1. Foreword

I’m very pleased to introduce the Office for National Statistics’ latest update on UK data for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This report comes soon after the UK Statistics Authority launched its new five-year strategy for delivering ‘Statistics for the Public Good’. It shows clearly just how well our work on the SDGs fits with the strategy’s four principles: to be ambitious, radical, inclusive and sustainable.

While sustainable is literally in the name for the SDGs, they are also an ambitious and radical global initiative, referred to by some as ‘the closest thing the world has to a strategy’. In addition, our strategy echoes the inclusive idea of ‘Leave No One Behind’ that lies at the heart of the UN Agenda 2030, which is the plan of action – including the SDGs – for people, planet and prosperity. We are working to ensure no one and nowhere is forgotten in our statistics across the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, environmental and social.

This year we have seen unprecedented demand for statistics. The coronavirus pandemic has seen a huge increase in public appetite for what statistics and analysis can tell us. This has accelerated a trend towards understanding the inequalities of the different groups affected during the pandemic. We have looked at how places and the environment are being affected too, and the interplay between people and place.

This is the first annual report where we have disaggregated SDGs by sex and age which will help to provide us all with a deeper insight into previously under-examined areas.

My vision for the ONS is to increase UK SDG data reporting, both at headline level and through deeper disaggregations. This will involve new collaborations at all levels of government, and with business and civil society. It will involve exploring the wealth of data already held, as well as uncovering new data sources, innovative approaches to data collection, and making the most of technology.

As we enter the "decade of action" for the SDGs up to 2030, I will be actively following developments on the SDGs over the coming year and beyond with great interest. The ONS will continue to lead the world in SDG reporting, we will continue helping others around the world to develop their capacity and reporting, and we will provide insight for the public good.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

National Statistician

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2. Overview

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the UN’s radical and ambitious agenda for a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world that leaves no-one and nowhere behind by 2030. It brings economic, environmental and social goals together in a holistic agenda with a view to, for example, halting climate change, eradicating poverty, and reducing inequalities.

In 2015, alongside other UN member states, the government committed to this ambitious agenda on the UK's behalf. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), as the national statistics institute, is responsible for monitoring and reporting SDG data for the UK.

We have written about the SDGs on the About page of our UK SDG data site. We have explained the UK's role in their making and our role in reporting UK data. The UK's Voluntary National Review sets out the implementation approach across the UK.

Current state of data reporting

The Goals cover a very broad range of subjects. No country in the world collects data on all the targets and indicators, yet.

Figure 1 shows our progress in reporting on SDG indicators. The start date is 2017, which reflects the first year our website was populated with indicators. We are now reporting UK data for 81% of the 244 indicators. This is up from 75% in 2019. We are consistently increasing the number of reported indicators at headline level with each year, while filling those gaps is increasingly challenging.

The majority of our reporting is statistical, such as the proportion of seats held by women in Parliament, or the proportion of our energy that comes from renewable sources. In some cases the indicators are non-statistical and in such cases, we provide information about policies. For example, Indicator 13.3.1 asks whether countries include climate action in their educational curriculum - and our reporting details the situation in all four nations of the UK. Similarly, Indicator 16.10.2 is about whether countries guarantee public access to information; for this indicator we link to relevant UK legislation.

We are reporting headline national data for 77% of the statistical indicators, 158 of the 206, and providing information on 92% of those that are non-statistical, 35 of the 38 indicators.

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3. Breaking down our data

Knowing the headline figures for the country gives us a useful overview. However, many Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators require specific breakdowns below the headline figure. These breakdowns, or disaggregations, provide us with a more detailed understanding. At the Office for National Statistics (ONS) we are committed to working with the Inclusive Data Charter, which goes a step further than what is required in the SDGs themselves, aiming to accurately describe all populations by a range of characteristics.

