With the exception of workers resident in the North East and London, elsewhere the average distance commuted to work increased by at least 1 km.

At 11 km, London residents had the lowest average commuting distance in 2011. This was up 0.9 km on the 2001 figure. Given that a large proportion of workers living in London also work in London it is unsurprising that commuting distances are shortest in this region. The figure for London is also likely to be less distorted by the affect of workers commuting from a second residence.

Table 5: Average distance (km) travelled to work

English regions and Wales, 2001 and 2011

English regions/Wales a 2001 a 2011 Change
North East 15.7 16.5 0.7
North West 12.5 14.0 1.5
Yorkshire and The Humber 12.9 14.6 1.7
East Midlands 13.2 15.4 2.2
West Midlands 11.9 14.1 2.2
East of England 15.9 17.3 1.5
London 10.4 11.2 0.9
South East 14.9 16.6 1.7
South West 14.0 16.3 2.2
Wales 14.8 16.7 1.9
England and Wales 13.4 15.0 1.6

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

Average distance travelled to work by local authority

Map 2 shows the average distance travelled to work by working residents in each of the 348 local authorities of England and Wales in 2011. As would be expected, the distances were longest among residents of the most rural areas.

Map 2: Average distance travelled to work

England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Map 2: Average distance travelled to work, England and Wales, local authorities, 2011

Download map

  • PNG
    (48.2 Kb)

Changes to the average distance commuted to work for resident workers are shown in Map 3 for the period 2001 to 2011. The vast majority of areas experienced an increase in the average distance commuted to work over the period. However, there were 10 local authorities where the average distance travelled to work by resident workers decreased between 2001 and 2011.

Map 3: Change in average distance travelled to work

England and Wales, local authorities, 2001 to 2011

Map 3: Change in average distance travelled to work, England and Wales, local authorities, 2001 to 2011

Download map

For resident workers the 10 local authorities with the longest average distance travelled to work in 2011 are listed in Table 6. Working residents of the Isles of Scilly had the longest average commute in 2011 at 30 km. This was more than double the figure of 12 km for 2001. This suggests that a larger proportion of the resident workforce on the islands work gave a workplace address that is on the mainland. This is something it will be possible to confirm later this year when census flow data is published.

At 23 km, the working residents of West Devon had the second longest average commute, while four of the local authorities are in Wales. At 47%, less than half of the resident population of Monmouthshire lived in rural areas in 2011. For the other nine areas on the list, however, the proportion of residents living in rural areas exceeded 65%.

For Uttlesford and Maldon the relatively long commuting distances for working residents may in part be due to workers commuting to London on a daily basis. The average distance commuted by workers in the other areas may also be skewed by people working in other areas including London. In these cases, however, they are likely to have a second address for work purposes.

Table 6: Local authorities with the longest average distance1 travelled to work for resident workers in 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority Rural (2011)2 a 2001 a 2011 Percentage Point Change
Isles of Scilly 100.0 12.0 30.3 18.4
West Devon 77.1 20.4 23.3 2.9
Anglesey 83.6 19.6 22.5 2.9
Powys 86.5 17.9 22.2 4.3
South Hams 78.9 18.9 22.1 3.2
Uttlesford 80.9 20.6 22.1 1.5
Monmouthshire 47.1 17.9 21.9 4.0
Ryedale 76.9 17.2 21.7 4.5
Maldon 65.2 21.2 21.7 0.5
Gwynedd 85.2 19.0 21.6 2.7

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. Percentage of the usual resident population living in an output area classified as rural in 2011.
  3. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

For resident workers the local authorities with the shortest average commuting distances in 2011 are shown in Table 7. All 10 are Inner London boroughs, with residents of the City of London having the shortest average commute at 7.0 km.

Table 7: Local authorities with the shortest average distance (km) travelled to work for resident workers in 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Change
City of London 6.4 7.0 0.5
Islington 7.5 8.1 0.6
Westminster 7.4 8.2 0.7
Camden 8.1 8.5 0.4
Hackney 8.3 8.5 0.2
Kensington and Chelsea 8.4 8.7 0.2
Tower Hamlets 8.2 8.9 0.7
Hammersmith and Fulham 8.6 9.1 0.5
Southwark 8.1 9.2 1.1
Lambeth 8.9 9.7 0.8

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

For resident workers the 10 local authorities with the largest increase in the average commuting distance between 2001 and 2011 are listed in Table 8. Workers resident in the Isles of Scilly had the largest increase with the average commuting distance increasing from 12 km in 2001 to 30 km in 2011. It is likely that this reflects a growth in the proportion of workers on the islands whose place of employment is on the mainland.

