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- Overall, 3.2 million usual residents in England and Wales (5.3% of the population) reported staying at a second address for more than 30 days a year.
- The percentage of people who used a second address has risen slightly since 2011, when it was 5.2% (2.9 million).
- Overall, 2.5 million usual residents (4.1%) used a second address in the UK and 736,000 usual residents (1.2%) used a second address outside the UK.
- The most common types of second address were another parent or guardian's address (used by 1.1 million people, 1.77% of all usual residents), students' home addresses (655,000, 1.10%), and holiday homes (447,000 0.75%).
- With these data it is important to consider the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for instance students may have been more likely to be residing at their parent or guardians’ address for the whole academic year with no use of a second term-time address.
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In addition to reporting their primary address, Census 2021 also asked respondents to report whether they stay at another address for more than 30 days a year. If they answered yes, they were then asked the purpose of the second address, and whether it is within or outside the UK.
This bulletin provides information about how many people used second addresses and what their purpose for using a second address was. Other bulletins in the Housing topic summary focus on housing characteristics and communal establishment residents.
Numbers of people using a second address
Census 2021 showed that 3.2 million usual residents in England and Wales (5.3% of the population) stayed at a second address for more than 30 days a year. This was slightly higher than in 2011, when 2.9 million people (5.2% of the population) reported staying at a second address for more than 30 days a year.
A slightly higher percentage of usual residents in England used a second address (5.4%) than in Wales (5.2%). Among the English regions, London (6.0%) and the South West (5.9%) had the highest percentage of usual residents who used a second address, while the West Midlands (4.5%) had the lowest.
Within Wales, a larger percentage of usual residents living in Cardiff (10.5%) and Ceredigion (10.2%) used second addresses, whereas Blaenau Gwent (2.7%) and Merthyr Tydfil (3.0%) had the lowest percentages.Back to table of contents
Among those in England and Wales who used a second address, 2.5 million people (4.1% of the usual resident population) used a second address within the UK. This is an increase from 2.1 million (3.7%) in 2011. The remaining 736,000 (1.2% of the usual resident population) used a second address outside the UK, which is a decrease compared with 2011 (821,000, 1.5%).
Wales had a higher proportion than England of usual residents who used a second address within the UK (4.5% compared with 4.1%). England had a higher proportion of people who used a second address outside the UK (1.3% compared with 0.7%).
Figure 1: People who used second addresses within and outside the UK, 2021, local authorities in England and Wales
- Percentages are calculated from the total usual resident population for each local authority.
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The local authorities with the highest percentage of people who used a second address within the UK were Oxford (15.6%), Cambridge (14.1%) and Exeter (13.5%). In Wales, the local authority with the highest proportion was Ceredigion (9.1%). These are all areas with universities, so the high percentage of people with second addresses likely reflects students with both a term-time address and a non-term-time address.
Looking in more detail at the population who used a second address outside the UK, 8 of the top 10 local authorities were in London. The highest proportions were in Kensington and Chelsea (10.3%), the City of London (8.9%) and Westminster (8.7%). Outside of London, the highest proportions were in Cambridge (5.5%) and Oxford (4.9%). In Wales, the local authorities with the highest percentages of usual residents who used a second address outside the UK were Cardiff (1.5%) and Ceredigion (1.1%).Back to table of contents
People who reported the use of a second address were asked “What is that address?” and given a list of eight options to choose from.
As in 2011, the most common type of second address in 2021 was “Another parent or guardian’s address”, which would have been selected for children whose parents were separated or lived apart. This was selected by 1.1 million people in 2021 (1.77% of the usual resident population), a considerable increase since 2011 (from 742,000, 1.32%).
The next largest group was “Student’s home address”, at 655,000 (1.10%). The number in this group has decreased since 2011, when it was 715,000 (1.28%). This likely reflects a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic effect, as fewer students would have been staying at a term-time address than would otherwise have been expected.
The largest decrease was in those who reported using a “Armed forces base address”. This more than halved in the period between 2011 and 2021, from 73,000 (0.13%) in 2011 to 33,000 (0.06%) in 2021. There was also a decrease in the number of people who used “another address when working away from home”, from 253,000 people (0.45%) in 2011 to 189,000 (0.32%) in 2021.
The proportion who reported a “holiday home” for their second address was more stable. The number of people across England and Wales who reported the use of a holiday home rose slightly (from 426,000 in 2011 to 447,000 in 2021), which was a marginal decrease as a percentage of the population (from 0.76% in 2011 to 0.75% in 2021). The percentage of the population who used a holiday home was higher in England (0.76%) than it was in Wales (0.56%).
For the first time, the question about second addresses also included a tick-box response for the use of a “partner’s address”. In 2021, 294,000 people (0.49%) reported using this type of second address.
Figure 2: Types of second address, 2021, England, Wales
- Percentages are calculated from the total usual resident population for each country.
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More detailed data and analysis on second addresses, including on the location of second addresses, will be published in the coming months alongside the release of multivariate data. Read more about our housing analysis plans and our release plans for Census 2021 more generally.Back to table of contents
Purpose of second address
Dataset | Released 5 January 2023
Census 2021 estimates that classify usual residents in England and Wales with a second address by the purpose of that second address.
Second address indicator
Dataset | Released 5 January 2023
Census 2021 estimates that classify usual residents in England and Wales by their use of a second address, and whether the second address is inside or outside the UK.
An address (in or out of the UK) a person stays at for more than 30 days per year that is not their place of usual residence.
Second addresses typically include:
- armed forces bases
- addresses used by people working away from home
- a student’s home address
- the address of another parent or guardian
- a partner’s address
- a holiday home
If a person with a second address was staying there on census night, they were classed as a visitor to the second address but counted as a usual resident at their home address.
A usual resident is anyone who on Census Day, 21 March 2021 was in the UK and had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for a period of 12 months or more, or had a permanent UK address and was outside the UK and intended to be outside the UK for less than 12 months.Back to table of contents
The census provides estimates of the characteristics of all people and households in England and Wales on Census Day, 21 March 2021. It is carried out every 10 years and gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales.
We are responsible for carrying out the census in England and Wales, but will also release outputs for the UK in partnership with the Welsh Government, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The census in Northern Ireland was also conducted on 21 March 2021, but Scotland’s census was moved to 20 March 2022. All UK census offices are working closely together to understand how this difference in reference dates will affect UK-wide population and housing statistics, in terms of both timing and scope.
The person response rate for the census is the number of usual residents for whom individual details were provided on a returned questionnaire, divided by the estimated usual resident population.
The person response rate for Census 2021 was 97% of the usual resident population of England and Wales, and over 88% in all local authorities. Most returns (89%) were received online. The response rate exceeded our target of 94% overall and 80% in all local authorities.
Read more about question-specific response rates at local authority level in Section 4 of our Measures showing the quality of Census 2021 estimates methodology.Back to table of contents
Quality considerations along with the strengths and limitations of Census 2021 more generally can be found in our Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) for Census 2021. Read more about the Housing quality information for Census 2021.
Further information on our quality assurance processes is provided in our Maximising the quality of Census 2021 population estimates report.Back to table of contents
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 5 January 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, People with second addresses, England and Wales: Census 2021
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1329 444972