Last updated 23 January 2020 - see all updates
- 1. Navigate to Main facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toBy ethnicity section
- 3. Navigate toBy ethnicity (White and Other than White) section
- 4. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time section
- 5. Navigate toBy ethnicity and gender section
- 6. Navigate toBy ethnicity and age section
- 7. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only) section
- 8. Navigate toBy ethnicity and area section
- 9. Navigate toBy ethnicity, disability and gender section
- 10. Navigate to Methodology section
- 11. Navigate to Data sources section
- 12. Navigate to Download the data section
1. Main facts and figures
- 22% of working age people (people aged 16 to 64) in England, Wales and Scotland were economically inactive in 2018, which means they were out of work and not looking for a job
- 20% of White people were economically inactive in 2018, compared with 30% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
- the highest economic inactivity rate was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, at 38%
- the lowest economic inactivity rate was in the Other White ethnic group, at 15%
- in every region, White people had a lower economic inactivity rate than the combined rate for all other ethnic groups
- in every ethnic group, women were more likely than men to be economically inactive
- the biggest gap between men and women was in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, where 56% of women and 21% of men were economically inactive (a gap of 35 percentage points)
The ethnic categories used in this data
Data is shown for the following ethnic groups:
- Pakistani and Bangladeshi
- Asian Other (including Chinese)
- White British
- White Other
Data broken down by local authority is shown in the download files. For this data, the number of people surveyed was too small to draw any firm conclusions about specific ethnic categories, so the data is broken down into the following 2 categories:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other than White – all other ethnic minorities
People whose ethnicity is not known are included in the figures for ‘All’.
2. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||%||Number of people economically inactive|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity Summary
3. By ethnicity (White and Other than White)
|Ethnicity||%||Number of people economically inactive|
|Other than White||30||1,763,200|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity (White and Other than White) Summary
4. By ethnicity over time
|Pakistani, Bangladeshi||49||49||48||48||46||44||44||not collected||42||41||40||40||39||39||38|
|Asian Other||36||36||34||33||31||32||36||not collected||34||36||33||32||34||32||32|
|White British||22||22||22||22||22||22||23||not collected||22||22||22||21||21||21||21|
|White Other||25||23||21||21||21||21||21||not collected||20||19||19||17||17||16||15|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity over time Summary
5. By ethnicity and gender
|Ethnicity||All %||All Number of people economically inactive||Men %||Men Number of people economically inactive||Women %||Women Number of people economically inactive|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity and gender Summary
6. By ethnicity and age
|Ethnicity||All %||All Number of people economically inactive||16-24 %||16-24 Number of people economically inactive||25-49 %||25-49 Number of people economically inactive||50-64 %||50-64 Number of people economically inactive|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity and age Summary
7. By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only)
|Pakistani, Bangladeshi||56||55||52||56||52||54||56||not collected||56||52||55||53||56||58||53|
|Asian Other||57||60||60||62||59||65||70||not collected||68||69||69||67||68||65||65|
|White British||29||29||30||31||31||32||34||not collected||34||34||35||34||35||34||35|
|White Other||36||30||27||31||30||35||37||not collected||44||42||41||36||36||40||40|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only) Summary
8. By ethnicity and area
|All||White||Other than White|
|Region||All %||All Number of people economically inactive||White %||White Number of people economically inactive||Other than White %||Other than White Number of people economically inactive|
|East of England||19||720,400||19||634,900||22||85,400|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||23||773,800||21||633,000||36||139,400|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity and area Summary
9. By ethnicity, disability and gender
|Ethnicity||All All (%)||All Disabled (%)||All Non-disabled (%)||Men All (%)||Men Disabled (%)||Men Non-disabled (%)||Women All (%)||Women Disabled (%)||Women Non-disabled (%)|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity, disability and gender Summary
The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone.
The sample is formed from:
- waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months)
- boost cases that are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart
Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail postcode address file. The NHS communal accommodation list is also used and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed.
People are included in the dataset for this analysis if they respond themselves or if a family member responds on their behalf. The complex survey design has been taken into account when calculating confidence intervals.
The sample of approximately 275,000 people undergoes weighting at local authority level, using age and sex dimensions.
Weighting adjusts the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and make them more reliable.
For example, a survey of 25 women and 75 men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which is around 50% male and 50% female.
The weighting for this data is based on Office for National Statistics population statistics.
Download the data for confidence intervals for each ethnic group.
The data from the APS is based on a sample of the population in England, Wales and Scotland, rather than the whole population. The estimates obtained from this sample are reliable estimates but it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage for the whole population.
For example, it is estimated that 20.1% of White people of working age were economically inactive in 2018. It’s 95% certain that somewhere between 19.8% (lower confidence interval) and 20.4% (upper confidence interval) of White 16 to 64 year olds were economically inactive in 2018. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if 100 random samples were taken, then 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the lower and upper bounds of the confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.
The smaller the survey sample, the more uncertain the estimate and the wider the confidence interval. For example, the sample has less data for individuals from the Black ethnic group than from the White ethnic group, so we can be less certain about the estimate for the smaller group. This greater uncertainty is expressed by a wider confidence interval, of between 24.5% and 28.7% for the Black ethnic group compared to 19.8% and 20.4% for the White ethnic group in 2018.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
In data covering all ethnic groups together, estimates based on sample sizes of less than 30 have been suppressed. For data broken down by ethnic groups, estimates based on sample sizes under 100 have been suppressed.
‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.
Estimates in the charts and tables are rounded to whole percentages. Estimates in the download file are rounded to 1 decimal place.
11. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Office for National Statistics
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 government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between Censuses.
12. Download the data
This file contains the following: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Region, Age, Age_type, Sex, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size
This file contains the following: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_type, Local_authority, Age, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size
This file contains the following: Measure, Measure_type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Time, Time_Type, Region, Age, Age_Type, Sex, Disability, Value, Confidence_Interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_Size.