For example: Indicator 8.5.2 looks at the unemployment rate, requiring breakdowns by sex, age and persons with disabilities. In this case, UK unemployment was 3.8% in the first quarter of 2019. When we disaggregate that number by sex, the difference from the national total is very small. However, when we layer the sex and age disaggregations, or where these characteristics intersect, a different picture is revealed. The unemployment rate for women aged 16 to 24 for the same period was 8.9% - more than five percentage points higher than the national figure. The unemployment rate for men aged 16 to 24 was even higher at 12.6% – almost nine percentage points higher than the national figure.

Many SDG indicators specify certain sub-categories that should be reported alongside the headline data. The most commonly specified sub-category is sex - men and women.

For this report we have analysed what the UK SDG data for some indicators can tell us about the differences in data for men and women. We have not looked solely at the differences between men and women, though. Where possible, we have looked at how differences between the sexes vary with age, or we have considered other characteristics. It is not yet possible to look at the intersections between all populations, primarily because of sample sizes.

We present our analysis of the selected indicators by Goal in Section 9 of this report:

  • Goal 1: No Poverty
  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger
  • Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

We will report on progress towards publishing more breakdowns of UK SDG indicators data.

Initially, we have assessed reporting on breakdowns, which are mentioned specifically in indicator names. For example, as shown previously, Indicator 8.5.2 on unemployment rate seeks breakdowns by sex, age and persons with disabilities.

On this basis, there are 50 SDG indicators across 13 of the Goals with such breakdowns specified. Goals 6, 7, 13 and 14 do not currently have any breakdowns specified.

Figure 2 shows current reporting of disaggregations overall for the UK by Goal, how many of these 50 indicators are fully disaggregated, and where some of the indicators are currently partially disaggregated. We are in the process of developing our reporting status pages to reflect this information.

In line with our commitments though the Inclusive Data Charter (IDC), we also report many other disaggregations beyond these, regardless of any reference in the indicator title. Our aim is to continue to source disaggregated data to help identify the people and places at risk of being left behind.

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4. Building SDG reporting

UK SDG data site

The UN resolution that created the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promotes countries reporting their own data. These data are then used by the UN to give a global picture. The latest annual UN report is available to read online.

As noted previously, we report UK SDG data on the sdgdata.gov.uk website; this new URL was launched in June 2020. We provide an open, accessible, interoperable UK SDG data site that meets user needs and the required standards.


We are committed to providing open data and statistics that anyone can access, use and share. All data are available through the Open Government Licence unless otherwise stated. We publish data in the comma-separated variables (CSV) open format. In line with recommended open standards for government, we will also be implementing "CSV for the web" (CSV-W).


We want our data site to be accessible to everybody. We are committed to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 AA standard). We first received our Certificate of Accreditation in September 2019. Our annual assessment by the Digital Accessibility Centre, in October 2020, confirmed we have maintained the AA standard.

We have embedded accessibility into our development processes and will continue with annual formal assessments.

For more information about the accessibility of our website, please see our accessibility statement.


We are improving the interoperability of the UK SDG data site. This will enable the site to connect and exchange data with other products and systems.

Use of CSV for the web (CSV-W) will allow us to interact with systems within government across the UK, such as the Integrated Data Platform.

We will also use the UN-endorsed Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) format and defined structures. This is a set of technical standards and statistical guidelines, which aim to standardise data and metadata exchange. This will enable UK data to be uploaded the UN Lab, which is part of the UN global reporting database. It will also allow us to compare our country data and globally harmonised data more easily.

Meets user needs

It is critical to ensure the UK SDG data site meets the needs of its users. Following user research, we have made many improvements over the past year. For example, the "look and feel" of the main pages have been redesigned, the search facility has been expanded and a new homepage has been added.

We will continue research activities and test usability to understand users' needs, and to develop the site further. Users have told us that they want to see progress measures. So, we will be carrying out initial research to better understand this.

If you would like to help with our ongoing user research, please sign up to take part.

