Driving licences


This page has been archived.
It has been replaced by Driving licenses and access to vehicles.

1. Main facts and figures

New data for 2021 is available if you download the data. This cannot be compared with previous years’ data because it is for one year only, rather than 5 years combined. This is because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Charts, tables and commentary on this page cover the period 2015-2019 and do not include the new data.

In the period 2015-2019:

  • in the 5 years from 2015 to 2019, an average of 74% of people in England had a full driving licence
  • White people were consistently the most likely to have a driving licence out of all ethnic groups, and Black people were least likely to

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of people aged 17 and over in England who have a full driving licence, by ethnicity.

A full driving licence is valid in England, Scotland and Wales and allows people to drive a car, motorcycle, scooter or moped.

The data includes people who were disqualified from driving but still had a full licence.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and were calculated using unrounded figures.

Not included in the data

Percentages based on fewer than 100 people or 300 trips have not been included in the data. This is because the numbers are too small to make any reliable generalisations.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following 5 aggregated groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make reliable generalisations about specific ethnic groups.

The data for ‘All ethnic groups’ includes people who did not give their ethnicity – this was 0.05% in the 5 years to 2019.


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

The data shows 5-year averages from April 2002 to March 2019. This is to make sure there are enough people to be able to make reliable generalisations. You can read more about why we combine multiple years of data and some of the issues involved.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed. Differences between ethnic groups have not been tested for statistical significance. The bullet points on this page only include findings about large differences.

National Travel Survey responses are weighted to take account of different population demographics. They are also weighted to take into account people who did not respond or complete their travel diary in full.

You can read more about how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the group it is about.

In the data file

See Download the data for weighted and unweighted sample sizes.

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of people aged 17 and over with a full driving licence, by ethnicity over time
Time All Asian Black Mixed White Other
% % % % % %
2002/06 71 58 51 54 73 54
2003/07 71 57 51 54 73 54
2004/08 72 57 51 53 74 53
2005/09 72 58 51 55 74 51
2006/10 72 58 50 57 74 54
2007/11 73 58 49 53 75 54
2008/12 73 58 50 55 75 55
2009/13 73 60 50 56 75 56
2010/14 73 60 51 56 75 59
2011/15 73 60 52 57 75 58
2012/16 73 61 53 60 75 59
2013/17 74 62 52 59 76 61
2014/18 74 62 52 59 76 61
2015/19 74 61 53 60 76 60

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Driving licences By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • between 2015 and 2019, an average of 74% of people aged 17 years and over in England had a full driving licence
  • 76% of White people had a licence – the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 53% of Black people had a licence – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • the percentage of people with a driving licence went up from 71% to 74% during the period covered by this data
  • while the figures show a larger than average increase in the Mixed and Other ethnic groups, the number of respondents was too small to make any reliable generalisations

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


Department for Transport

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The National Travel Survey is the main source of data on personal travel by people living in England.

The survey collects information on how, why, when and where people travel. It also covers factors affecting people's travel habits, such as whether they have a car and driving licence.

5. Download the data

Driving Licence 2021 data - Spreadsheet (csv) 12 KB

This file contains the following: Measure, Time,Time Type,Ethnicity Ethnicity_type, Value, Value Type, Weighted Sample Individuals With Licence,Unweighted Sample Individuals With Licence,Weighted Sample Individuals, Unweighted Sample Individuals