Working age population

Published

Last updated 15 September 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • according to the 2011 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, and nearly two-thirds of people (36.3 million) were of ‘working age’ (aged 16 to 64 years)
  • 85.6% of working age people were from White ethnic groups, 8.1% Asian, 3.4% Black, 1.8% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.1% were from the Other ethnic group
  • among the specific ethnic groups, nearly 4 out of 5 working age people (79.2%) identified as White British
  • after White British, the groups making up the largest percentage of the working age population were Other White (5.4%), Indian (2.8%), Pakistani (1.9%) and Black African (1.8%)
  • 82.1% of people from the Chinese ethnic group were of working age, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 49.0% of people from the Mixed White and Black African ethnic group were of working age, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows:

  • the number of working age people (aged 16 to 64) in England and Wales
  • the percentage of the working age population from each ethnic group
  • the percentage of people in each ethnic group of working age

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Read more about the 2011 Census.

Not included in the data

The data does not include households that did not answer the Census question about ethnicity.

94% of households completed the Census. Of those, 97% answered the question about ethnicity.

The data has been adjusted to take into account people and households who were not counted or counted incorrectly.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the standardised list of 18 ethnic groups that were developed for the 2011 Census.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for this data.

In every ethnic group, the percentage of people of working age is closely related to its overall age profile. You can read more about the age profiles of different ethnic groups.

3. Working age population by ethnicity

Percentage and number of people of working age (aged 16 to 64 years) by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number
All 100.0 36,273,707
Asian 8.1 2,936,933
Bangladeshi 0.8 275,116
Chinese 0.9 322,791
Indian 2.8 1,026,432
Pakistani 1.9 704,689
Asian other 1.7 607,905
Black 3.4 1,240,547
Black African 1.8 667,418
Black Caribbean 1.1 408,318
Black other 0.5 164,811
Mixed 1.8 638,291
Mixed White/Asian 0.5 170,927
Mixed White/Black African 0.2 81,364
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 0.6 225,465
Mixed other 0.4 160,535
White 85.6 31,054,503
White British 79.2 28,731,855
White Irish 0.9 337,577
White Gypsy/Traveller 0.1 35,869
White other 5.4 1,949,202
Other 1.1 403,433
Arab 0.4 156,948
Any other 0.7 246,485

Download table data for ‘Working age population by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Working age population by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Working age population Working age population by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • according to the 2011 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, and 64.7% of people (36.3 million) were of ‘working age’ (aged 16 to 64 years)
  • 85.6% of working age people were White, 8.1% were Asian, 3.4% were Black, 1.8% had Mixed ethnicity, and 1.1% were from the Other ethnic group
  • among the specific ethnic groups, 79.2% of working age people identified as White British
  • after White British, the groups making up the largest percentage of the working age population were Other White (5.4%), Indian (2.8%), Pakistani (1.9%) and Black African (1.8%)
  • of the 18 ethnic groups listed in the 2011 Census, those making up the smallest percentage of the working age population were Gypsy or Irish Traveller (0.1%), Mixed White and Black African (0.2%), and the Other Mixed and Arab groups (both at 0.4%)

4. Ethnic groups by working age

Percentage and number of people within each ethnic group who are of working age (aged 16 to 64 years)
Ethnicity % Number
All 64.7 36,273,707
Asian 69.7 2,936,933
Bangladeshi 61.5 275,116
Chinese 82.1 322,791
Indian 72.6 1,026,432
Pakistani 62.7 704,689
Asian other 72.7 607,905
Black 66.5 1,240,547
Black African 67.4 667,418
Black Caribbean 68.6 408,318
Black other 58.8 164,811
Mixed 52.1 638,291
Mixed White/Asian 50.0 170,927
Mixed White/Black African 49.0 81,364
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 52.8 225,465
Mixed other 55.4 160,535
White 64.4 31,054,503
White British 63.7 28,731,855
White Irish 63.6 337,577
White Gypsy/Traveller 62.2 35,869
White other 78.4 1,949,202
Other 71.6 403,433
Arab 68.1 156,948
Any other 74.0 246,485

Download table data for ‘Ethnic groups by working age’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Ethnic groups by working age’ (CSV)

Summary of Working age population Ethnic groups by working age Summary

This data shows that:

  • according to the 2011 Census, 64.7% of the population of England and Wales was of working age (aged 16 to 64 years)
  • 82.1% of people from the Chinese ethnic group were of working age, the highest out of all ethnic groups, followed by the Other White ethnic group (78.4%)
  • 49.0% of people from the Mixed White and Black African ethnic group were of working age, the lowest out of the 18 ethnic groups listed in the Census, followed by the Mixed White and Asian ethnic group (50.0%)
  • 63.7% of White British people were of working age, slightly lower than the national average

