Rural England

Young adult unemployment

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • In the three years to end 2009, the unemployment rate (ILO) for 16- to 24-year-olds in rural districts was four times that for older workers.
  • For both younger and older adults, unemployment rates are much lower in rural districts than in urban districts.
  • In the three years to end 2009, 200,000 16- to 24-year-olds in rural districts were unemployed.
  • See the UK indicator on young adult unemployment.

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 districtAged 16 to 24 Aged 25 to retirement
'Very rural' districts7 6
'Mostly rural' districts7 6
'Part rural' districts8 7

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

For each type of local authority district, the first graph shows the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24, compared with those aged 25 and over (up to retirement).

The second graph shows the distribution of unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds by type of district.

‘Unemployment’ is the ILO definition, which is used for the official government unemployment numbers.  It comprises all those with no paid work in the survey week who were available to start work in the next fortnight and who either looked for work in the last month or were waiting to start a job already obtained.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of the economically active population who are unemployed (i.e. the number who are unemployed divided by the number who are either in paid work or unemployed).

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.

External links

See the 2000 Joseph Rowntree Foundation report Youth unemployment in rural areas and 1999 report Getting a job, finding a home: rural youth transitions.

The numbers

Type of districtAged 16 to 24 Aged 25 to retirement
Rate Numbers Rate Numbers
'Very rural' districts12.0% 50,000 3.2% 70,000
'Mostly rural' districts13.4% 70,000 3,3% 100,000
'Part rural' districts13.5% 70,000 3.6% 110,000
Urban districts17.6% 450,000 5.4% 700,000