Meets required standards

We use the government Service Standard criteria to help us ensure our SDG data site provides a good service.

In November 2020, the site passed the required service standards for us to move to the next phase (Beta).

Open SDG

The Goals promote working with other countries and organisations. One way we do this is leading collaborative work on Open SDG, an open source, free-to-reuse platform for managing and reporting SDG data.

Open SDG is the result of collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the United States government and the Center for Open Data Enterprise. There are currently 20 known implementations of Open SDG worldwide, including the UK and US data sites. This is double the number of known implementations as at this time last year.

In the past year we have:

  • published a new Open SDG website to share improved technical guidance and information for users setting up their own data site

  • released several new versions of Open SDG code with many new features

  • hosted and participated in webinars to share knowledge and to raise awareness of this free solution for reporting SDG data

The ONS actively supports other countries and organisations with their data sites. In the past year we have continued to work with Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan and Ghana on their sites. We have also helped Myanmar, Lao PDR and Sierra Leone set up their own data sites.

We are proud that our experience, expertise and knowledge are helping others to develop their own SDG data sites.

Localising the SDGs

Over the past year, we have been exploring how the SDGs could be used at a local level, with local authorities and other interested stakeholders.

We have also identified which SDG indicators, or related proxies, can be reported at a local or local authority level. We have been working with Bristol City Council on a local reporting platform for the city, with data for these indicators alongside other indicators featured in Bristol's Voluntary Local Review, which was undertaken in 2019 alongside the UK's Voluntary National Review. The local SDG data platform is due to be launched later this month at the Bristol City Office's next One City Gathering.

"The SDGs will require a whole of society approach with actors at all levels engaging. It's encouraging to work with the ONS SDG team to think about what local data needs are in the UK and how they can be supported."

Allan Macleod
Bristol's SDG Research and Engagement Associate

In the coming year, we hope to engage with more local authorities. We plan to develop further guidance and case studies on using the SDGs sub-nationally. We will also further explore use of SDG data and by businesses and other organisations.

Non-official data

Some SDG indicator gaps remain challenging to fill, and we are looking at how non-official sources can help. This means data and statistics that come from sources other than government and that also do not meet the criteria of "national statistic". A source is "non-official" when it is not reported or published by a UK government department, local or devolved authority, or an official international reporting body in line with the Code of Practice. This definition incorporates the UK Statistics Authority specification for who produces official statistics, which is based on the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

We are developing a non-official data protocol to provide guidelines for assessing the suitability of such data sources for inclusion on the UK SDG data site. It will provide a framework that complements existing official sources with these non-official sources in SDG reporting.

While the ONS currently brings in non-official raw datasets through its Data Acquisitions team, governed by the ONS Data Standards, the SDG team also uses pre-prepared statistical tables, which these guidelines do not cover; hence the need for the new protocol.

Using data from non-official sources will improve our ability within the SDG framework to provide fully inclusive disaggregated data, to ensure the UK's SDG reporting leaves no one behind.

For example, we are in discussion with:

  • the Marine Conservation Survey about the data they collect through the Great British Beach Clean for Indicator 14.1.1, on "coastal eutrophication" (a process caused by increased nutrients that is harmful to ocean and estuary ecosystems) and floating plastic debris density

  • the British Geological Society and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology about data for Indicator 6.6.1, which covers the change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time

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5. Beyond the UK

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal - an ambitious agenda that 193 UN member states have adopted. To address these challenges that we all face, we must work together - governments, civil society, business, academia and, of course, statisticians.

Goal 17 aims to "strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development".

