Rural England

Without qualifications

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • One in ten people of working age in rural districts have no educational qualifications.
  • This is a somewhat lower proportion than that in urban districts (13%).
  • One million people aged 20 to retirement in rural districts have no educational qualifications.

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.

'Very rural' districts7
'Mostly rural' districts7
'Part rural' districts8

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

For each type of local authority district, the first graph shows the proportion of adults aged 20 to retirement without any formal educational qualifications.

The second graph shows the number of those who have no formal educational qualifications by type of district.

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.


The Annual Population Survey, which is effectively the Labour Force Survey with selected booster samples to compensate for small sample sizes in some authorities.  The data is the average for the latest three years.

The numbers

Type of districtProportions Numbers
'Very rural' districts9% 300,000
'Mostly rural' districts10% 400,000
'Part rural' districts11% 400,000
Urban districts13% 2,400,000