The increases in the other areas could reflect a decrease in the proportion of working residents who work in the local area. To some extent this may indicate an increase in regular commuters travelling further for work. Alternatively, it may be that there has been an increase in the number of workers who were enumerated in the area but have a second address for work purposes in a far away location such as London.

Table 8: Local authorities with the largest increase in average distance (km) travelled to work for resident workers between 2001 and 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Change
Isles of Scilly 12.0 30.3 18.4
Corby 9.4 15.4 6.0
Swindon 10.5 15.8 5.3
Ryedale 17.2 21.7 4.5
Blaenau Gwent 10.9 15.3 4.4
Powys 17.9 22.2 4.3
Monmouthshire 17.9 21.9 4.0
Dover 15.1 18.8 3.7
Forest Heath 13.1 16.8 3.7
Wolverhampton 9.6 13.2 3.6

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

For resident workers Table 9 lists those local authorities with the largest decreases in commuting distances between 2001 and 2011. Four of these local authorities are in the North East, while most of them have a coastline. This may indicate that a greater proportion of resident workers work locally.

Table 9: Local authorities with the largest decrease in average distance (km) travelled to work between 2001 and 2011

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority a 2001 a 2011 Change
Barrow-in-Furness 12.6 11.1 -1.5
South Tyneside 17.3 16.1 -1.2
Middlesbrough 14.9 14.0 -0.9
Great Yarmouth 17.6 16.8 -0.8
Redcar and Cleveland 17.9 17.2 -0.7
Exeter 11.9 11.3 -0.6
Ceredigion 21.8 21.3 -0.5
Castle Point 19.2 18.9 -0.3
Stockton-on-Tees 16.1 15.9 -0.2
Rochford 20.3 20.1 -0.2

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

Download table

Distance travelled to work by age and sex

The distances travelled to work for workers aged 16 to 29 years old and workers aged 30 and over are shown in Figure 8. In 2011, workers aged 16 to 29 were more likely than workers aged 30 to commute less than 10 km.

Figure 8: Distance travelled to work by age

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 8: Distance travelled to work by age

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The 2001 figure is for workers aged 30 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 30 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

The following analyses assess the rate of commuting less than 10 km, the rate of commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km and the rate of commuting 60 km or more by age and sex.

The proportion of workers commuting less than 10 km to work varies noticeably by age and sex (Figure 9). For all age groups, females were more likely than males to commute less than 10 km. This was true for both 2001 and 2011.

Figure 9: Percentage of regular commuters commuting less than 10 km by age

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 9: Percentage of regular commuters commuting less than 10 km by age

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The 2001 figure is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Conversely, for all age groups, males were more likely than females to commute between 10 km and less than 60 km (Figure 10). This was also true for both 2001 and 2011. Furthermore, with the exception of males aged 25 to 29, males and females for all age groups were more likely to commute between 10 km and less than 60 km in 2011 than they were in 2001.

In 2001, male and females rates of commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km presented a similar pattern for 16 to 29 year olds. For males, the rate for 30 to 34 year olds (37%) was higher than the rate for 25 to 29 year olds (35%). For females, however, the rate for 30 to 34 year olds (28%) was lower than the rate for 25 to 29 year olds (31%).

In 2011, the age group at which the female rate for commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km peaked increased. For 30 to 34 year olds, the proportion of females commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km was 33%, higher than the rate for 25 to 29 year olds (31%). Nevertheless, the rate for females declined with age in 2011, while for males the rate peaked in the 40 to 44 year old age category (41%).

Figure 10: Percentage of workers commuting 10 km to less than 60 km by age

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 10: Percentage of workers commuting 10 km to less than 60 km by age

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The 2001 figure is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

The proportion of 16 to 19 year olds commuting between and 10 km and less than 60 km increased over the period. For males, the proportion increased from 17% in 2001 to 23% in 2011, while for females the rate increased from 14% in 2001 to 20% in 2011.

For resident workers, Table 10 lists the local authorities with the largest percentage point increase in the proportion of 16 to 19 year olds commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km. The largest increase was in North Dorset where the rate more than doubled from 15% in 2001 to 33% in 2011. These areas are connected by having relatively high proportions of their populations living in rural areas. This would suggest that more workers in this age group in these areas travelled to larger towns and cities in neighbouring local authorities for work in 2011 compared with 2001. It will be possible to confirm this later in the year once census flow data is published.

