Countryside – Rural Britain Statistics

For our newsletter on 19th August, The Echo Chamber wrote about Rural Living in the UK. Here are the references we used from Defra.


Pupils who live in rural locations do better than those in urban locations – however, this trend is reversed when it comes to the location of the school. Rural schools achieve worse results when compared to urban schools.

Location of Pupils

Location of School

General Levels of Education in Rural UK

The population who live in rural areas are more likely to have a qualification compared to those living in large towns and cities.

Earnings and Business

You are more likely to be employed if you work outside towns and cities.

See the report here

You are more likely to work from home – especially if you live in a hamlet. (Data from 2013)

See the report here

However, your earnings will be less than those who work in towns and cities on average.

Data based on your workplace location

Data based on where you live

More in the report

But this drop in earnings is made up for by housing costs. If you live rurally you are more likely to have more disposable income.

Rural Health

You are likely to live longer if you live in sparsely populated areas compared to urban areas. The infant mortality rate has also historically been a lot lower.

Male Life Expectancy

Female Life Expectancy

Infant Mortality

Crime – Rural vs Urban

You are safer if you live in rural communities compared to cities. This is true of robberies, burglaries, violent crime and sexual assault.

See the report here


In some respects, we should take this analysis with a pinch of salt. When looking at averages, it’s difficult to see the discrepancies in inequality – the very poor and the very rich could balance out to create normal average.

Some evidence of this does come from housing affordability. For this section, DEFRA took statistics from the lowest quartile of earnings and the price of buying a house. Here there was an indication that there are greater inequalities in rural areas compared to urban areas because rural housing was deemed more unaffordable. When all the other statistics presented a picture of rural areas being better educated, more healthy and with households of greater wealth, these stats show that it is hard for those earning the least to find affordable housing.

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