Last updated 3 August 2021 - see all updates
- 1. Navigate toMain facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toThings you need to know section
- 3. Navigate toBy ethnicity section
- 4. Navigate toBy ethnicity (White and Other than White) section
- 5. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time section
- 6. Navigate toBy ethnicity and gender section
- 7. Navigate toBy ethnicity and age section
- 8. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only) section
- 9. Navigate toBy ethnicity and area section
- 10. Navigate toData sources section
- 11. Navigate toDownload the data section
1. Main facts and figures
This page will not be updated with 2020 data. This is because the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is reweighting the data we use for this page, to account for the effects of population changes and COVID-19 on labour market statistics.
- 21% of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) in England, Scotland and Wales were economically inactive in 2019, which means they were out of work and not looking for a job
- 20% of White people were economically inactive in 2019, compared with 29% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
- the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group had the highest rate of economic inactivity (39%)
- the White Other ethnic group had the lowest rate of economic inactivity (14%)
- in every region, White people had a lower rate of economic inactivity 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 57% of women and 21% of men were economically inactive
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the percentage of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) who were ‘economically inactive’.
A person of working age is economically inactive if they are:
- out of work
- not actively looking for work
- not waiting to start a job
- not in full-time education
- caring for their family
Percentages are rounded to whole numbers.
Not included in the data
The data does not include estimates based on fewer than:
- 30 survey respondents for data covering all ethnic groups together
- 100 survey respondents for data by ethnicity
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).
Data by ethnicity and area is shown for 2 ethnic groups (White, and Other than White).
People whose ethnicity is not known are included in the figures for ‘All’.
Read the detailed methodology document for this data.
The Annual Population Survey updated its ethnicity questions in 2011. As a result, estimates from before and after 2011 may not be consistent, and data for individual ethnic groups in 2011 is not available.
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
- 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:
- estimates by region, age group and sex over time for detailed ethnic groups
- estimates by local authority for White and Other than White groups
- confidence intervals for each ethnic group – read about how we use confidence intervals
- sample sizes
- estimates rounded to 1 decimal place
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||%||Number of people economically inactive|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity Summary
4. By ethnicity (White and Other than White)
|Ethnicity||%||Number of people economically inactive|
|Other than White||29||1,759,900|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity (White and Other than White) Summary
5. By ethnicity over time
|Pakistani, Bangladeshi||49||49||48||48||46||44||44||not collected||42||41||40||40||39||39||38||39|
|Asian Other||36||36||34||33||31||32||36||not collected||34||36||33||32||34||32||32||31|
|White British||22||22||22||22||22||22||23||not collected||22||22||22||21||21||21||21||20|
|White Other||25||23||21||21||21||21||21||not collected||20||19||19||17||17||16||15||14|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity over time Summary
6. 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
7. 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
8. 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||56|
|Asian Other||57||60||60||62||59||65||70||not collected||68||69||69||67||68||65||65||64|
|White British||29||29||30||31||31||32||34||not collected||34||34||35||34||35||34||35||35|
|White Other||36||30||27||31||30||35||37||not collected||44||42||41||36||36||40||40||35|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity over time (16 to 24 year olds only) Summary
9. 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||731,500||19||635,900||24||94,200|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||23||770,100||21||627,800||36||141,800|
Summary of Economic inactivity By ethnicity and area Summary
10. 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.
11. Download the data
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, Value, Confidence_interval, Numerator, Denominator, Sample_size