Table 10: Local authorities with the largest percentage point increases in the proportions of workers aged 16 to 19 commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Local Authority Rural (2011)2 2001 2011 Percentage Point Change
North Dorset 66.5 15.3 32.6 17.3
Wychavon 57.1 18.4 31.9 13.5
Shropshire 57.3 19.4 32.9 13.4
South Holland 64.2 25.1 38.5 13.4
Breckland 57.1 30.5 43.5 13.0
Aylesbury Vale 49.7 20.1 32.4 12.3
Derbyshire Dales 79.0 19.5 30.9 11.4
West Lancashire 38.3 20.4 31.8 11.4
South Northamptonshire 84.4 28.8 39.7 10.9
Mid Suffolk 75.2 31.9 42.6 10.7

Table notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. Percentage of the population living in an output area classified as rural in 2011.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download table

The proportion of workers commuting 60 km or more is skewed by workers commuting from a second address which is much closer to their place of work than their enumeration address.

For both 2001 and 2011, the rate of commuting 60 km or more to work was higher for males than for females (Figure 11). With the exception of males aged 30 to 34, the rate increased for both males and females of all ages. Having peaked at 5.2% for males aged 40 to 44 in 2001, the rate peaked at 6.1% for males aged 45 to 49 in 2011.

For females, the rate in 2011 peaked at 3.1% for workers aged 20 to 24. For both male and female workers aged 16 to 24, the rate of commuting 60 km or more increased between 2001 and 2011. This includes students with jobs that they commuted to from their non term-time address.

Figure 11: Percentage of workers commuting 60 km or more by age

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 11: Percentage of workers commuting 60 km or more by age

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The 2001 figure is for workers aged 65 to 74 and the 2011 figure is for workers aged 65 and over.
  3. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Method of travel to work by distance travelled

The report on method of travel to work identified that between 2001 and 2011 commuting as a passenger in a car or van decreased proportionally in all nine English regions and Wales (Figure 12). Driving to work, however, increased in five of the English regions, while Wales also experienced an increase.

Figure 12: Percentage point change in commuting to work as car drivers and passengers

English regions and Wales, 2001 to 2011

Figure 12: Percentage point change in commuting to work as car drivers and passengers

Notes:

  1. The figures for both 2001 and 2011 are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  2. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Commuting distances have for the most part increased between 2001 and 2011 (Figure 13). Furthermore, in 2011 the rate of driving to work peaked at 74% for people commuting between 20 km and less than 30 km (Figure 14). The increase in the proportion of workers commuting distances with higher rates of driving to work explains to some extent why driving to work increased in parts of England and Wales between 2001 and 2011.

Figure 13: Distance travelled to work for workers making a regular commute

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 13: Distance travelled to work for workers making a regular commute

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Figure 14: Percentage of workers driving to work by distance travelled to work

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

Figure 14: Percentage of workers driving to work by distance travelled to work

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

It also possible, however, to assess the extent to which rates of driving to work have changed by distance commuted. For workers commuting less than 10 km in 2011, the rate of driving to work in England and Wales was 55%, almost the same as in 2001. For those commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km, the rate decreased from 73% in 2011 to 71% in 2001.

Figure 15 shows how these rates changed across the English regions and Wales. London experienced a decline in driving to work for both distance categories. For those commuting less than 10 km, the rate of driving to work in London decreased from 36% in 2001 to 29% in 2011. For those commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km, the rate decreased from 34% in 2001 to 27% in 2011.

The rate of driving to work among workers commuting less than 10 km increased in the other eight English regions and Wales. The smallest increase was in the South East (59.7% in 2011, up from 59.6% in 2001), while the largest increase was in the North East (57% in 2011, up from 53% in 2001).

For those commuting between 10 km and less than 60 km, only those workers resident in the North East and Wales were more likely to drive to work in 2011 than in 2001. The rate of driving increased for workers resident in the North East from 78% in 2001 to 80% in 2011, while the rate increased for workers resident in Wales from 81% to 83%.

Figure 15: Percentage point change in driving to work by distance

English regions and Wales, 2001 to 2011

Figure 15: Percentage point change in driving to work by distance

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  3. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  4. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

In England and Wales, the rate of driving to work among workers commuting 60 km or more decreased from 64% in 2001 to 59% in 2011. The largest decrease was for workers resident in London (40% in 2011, down from 53% in 2001). With the rate for workers resident in Wales staying roughly the same in 2001 as in 2011 (71%), the North East was the only area to experience an increase in driving among resident workers commuting 60 km or more (61.5% in 2011, up from 61.1% in 2001).

So while an increase in commuting distances may have contributed to the increase in the overall rate of driving to work, these figures show driving to work increased by a greater amount among those commuting shorter distances.

