Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
in 2021, 13.3% of workers in the UK were self-employed
16.2% of workers in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were self-employed, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
9.8% of Black workers were self-employed, the lowest percentage
between 2011 and 2021 the percentage of workers who were self-employed decreased for nearly all ethnic groups
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data shows the percentage of working people aged 16 or over in the UK who are self-employed, by ethnicity.
A person is self-employed if they run their business for themselves, either as a sole trader or director of their own company.
Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number, so some totals may not add up to 100%.
Not included in the data
Data based on fewer than 3 responses are not shown. This is to protect people’s confidentiality, and because the numbers involved are too small to make reliable generalisations.
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.
Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.
Data is shown separately for White British people and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group). Separate figures are also shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi combined, and Asian Other which includes the Chinese ethnic group.
Read the detailed methodology document for the data used on this page.
The data for this analysis comes from the Annual Population Survey.
Find out more about:
interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed
how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the whole group being studied
In the data file
See download the data for:
- data from 2011
- confidence intervals – read more about how we use confidence intervals to determine the reliability of survey data
3. By ethnicity over time
|% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers||% of workers|
|Other Asian (inc. Chinese)||12.2||12.8||13.2||13.8||14.0||15.1||15.2||13.9||14.6||14.1||13.2|
|Other ethnic group||18.1||17.7||17.1||20.2||16.2||18.2||17.2||19.0||20.1||12.6||15.6|
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
Note on corrections or updates
Higher-level figures may differ from those published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics that use the Labour Force Survey.
Purpose of data source
The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:
- personal characteristics
- labour market status
- work characteristics
The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.
The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following variables: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Value, Value_Type, Denominator, Numerator, CI