Rural England


Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The proportion of people who are living in overcrowded conditions is much lower in the more rural areas than in urban areas: 1-3% compared with 7% in urban areas.
  • See the UK indicator on overcrowding.

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 dwellings2
Small towns and fringe4

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

The graph shows the proportion of people that fall below a measure of occupation density known as the ‘bedroom standard’.  The ‘bedroom standard’ is calculated in relation to the number of bedrooms and the number of household members and their relationship to each other.  One bedroom is allocated to each married or cohabiting couple, any other person over 21, each pair aged 10 to 20 of the same sex and each pair of children under 10.

Note that the proportion of people living in overcrowded conditions is much higher than the proportion of households.

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 two years 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 rather small and thus there is substantial uncertainty about their precise proportions.

The numbers

Type of small areaProportion of people living in overcrowded conditions
Hamlets and isolated dwellings1%
Small towns and fringe3%