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Rural areas benefit from home-working trends

Rural age average is 5.7 years higher than in urban areas

January 5th 2022

Tagged: Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Rural hamlets and dispersed areas have seen the highest increase in home working, the Statistical Digest of Rural England for December 2020 reveals.

The report shows that between 2006 and 2019 rural hamlets and dispersed areas saw levels of home working increase by 4.1 per cent – double the increase seen in urban areas. In total 32 per cent of people living in these areas are home workers, compared with 13 per cent in urban areas.

Much higher rates of home working are expected during 2020 due to COVID-19.

In 2020, 9.7 million (17.1 per cent) lived in rural areas, which represents a 600,000 increase in the rural population since 2011. However, this still represents a net migration to urban areas.

In 2020, the most prominent age groups in rural areas are 50 to 54 and 55 to 59 years, accounting for 7.7 per cent and 8 per cent of the rural population. The report also notes that just over a quarter of the rural population is aged 65 and over (25.4 per cent), compared with 17.1 per cent in the urban population in this age bracket. The average age in rural areas was 45.1 years in 2020, 5.7 years older than in urban areas – a gap that has widened by 2.3 years since 2002.

The average age in England increased by 1.6 year between 2002 and 2020, but in rural town and fringe areas this figure increased to 3.2 years, and in rural village and dispersed areas to four years.

Average life expectancy was highest in mainly rural areas – by two years compared to people born in urban/minor conurbation areas. The average life expectancy in 2016-18 was 79.6 years for men and 83.2 years for women in England.