There is a practical need for collaboration. As outlined in the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) international strategy, the UK statistics system operates within a global context of international classifications, standards and guidance. Where appropriate, we take opportunities to work with international colleagues to influence these classifications and standards, and to help write the guidance.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) staff are active in a range of international groups looking at classifications, standards, guidance and best practice that will influence the work we do on SDGs. This includes working groups looking at statistics for:

  • time use

  • climate change

  • children and young people

  • environmental-economic accounting

  • the modernisation of official statistics

  • geospatial data


As noted previously, the ONS is an Inclusive Data Charter (IDC) signatory, part of an initiative of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. With a growing number of champions - including national statistics offices, government ministries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - IDC champions support each other to implement their Charter action plans by sharing experiences and collaborating on projects.

The ONS's first action plan included targets to report against 75% of the global indicators on our SDG website, improving geographic coverage and filling priority disability data gaps. Much of this work has been achieved, including filling data gaps and increasing disaggregated data as described in our report Using innovative methods to report against the SDGs. We will be looking to update our action plan next year.

While this work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to host, facilitate and/or contribute to a range of knowledge sharing webinars and online conferences, including speaking at a meeting of the African Gender Data Network, discussing inclusive data with UN Development Programme and Azerbaijan, and contributing to sessions on inclusive data and local SDG reporting at the World Data Forum and the High Level Political Forum.

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6. Collaboration

On behalf of the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) engages with many other countries, such as through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Conference of European Statisticians' Steering Group on Statistics for SDGs. This group published a Road Map for Statistics for SDGs in 2017 and an updated version is due to be published next year. The Steering Group runs annual workshops and expert group meetings open to all UNECE member states, where countries share their experiences producing, analysing and disseminating data for SDGs. It also maintains a wiki space available to all. The UK co-chairs two task teams that report to the Steering Group, on communicating SDG statistics and on data transmission.

The National Statistician, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, represents the ONS on the High-Level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics. This group reports to the United Nations Statistical Commission and provides strategic leadership for the SDG implementation process in terms of statistical monitoring and reporting.

Capacity development

The ONS works to build capacity to report on SDGs in a number of ways beyond our work with Open SDG, which was described in earlier sections.

As part of the ONS's strategic partnership with Rwanda, we provide support to Rwanda's SDG team for their reporting against the SDG indicators. We work with them as they collect new data sources and develop new methods.

In addition to its Inclusive Data Charter (IDC) Champion role, the ONS is also a Technical Advisor on the IDC. We provide technical support to new IDC champions in developing and implementing their action plans. Over the past year, our Technical Advisor has:

  • helped the Office of the Chief Government Statistician in Zanzibar launch their action plan and continues to support them with implementation of this plan

  • facilitated meetings between the Kenyan IDC Champion and their National Bureau of Statistics, with a focus on disability data

  • developed an accountability framework for champions

  • begun working with Peru, who signed up to the Charter in October 2020

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7. 2019 commitments

In our 2019 annual report, we set ourselves ambitious aims for the next 12 months. These were to:

  • continue to increase our reporting of UK data for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • continue to build our presence across the world

  • build collaborative partnerships with academia, the third sector, local and central government and other organisations

  • continue to improve the UK SDG data site

  • provide analysis of the UK's progress towards the SDGs

Progress in these areas has been described throughout the report, and we will look to build on these successes over the coming year.

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8. Future developments

One-third of the way through to the Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs') 2030 deadline, we are entering the Decade of Action. Building on last year's achievements, over the next year we will do the following.

Build on our reporting of UK data by:

  • assessing our remaining headline data gaps and continuing to source new data to fill them

  • increasing the inclusivity of SDG indicators by increasing the extent of disaggregated indicator data on the UK SDG data website and updating our Inclusive Data Charter action plan

  • publishing a non-official protocol to assess the robustness of SDG data from non-government sources

  • updating the indicators on the website in line with the outcomes of the United Nations' 2020 SDG indicator review

  • looking at further ways to collaborate with local authorities, businesses, academics and civil society organisations

  • analysing interlinkages between the goals, targets and indicators

Further develop the UK SDG data site by:

  • listening to feedback and ensuring our user research drives our development

  • continuing to explore and influence the implementation of data exchange mechanisms to improve interoperability with other systems