Figure 16 shows the method of travel to work in the North East for resident workers commuting less than 10 km. Driving to work increased from 53% in 2001 to 57% in 2011. Conversely, commuting by bus decreased from 15% in 2001 to 13% in 2011, while commuting as a car or van passenger decreased from 11% in 2001 to 8.2% in 2011.

Figure 16: Method of travel to work by workers commuting less than 10 km

North East, 2001 and 2011

Figure 16: Method of travel to work by workers commuting less than 10 km

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. 'Rail' includes light rail networks such as the London Underground.
  3. ‘Other’ methods include motorcycles, taxis and other forms of transport.
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  6. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

For workers resident in London commuting less than 10 km, Figure 17 shows a breakdown for how they travelled to work in 2001 and 2011. Driving to work decreased from 36% in 2001 to 29% in 2011, while commuting as a car or van passenger also decreased.

Commuting by rail increased from 25% in 2001 to 28% in 2011, commuting by bus increased from 17% in 2001 to 20% in 2011 and cycling to work increased from 3.4% in 2001 to 5.8% in 2011. The report on cycling to work provides further analysis on this topic.

Figure 17: Method of travel to work by workers commuting less than 10 km

London, 2001 and 2011

Figure 17: Method of travel to work by workers commuting less than 10 km

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. 'Rail' includes light rail networks such as the London Underground.
  3. ‘Other’ methods include motorcycles, taxis and other forms of transport.
  4. a. The 2001 figures are for workers aged 16 to 74.
  5. b. The 2011 figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  6. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Distance travelled to work by industry, occupation and hours worked

Figure 18 shows the proportion of workers resident in England and Wales commuting less than 10 km by their industry of employment in 2011. At 76%, the highest rate was for workers in accommodation and food services. This was followed by wholesale and retail, education, health, and arts/entertainment/recreation which all had rates of commuting less than 10 km of around 70%.

Workers in the mining and quarrying industry were the least likely to commute less than 10 km to work at 47%, followed by workers in utilities industries and the information and communication sector (both 49%).

Many of the industries with shorter commutes include professions that are quite evenly distributed around the country providing services to local communities. Teachers in the education sector, for example, are likely to be able to live relatively close to their place of work in most parts of the country as are retail workers and health workers. Where jobs are concentrated in specific parts of the country, commuting distances are likely to be longer as it may not be possible or desirable to live close to the place of work.

Figure 18: Percentage of workers commuting less than 10 km by industry

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 18: Percentage of workers commuting less than 10 km by industry

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. A: Agriculture; Forestry; Fishing
  3. B: Mining & Quarrying
  4. C: Manufacturing
  5. D: Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply
  6. E: Water Supply; Sewerage; Waste Management and Remediation activities
  7. F: Construction
  8. G: Wholesale and Retail trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
  9. H: Transportation and Storage
  10. I: Accommodation and Food Service Activities
  11. J: Information and Communication
  12. K: Financial and Insurance Activities
  13. L: Real Estate Activities
  14. M: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities
  15. N: Administrative and Support Service Activities
  16. O: Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security
  17. P: Education
  18. Q: Human Health and Social Work Activities
  19. RSTU: R: Arts, entertainment and recreation, S: Other service activities. T: Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods - and services - producing activities of households for own use, U: Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies
  20. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  21. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Distance travelled to work by occupation

The proportion of workers commuting 20 km or more was lower for workers resident in London compared with workers resident in the rest of England and Wales for all occupations (Figure 19). Outside of the capital, workers in occupation groups 1 to 3 (which include managers, directors and senior offices along with professional, associate professional and technical occupations) were considerably more likely to commute more than 20 km to work than workers with other occupations. Those employed in caring, leisure and other service occupations were least likely to commute such distances (9.5%).

In London, however, the difference between occupation groups was not nearly so large. As with the rest of England and Wales, caring, leisure and other service occupations had the lowest rates of commuting 20 km or more (5.5%). The highest rate, however, was for skilled trade workers at 12%.

Figure 19: Percentage of workers commuting 20 km or more by occupation

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 19: Percentage of workers commuting 20 km or more by occupation

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. OCC 1: Managers, Directors and Senior Officials
  3. OCC 2: Professional Occupations
  4. OCC 3: Associate Professional and Technical Occupations
  5. OCC 4: Administrative and Secretarial Occupations
  6. OCC 5: Skilled Trades Occupations
  7. OCC 6: Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations
  8. OCC 7: Sales and Customer Service Occupations
  9. OCC 8: Process, Plant and Machine Operatives
  10. OCC 9: Elementary Occupations
  11. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  12. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Distance travelled to work by hours worked

For workers resident in England and Wales, full-time workers commuted longer distances in 2011 than their part-time counterparts (Figure 20). While 55% of part-time workers commuted less than 5 km, only 38% of full-time workers did the same.