5. Working age population by ethnicity and country (England, Wales)

Percentage and number of people of working age (aged 16 to 64 years) by ethnicity and country
England Wales
Ethnicity England % England Number Wales % Wales Number
All 100.0 34,329,091 100.0 1,944,616
Asian 8.4 2,886,974 2.6 49,959
Bangladeshi 0.8 268,507 0.3 6,609
Chinese 0.9 311,828 0.6 10,963
Indian 3.0 1,013,550 0.7 12,882
Pakistani 2.0 696,841 0.4 7,848
Asian other 1.7 596,248 0.6 11,657
Black 3.6 1,227,458 0.7 13,089
Black African 1.9 658,725 0.4 8,693
Black Caribbean 1.2 405,493 0.1 2,825
Black other 0.5 163,240 0.1 1,571
Mixed 1.8 620,280 0.9 18,011
Mixed White/Asian 0.5 165,976 0.3 4,951
Mixed White/Black African 0.2 79,068 0.1 2,296
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 0.6 218,859 0.3 6,606
Mixed other 0.5 156,377 0.2 4,158
White 85.1 29,201,606 95.3 1,852,897
White British 78.5 26,932,465 92.5 1,799,390
White Irish 1.0 328,505 0.5 9,072
White Gypsy/Traveller 0.1 34,178 0.1 1,691
White other 5.6 1,906,458 2.2 42,744
Other 1.1 392,773 0.5 10,660
Arab 0.4 150,446 0.3 6,502
Any other 0.7 242,327 0.2 4,158

Download table data for ‘Working age population by ethnicity and country (England, Wales)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Working age population by ethnicity and country (England, Wales)’ (CSV)

Summary of Working age population Working age population by ethnicity and country (England, Wales) Summary

This data shows that:

  • according to the 2011 Census, the working age population (people aged 16 to 64 years) was 34.3 million in England and 1.9 million in Wales
  • White British people made up 92.5% of the working age population in Wales, compared with 78.5% in England
  • the second largest broad ethnic group in both England and Wales was the Asian group, making up 8.4% and 2.6% of the working age populations respectively
  • people from Black backgrounds made up 3.6% of the working age population in England, compared with 0.7% of Wales.
  • looking at specific ethnic groups, people from Other White backgrounds made up 5.6% of the working age population in England, compared with 2.2% of Wales

6. Ethnic groups by working age and country (England, Wales)

Percentage and number of people within each ethnic group who are of working age (aged 16 to 64 years) by country
England Wales
Ethnicity England % England Number Wales % Wales Number
All 64.8 34,329,091 63.5 1,944,616
Asian 69.7 2,886,974 71.2 49,959
Bangladeshi 61.5 268,507 61.8 6,609
Chinese 82.2 311,828 80.4 10,963
Indian 72.6 1,013,550 74.7 12,882
Pakistani 62.6 696,841 64.2 7,848
Asian other 72.8 596,248 71.4 11,657
Black 66.5 1,227,458 71.6 13,089
Black African 67.4 658,725 73.1 8,693
Black Caribbean 68.6 405,493 74.2 2,825
Black other 58.7 163,240 60.9 1,571
Mixed 52.0 620,280 57.1 18,011
Mixed White/Asian 49.9 165,976 54.9 4,951
Mixed White/Black African 48.9 79,068 51.9 2,296
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 52.7 218,859 59.5 6,606
Mixed other 55.3 156,377 59.6 4,158
White 64.5 29,201,606 63.3 1,852,897
White British 63.7 26,932,465 63.0 1,799,390
White Irish 63.5 328,505 64.4 9,072
White Gypsy/Traveller 62.3 34,178 60.7 1,691
White other 78.5 1,906,458 76.4 42,744
Other 71.6 392,773 69.8 10,660
Arab 68.1 150,446 67.6 6,502
Any other 74.0 242,327 73.4 4,158

Download table data for ‘Ethnic groups by working age and country (England, Wales)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Ethnic groups by working age and country (England, Wales)’ (CSV)

Summary of Working age population Ethnic groups by working age and country (England, Wales) Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, according to the 2011 Census, 64.8% of people in England and 63.5% in Wales were of working age (aged 16 to 64 years)
  • in both England and Wales, the Chinese ethnic group had the highest percentage of people who were of working age out of all ethnic groups (at 82.2% and 80.4% respectively), while the Mixed White and Black African group had the lowest percentage (at 48.9% and 51.9% respectively)
  • 71.6% of people from Black backgrounds in Wales were of working age, compared with 66.5% in England
  • similarly, 57.1% of people with Mixed ethnicity in Wales were of working age, compared with 52.0% in England

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The Census is carried out every 10 years. The last one took place in March 2011.

Census data gives the government the information it needs to plan and run public services. It is also used as a benchmark for other statistical estimates, and it can help illustrate differences between various groups in the population.

8. Download the data

Working age population of England and Wales - Spreadsheet (csv) 26 KB

This file contains: Measure, Ethnicity, Geography, Age Group, Sex, Value, Count, Year, Source