Continue to build our presence across the world by:

  • representing the UK, and showcasing UK statistical work on SDGs, at international conferences, workshops and meetings

  • continuing to support the Inclusive Data Charter

  • providing technical and statistical support to countries, regions and subnational authorities in the development of their SDG reporting

  • continuing our collaboration on Open SDG towards the ongoing availability of an open source, free-to-reuse SDG reporting platform

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9. Inequalities analysis

The analysis that follows explores the insights that can be gained by breaking down, or disaggregating, data, as described in Section 2 of this report. Here we have focused on sex inequalities, as this is the most readily available data breakdown available. This is not a report on the progress the UK is making towards achieving the Goals; this information is outlined in the UK's Voluntary National Review, which was published last year.

Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the whole of the UK can be challenging because data are often not collected or reported in the same way across the four countries. We are working with the devolved administrations to ensure that we provide an aggregated figure wherever appropriate. In this section, we state the coverage for each of the indicators reported. The Governments of Wales and Scotland have existing work programmes that align to the SDGs.


The percentage of people living in a household at risk of poverty has increased

Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is "No Poverty". One of the indicators we are able to report under this goal (1.2.1) uses data from European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) to measure the percentage of the population living in households at risk of poverty. The primary measure for poverty in the UK is Households below average income, produced by the Department for Work and Pensions. However, for SDGs we use the EU-SILC measure for international comparability purposes. For more information on the source, and definitions used, please refer to the national metadata and source tabs for this indicator on our UK SDG data site.

According to these data, the percentage of people living in a household at risk of poverty has increased between 2016 (15.9%) and 2018 (18.9%). In 2018, there were 20.1% of women compared with 17.6% of men living in an "at risk" household.

Overall, those in the youngest and oldest age groups were most likely to live in a household at risk of poverty. In 2018, almost one-quarter of people (24.1%) aged 75 years or over were at risk, 24% of 16- to 24-year-olds, and 23.9% of those aged 15 years and under were at risk. This varied between men and women - women were more likely than men to live in a household at risk of poverty in both the youngest and oldest age groups.

In 2018, women aged 75 years and over were the group most likely to live in a household at risk of poverty, with over one-quarter doing so (27.4%). This was followed by women aged 16 to 24 years (26.7%) and girls aged 15 years and under (24.5%). For men in the same age groups, the percentages living in a household at risk of poverty were lower (19.9%, 21.4% and 23.3% respectively).

Detailed information from EU-SILC about people living in households at risk of poverty can be found in the At-risk-of-poverty rate by poverty threshold, age and sex - EU-SILC survey.

By providing the data disaggregated by both age and sex, we can unpick this complex picture and identify the specific groups of women that are most at risk, and therefore some of the potential drivers of the inequality between men and women.


Women are more likely to report living in a food-insecure household than men

Goal 2 of the SDGs aims for "Zero Hunger". Indicator 2.1.2 measures the estimated prevalence of low and very low food security among people aged 16 years and over in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data for Scotland are not reported here because of differences in data collection; while data are comparable with other parts of the UK, they are not exactly the same.

In 2018, the group most likely to be living in a household with low or very low food security was women aged 35 to 44 years, with 1 in 5 reporting this (20.4%), compared with 1 in 10 (10.5%) men of the same age. Overall, women were more likely to report living in a household with low or very low food security than men (10.5% and 9.0% respectively). This was the case across all age groups, apart from those aged 16 to 24 years (9.0% of women compared with 13.9% of men). This may be linked to the more complex issue of lone parenthood. The Food and You Survey in 2018 estimated that women with children aged under 16 years were more likely to have low or very low levels of food security (17.0%) compared with men with children (10.9%) and people with no children (7.6% for women and 8.3% for men).