Figure 20: Distance travelled to work by full-time and part-time workers

England and Wales, 2011

Figure 20: Distance travelled to work by full-time and part-time workers

Notes:

  1. Distance is calculated as the straight line distance between the enumeration postcode and the workplace postcode.
  2. The figures are for workers aged 16 and over.
  3. Full-time = more than 30 hours per week.
  4. Part-time = 30 hours or less per week.
  5. Source: Census 2011, Office for National Statistics.

Download chart

Background notes

  1. This publication follows the 2011 Census Population and Household Estimates for England and Wales. The census provides estimates of the characteristics of all people and households in England and Wales on census night. These are produced for a variety of users including government, local and unitary authorities, business and communities. The census provides population statistics from a national to local level. This report discusses the results for England and Wales.

  2. The 2011 Rural-Urban Classification can be found on the ONS Open Geography Portal and the 2001 Rural-Urban Classification can be found on the ONS website. 2011 Census data are available from the NOMIS website and 2001 Census data are available via the Office for National Statistics website.

  3. Interactive data visualisations developed by ONS are also available to aid interpretation of the results.

  4. ONS has ensured that the data collected meet users' needs via an extensive 2011 Census outputs consultation process in order to ensure that the 2011 Census outputs will be of increased use in the planning of housing, education, health and transport services in future years.

  5. Figures in this publication may not sum due to rounding. 

  6. ONS is responsible for carrying out the census in England and Wales. Simultaneous but separate censuses took place in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These were run by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) respectively. 

  7. A person's place of usual residence is in most cases the address at which they stay the majority of the time. For many people this will be their permanent or family home. If a member of the armed forces did not have a permanent or family address at which they are usually resident, they were recorded as usually resident at their base address.

  8. All key terms used in this publication are explained in the 2011 Census glossary. Information on the 2011 Census Geography Products for England and Wales is also available.

  9. All census population estimates were extensively quality assured, using other national and local sources of information for comparison and review by a series of quality assurance panels. An extensive range of quality assurance, evaluation and methodology papers were published alongside the first release in July 2012 and have been updated in this release, including a Quality and Methodology Information document (152.8 Kb Pdf).

  10. The 2011 Census achieved its overall target response rate of 94 per cent of the usually resident population of England and Wales, and over 80 per cent in all local and unitary authorities. The population estimate for England and Wales of 56.1 million is estimated with 95 per cent confidence to be accurate to within +/- 85,000 (0.15 per cent).

  11. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Appendix A - estimating the number of people with no fixed place of work

The table compares the number of workers counted as living in England and Wales to the number of those same workers that worked within England and Wales. In 2001, the number of workers living in England and Wales but working outside England and Wales was 99,000. By 2011, this number had risen to 112,000, a rise of nearly 14%.

The ‘other’ distance category includes people working outside of the UK and people with no fixed place of work. By subtracting the number of people working outside of England and Wales from the number of workers in the ‘other’ distance category we can estimate the number of workers with no fixed place of work.

Over the period, this figure more than doubled from 1.0 million in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2011. Therefore, 91% of workers in the ‘other’ distance category in 2001 were in fact workers with no fixed place of work. This increased to 95% in 2011.

Appendix A: The number of workers aged 16 to 74 with no fixed place of work

England and Wales, 2001 and 2011

  2001 2011 Percentage Change
Enumeration1 23,628,000 26,526,000 12.3
   Workplace2 23,529,000 26,414,000 12.3
   Outside England and Wales3 99,000 112,000 13.6
 ‘Other’ distance category4 1,117,000 a2,234,000 100.1
   Outside England and Wales3 99,000 112,000 13.6
   Workers with no fixed place of work5 1,018,000 2,122,000 108.5

Table notes:

  1. The number of workers living in England and Wales.
  2. The number of workers living in England and Wales that work within England and Wales.
  3. The number of workers living in England and Wales but working outside England and Wales.
  4. ‘Other’ includes people working outside the UK, people working on offshore installations and workers with no fixed place of work.
  5. This slightly underestimates the number of workers with no fixed place of work as the ‘other’ distance category only includes workers working outside the UK. It does not, therefore, include workers living in England and Wales but working in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  6. a. The 2011 figure for workers commuting 'other' distances is an estimate for those aged 16 to 74 from the published figure which is for workers aged 16 and over (2,248,000).
  7. Source: Census 2001 and 2011, Office for National Statistics

Download table

Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.