Rural England


Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • In both rural and urban districts, around one in seven heads of households with a mortgage is not in full-time work and is therefore arguably in an economically vulnerable position.
  • See the UK indicator on mortgage arrears.

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.

Hamlets and isolated dwellings11
Small towns and fringe9

Definitions and data sources

he graphs

The graph shows the proportion of households with mortgages where the head of the household has the economic status shown.  The total is effectively the proportion of households with mortgages where the head of the household is not in full-time work.

Level of the data

Small area urban/rural classifications using the government’s 2004 classification system for small areas.  Rural areas are those classified as ‘small town and fringe’, ‘village’ and ‘hamlet and isolated dwellings’.


The household dataset from the English Housing Survey, DCLG.  Note that the data is for the latest year only as the rural/urban classifications are not available for previous years.  In this context, also note that the sample sizes for the three types of rural area are very small and thus there is substantial uncertainty about their precise proportions.

The numbers

Type of small areaPart-time work Unemployed Economically inactive Total not in full-time work
Hamlets and isolated dwellings6% 1% 11% 18%
Villages8% 1% 8% 18%
Small towns and fringe6% 1% 7% 14%
Urban6% 2% 8% 16%