By disaggregating this indicator by both sex and age, we can identify that in 2018 it appears to be women in the 35 to 44 years age group driving the overall level of low food security of women. This is an important point that would not have been clear if we were not able to report data with this level of granularity.


Mortality rates for cancer in England and Wales are higher for women aged between 30 and 54 years; they are higher for men over 55 years of age

Goal 3 of the SDGs covers "Good Health and Well-being". Indicator 3.4.1 specifically reports mortality rate attributed to cancer alongside other diseases.

Mortality rates for cancer in England and Wales in 2019 increased with age. Mortality rates were higher for men in most age groups, but women between the ages of 30 and 54 years had slightly higher mortality rates for cancer than men of the same age. After this age group, the mortality rate is higher in men than in women. The gap between men and women increased with age, with the largest gap between men and women in the 90 years and over age group, where the age-standardised mortality rate was 3,728.3 per 100,000 for men and 1,952.1 per 100,000 for women.

Men accounted for three-quarters of registered suicide deaths in 2018

Indicator 3.4.2 reports suicide mortality rates. These data allow us to look at the sex and age disaggregations combined, to give us a more in-depth picture of which groups have the highest suicide rates. For this indicator, data relate to 2018 and cover the whole of the UK.

There were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK in 2018, an age-standardised rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population, which is significantly higher than that in 2017 (10.1 deaths per 100,000).

Men accounted for three-quarters of registered suicide deaths in 2018 (4,903 deaths), which has been the case since the mid-1990s. The suicide rate for men has been increasing but remained consistent over the last 10 years for women. For men, the suicide rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000 represents a significant increase from the rate in 2017; for women, the suicide rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000. When looking at suicide rates by age, clear differences exist between sexes. At the beginning of the data time series, in 1981, in men those aged 75 years and over had the highest rates, whereas in women, those aged 65 to 74 years had the highest rates.

Exploring changes in suicide rates by age groups over time highlights important differences between men and women. More recently, the suicide rate in all young people aged 10 to 24 years has significantly increased. Among young women the rate has been going up since 2013, over a longer period when compared with young men where the rate has only started to increase more recently.

For at least a decade, the suicide rate among men aged 45 to 64 years has been the main driver behind change in the overall rate of suicide for men. For women, the rate among those aged 45 to 64 years has been more constant. The most notable change over time for women is the substantial fall in suicide rates among those aged 45 years and over.

Suicide rates in young men increased more sharply in 2018, but overall rates in men aged 45 to 64 years have been an important factor in recent years. In 1981, men aged 75 years and over had the highest rates of suicide; whereas for women, 65- to 74-year-olds had the highest rates.

Detailed information from the ONS about suicide rates can be found in the Suicides in England and Wales report.

Men have a higher mortality rate due to road traffic injuries than women in all driving-age age groups

Indicator 3.6.1 reports death rate due to road traffic injuries. These data allow us to look at mortality by both age and sex together for deaths recorded in Great Britain.

Men had a higher mortality rate due to road traffic injuries than women in all driving-age age groups. In 2018, the largest absolute differences between the sexes were in the youngest (15 to 24 years: 6.2 per 100,000 for men and 1.6 per 100,000 for women) and oldest age groups (85 years and over: 11.2 per 100,000 for men and 4.6 per 100,000 for women).

There was also a difference between the sexes in the way that mortality rate due to road traffic injuries changed with age. In 2018, mortality rate decreased for both men and women between the 15- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 44-year-olds age groups. This downward trend with age continued for men up to the 65 to 74 years age group. For women, there was a slight increase in mortality over the same ages (between the 35 to 44 years and 65 to 74 years age groups).

Mortality rate due to road traffic injuries increased with age for both men and women over the age of 74 years. In 2018, the increase was much more pronounced for men, increasing from 3.8 per 100,000 men in the 65 to 74 years age group to 11.2 per 100,000 men aged 85 years and over. This is compared with an increase for women in the same age groups from 2.2 per 100,000 to 4.6 per 100,000 women.

