The Office for National Statistics (ONS) began releasing Census 2021 data in June 2022. It has since released data on a number of topics including housing and how people travel to work. This note provides analysis on home ownership, accommodation type, occupancy, car availability and method of travel to work. This includes a look at any changes between the 2011 and 2021 Censuses.  Pegasus Group will be providing analysis of data on other Census topics as and when it becomes available during 2023.


Figure 1. Household Tenure

Tenure varied across regions in 2022. Home ownership was lowest in London at 46.8%, whilst it was highest in the South East at 67.1%. As a result, social renting (23.1%) and private rented/lives rent free (30.1%) were highest in London.

The 2021 Census data show a decrease in home ownership in England and Wales from 64.3% in 2011, to 62.5% in 2021. The proportion of households that rented their accommodation increased from 34.3% in 2011 to 37.3% in 2021.

The local authorities with the highest level of ownership were Rochford (80.6%) and Castle Point (80.1%) – both in the East of England, and Fareham (78.5%) in the South East. The three local authorities with the lowest level of ownership are all in London, Tower Hamlets (23.1%), Hackney (24.6%) and Islington (26.7%).

Source: 2021 Census

Accommodation Type

Figure 2. Households by Accommodation Type

The proportion of households living in each type of accommodation remained broadly similar between 2011 and 2021.

In all regions outside of London, most households (between 77% and 88%) live in a detached, semi-detached or terraced property. The highest proportion of households living in a house or bungalow is in the East Midlands at 88.1%.

By contrast more than half of all households in London (54%) live in flats, maisonettes or apartments, whilst only 45.9% live in a detached, semi-detached or terraced property. The local authority with the highest proportion of households living in flats is the City of London (87%), whilst the local authority with the highest proportion of households living in detached housing is North Kesteven (54%) in the East Midlands.

Source: 2021 Census

Household Occupancy

Figure 3. Occupancy Rating for Households

The occupancy rating provides a measure of how overcrowded or under-occupied a household’s accommodation is. An occupancy rating of +1 or more means the household has more bedrooms than required, 0 means the accommodation meets the household’s requirements, and -1 or less means
a household has fewer bedrooms than required.

In all regions across England and Wales, other than London, at least 69.2% of households have more bedrooms than required. The highest proportion of households with bedrooms surplus to requirements is in the North East (75.4%). In London less than half of all households have at least one spare bedroom (48.9%), whilst 40% of households have an occupancy rating of 0 and 11.1% of households are overcrowded.

Source: 2021 Census

Car Availability

Figure 4. Households by Car Availability

Data for car or availability for regions across England show that in most areas a large proportion (40%-43%) of households have 1 car or van in the household.

The percentage of households with no cars or vans decreased across England and Wales (25.6% in 2011 to 23.3% in 2021) and across all regions other than London.

London has the highest percentage of households with no cars or vans (42.1%) and this has increased by 0.5 percentage points since 2011. The South East is the region where the highest proportion of households have 3 or more cars (11.8%).

Source: 2021 Census

Method Used to Travel to Work

Figure 5. How People Travel to Work

The most significant change in the method people use to travel to work between 2011 and 2021 was the substantial rise in the proportion of people working from home. This change largely reflects the Covid-19 pandemic which has significantly impacted on working patterns. In 2011, 5.4% of people across England and Wales were working mainly at or from home and by 2021 this figure had risen to 31.1%. The region with the highest proportion of workers who work mainly at or from home was London with 42.1%, which could explain why the number of households with no cars or vans increased in the area between 2011 and 2021.

There has also been a decline in the proportion of people using public transport or taxis to travel to work. Across England and Wales, 16.9% of workers used public transport or
a taxi in 2011 and by 2021 this figure had fallen to 8.6%. This was a common theme across all regions. In 2021 London saw the largest proportion of workers use public transport or taxi at 24.6%, however this figure was 50.4% in 2011.

Source: 2021 Census


The Census 2021 data provide a wide range of useful and interesting information. Perhaps most importantly it highlights the significant impact the Covid-19 pandemic may have had on working patterns, transport and living arrangements. Home ownership across England and Wales has declined in the last decade, highlighting the difficulty found by many people in getting a foot on the property ladder. This raises the question of whether enough homes are being built, especially at a time where a larger proportion of the workforce is working from home and will therefore require more space.

Another key theme of the Census 2021 data analysed in this note is how different life is for those living in London. London residents are less likely to own their home, more likely to live in a flat, and more likely to over occupy their home. They are also less likely to own a car, and instead are more likely to use public transport or work from home.

For more information please contact:

Richard Cook

Richard Cook

Senior Director – Economics

Main Expertise: Health Impact Assessment, Socio-Economic ES chapter, Examination Input, Local Plan Consultation, Older Persons’ Accommodation Need Assessment

Cameron Davis

Cameron Davis

Economic Analyst

Main Expertise: Older Persons’ Accommodation Need Assessment, Economic Benefit Statement, Health Impact Assessment, Infographics