Rural England

In receipt of tax credits

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The statistics below concern households in receipt of tax credits over and above the (non-means tested) family element.
  • The proportion of working-age households in receipt of tax credits similar in both rural and urban districts.
  • This pattern for in-work benefits (i.e. tax credits) is very different from that for out-of-work benefits.  See the indicator on out-of-work benefits.
  • The introduction of the Working Tax Credit notwithstanding, only a small minority of households in receipt of tax credits do not have dependent children.
  • See the UK indicator on tax credits.

Rural/urban ratios (urban = 10)

On most poverty and social exclusion indicators, rural areas have ‘better scores’ than urban areas.  The purpose of the table below is to differentiate between those subjects where rural areas are ‘a bit better’ and those where rural areas are ‘a lot better’.  It does so by presenting the rural statistics for the indicator as a proportion of the urban statistics.  So, for example, a rural ‘score’ of 6 in the table below means that the rural statistic is around 60% of its urban equivalent.

Type of districtHouseholds with children Households without childrenTotal
'Very rural' districts9 9 9
'Mostly rural' districts9 8 9
'Part rural' districts9 8 9

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

For each type of local authority district, the graph shows number of working families in receipt of tax credits (Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit), expressed as a proportion of the total number of working-age households.  The figures exclude those only in receipt of the family element of Child Tax Credit as these households are not in low income (the family element is the only part of tax credits which is not means-tested and most above-average income households with children receive it).

To allow comparisons both between groups, the number of families in receipt of tax credits needs to be divided by the size of the total population.  However, there are no population estimates for the total number of working-age families.  As a proxy, the total estimated number of working-age households is used as the denominator in the graph (see the page on households, families and benefit units for a discussion of the differences between ‘households’ and ‘families’).

Level of the data

Lower tier local authorities (districts), as classified by the DEFRA 2009 classification system.  Both the DEFRA classification rules and their results by local authority can be found on the page on rural/urban classification systems.


HM Revenue & Customs (tax credits) and the 2001 Census (total number of working-age households).  Note that the 2001 Census population estimates have been used because there are no more up-to-date estimates for the number of working-age households.  Also note that the number of working-age households used is the number of households where the ‘household reference person’ is of working age.

The numbers

Type of district Households with children Households without children Total
'Very rural' districts200,000 40,000 250,000
'Mostly rural' districts280,000 50,000 330,000
'Part rural' districts270,000 50,000 320,000
Urban districts1,430,000 290,000 1,730,000