The source of this information is the STATS19 police data of road accidents in Great Britain. More information about STATS19 can be found on the Department for Transport's Road Safety Data web page. Detailed information from the Department for Transport about death rates due to road traffic injuries can be found in Casualties involved in reported road accidents.

Labour market participation

The unemployment rate for young men aged 16 to 24 years increased twice as much as for young women of the same ages in the year to September 2020

Goal 8 focuses on "Decent Work and Economic Growth", with the unemployment rate (Indicator 8.5.2) being one of the indicators used to measure this.

The estimated unemployment rate for people aged 16 years and over had generally been decreasing since late 2013 but has increased over recent periods. During the third quarter (July to September) of 2020, the unemployment rate for all people aged 16 years and over in the UK increased by one percentage point on the same quarter in the previous year, to 4.8%. The estimated unemployment rate stood at 5.2% for men and 4.3% for women between July and September 2020. The increase in unemployment coincides with the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in March 2020.

Unemployment by sex and age

Men aged 16 to 24 years were more likely to be unemployed than women of the same ages (17.1% and 11.9% respectively). For people aged 25 to 49 years, women were slightly more likely to be unemployed, whereas for those aged 50 years and over, unemployment rates for men were higher than women.

In the year to September 2020, seasonally adjusted unemployment estimates indicate that unemployment rates for young men aged 16 to 24 years have increased from 13.5% to 17.1% compared with the previous year, an increase of 3.6 percentage points. This is double that of young women aged 16 to 24 years, whose unemployment rate increased from 10.1% to 11.9%.

Detailed information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) about the unemployment rate by sex and age can be found in Labour market statistics time series.


Women in the Black ethnic group were significantly more likely than those in the White and Other ethnic groups to experience indecent exposure or unwanted sexual touching in the past 12 months

Goal 11 is titled "Sustainable Cities and Communities" and aims to make cities and places where people live inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Indicator 11.7.2 reports the percentage of people who have experienced indecent exposure or unwanted sexual touching in the past 12 months.

In 2017 to 2018, younger women, aged 20 to 24 years (10.1%) and 25 to 34 years (2.8%) were more likely than older women and men (those aged between 35 and 59 years) to report that they had experienced unwanted sexual touching or indecent exposure. Significantly more men aged 25 to 34 years (2%) reported experiencing these behaviours than men aged 35 to 44 years (0.2%).

Generally, ethnicity data are not as widely collected as age and sex; we currently report ethnicity breakdown for eight indicators. One of these include an indicator on sexual assault.

Women in the Black ethnic group were significantly more likely than those in the White and Other ethnic groups to experience this type of sexual assault – with almost 1 in 10 (9.0%) reporting they had experienced indecent exposure or unwanted sexual touching in the previous 12 months. There were no significant differences seen by ethnicity for men.

Detailed information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) about the percentages of persons that were victim of physical or sexual harassment can be found in the Crime in England and Wales - Annual supplementary tables.

Often statistics can only tell us where differences between men and women exist. In these instances, the figures highlight potential areas for further research into why such differences exist.

The indicators included in this analysis illustrate where the power of disaggregation allows us to shine a light on groups that may, without the data, be missed, or left behind. This analysis focused on a small subset of the SDG indicators that allow this type of granular analysis.

The availability of more deeply disaggregated data will be invaluable in uncovering important stories that are not clear in the sex disaggregation alone for these indicators.

We want to be able to do more. The SDGs provide the framework, common language and the opportunity to continue to develop data solutions to allow this important work to expand. The ONS plans to continue developing innovative techniques in collaboration with topic experts to report data against indicators to the most granular level possible, so that no one, or no place is left behind. As part of this work, the National Statistician has launched an Inclusive Data Taskforce to improve the UK's data holdings in a broad range of areas.

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Contact details for this Article

Joanne Evans
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455898