Visits to the natural environment

Published

Last updated 4 March 2021 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • 41.9% of people in England surveyed in 2015/16 said they had been to a green open space, or to the countryside or coast, in the previous 7 days

  • out of all ethnic groups, White people were the most likely to have visited the natural environment, and Asian people were least likely

  • over the previous 12 months, just under 60% of White people said they had visited the natural environment at least once a week, compared to about 40% of people from all other ethnic groups combined

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows how often people aged 16 and over visit green spaces (including parks and the countryside) and the coast.

The data counts any time spent in nature wherever it happened, including abroad. Time people spent in their own garden is not included.

People were asked:

  • whether they had spent time in nature in the last 7 days
  • how often they had visited the natural environment in the last 12 months

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for 6 ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 16 ethnic groups.

In some places data is shown for 2 ethnic groups:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

This is to make sure there are enough people surveyed to be able to make reliable generalisations.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data on this page.

The data is an average for the 2 years when the survey was last carried out – 2009 and 2016. This is to make sure there are enough people to be able to make reliable generalisations. You can read more about combining multiple years of data and some of the issues involved.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

3. By ethnicity (last 7 days)

Percentage of people who visited the natural environment in the previous 7 days by ethnicity
Ethnicity %
All 41.9
Asian 25.7
Black 26.2
Chinese 27.6
Mixed 38.8
White 44.2
Other 30.2
Unknown 37.1

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (last 7 days)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (last 7 days)’ (CSV)

Summary of Visits to the natural environment By ethnicity (last 7 days) Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, 41.9% of all adults in England had made at least one visit to the natural environment in the previous 7 days

  • people from the Asian ethnic group were least likely to visit the natural environment (at 25.7%), and those from the White ethnic group were most likely to (at 44.2%)

4. By ethnicity and socio-economic group (last 7 days)

Percentage of people who visited the natural environment in the previous 7 days, by ethnicity and socio-economic group
Ethnicity Higher and intermediate managerial Supervisory and junior managerial Skilled manual workers Semi and unskilled manual workers
% % % %
White 54.7 46.8 41.7 32.7
Other 35.0 28.4 24.4 22.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and socio-economic group (last 7 days)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and socio-economic group (last 7 days)’ (CSV)

Summary of Visits to the natural environment By ethnicity and socio-economic group (last 7 days) Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, people working in higher and intermediate managerial jobs, in either ethnic group, were more likely to visit the natural environment than those in other socio-economic groups

  • White people working in higher and intermediate managerial jobs were the most likely group to visit the natural environment (at 54.7%); semi and unskilled manual workers from other ethnic groups were the least likely to (at 22.6%)

5. By ethnicity and type of location (last 7 days)

Percentage of people who visited the natural environment in the previous 7 days by ethnicity and type of location
Ethnicity Urban Rural
% %
White 42.7 50.8
Other 27.0 40.3

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and type of location (last 7 days)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and type of location (last 7 days)’ (CSV)

Summary of Visits to the natural environment By ethnicity and type of location (last 7 days) Summary

This data shows that:

  • in both urban and rural areas, White people were more likely to have visited the natural environment in the previous 7 days than people from all other ethnic groups

  • the Other ethnic group saw a bigger difference between rural dwellers and urban dwellers than White people – the difference in visits between the groups was 13.3 percentage points for people from Other ethnic groups, and 8.1 percentage points for White people (with rural dwellers most likely to visit the natural environment)

6. By ethnicity (last 12 months)

Percentage of people who visited the natural environment in the previous 12 months, by ethnicity and frequency of visit
Ethnicity At least once a week Less often Never
% % %
All 55.8 not collected not collected
White 58.4 33.5 8.1
Other 39.9 46.9 13.2

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity (last 12 months)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity (last 12 months)’ (CSV)

Summary of Visits to the natural environment By ethnicity (last 12 months) Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, 55.8% of adults in England said they had visited the natural environment at least once a week over the previous 12 months

  • 39.9% of people from the Other ethnic group said they had visited at least once a week, compared to 58.4% of White people, a difference of 18.5 percentage points

  • 13.2% of people from the Other ethnic group said they had not visited the natural environment at all in the previous 12 months, compared to 8.1% of White people – a 5.1 percentage point difference

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Natural England

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey provides trend data for how people use the natural environment in England. The data enables researchers and policymakers to:

  • understand how people use, enjoy and are motivated to protect the natural environment
  • monitor changes in use of the natural environment over time
  • help link on-the-ground initiatives more closely to people's needs
  • measure the impact of, and inform the development of, policy relating to the natural environment

8. Download the data

Visits to the natural environment - Spreadsheet (csv) 4 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, NS-SEC (socio-economic group), value, denominator