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Percentage of Working-Age Males in Class 1 & 2 in 2001 for District/Unitary Authority

Percentage of Working-Age Males in Class 1 & 2 in 2001 for District/Unitary Authority

Class 1 covers 'Professionals' while class 2 covers, broadly, 'Managers' so this can be seen as a measure of the 'middle class'. Because 'working class' occupations are generally defined as manual work, as more and more people worked in the services sector and in offices the proportion counted as 'middle class' rose steadily, from 14% in 1841 to 47% in 2001.

In 1841 and 1881, the most obvious pattern was that remoter rural areas were strongly middle class, but this was almost entirely because farmers were all placed in class 2; in these areas, there were relatively few farm labourers. The lack of geographical detail in the original 1841 occupational statistics mean we cannot look at detailed patterns within most counties, but Surrey was already identifiable as a high status area. Industrial communities like Stoke on Trent, Oldham both 8%) and Blaenau Gwent (6%) had the lowest proportions of middle class. The highest proportion of all was the City of London, with 24%. Our more geographically detailed figures for 1881 show that, once sparsely-populated farming areas are excluded, the middle class was strikingly concentrated within London: with the exception of Tower Hamlets (15%), all inner London districts contained at least 23% in classes 1 and 2, even Southwark (23%), Islington (26%) and Hackney (27%).

Right up to 1971 remote rural areas visually dominate the map, but a clearer north-south divide was starting to emerge by 1931: the districts with low proportions of the middle class were almost all in the north and South Wales, while most districts in the south east has relatively high proportions. The exceptions were in London, where the middle class had abandoned districts like Southwark (8%) and Islington (9%) for suburban areas like Harrow (24%) and Barnet (28%).

From 1971 onwards, the areas with the highest proportion of middle class workers became more and more concentrated into the south east, so that by 2001 only two other districts made it into the top forty, Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire and East Renfrewshire in Scotland. Within the south east, inner London had generally low proportions, but from 1951 a steadily larger part of western central London was also in the highest band: initially just Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, by 2001 this included all central districts apart from Southwark, Town Hamlets and Hackney.

Rate definition

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The "Statistical atlas" lets you view our British statistical data rates by theme in their entirety as maps for both modern local authorities and historical units.

Please note that although there are some statistics within the system relating to places outside Great Britain, particularly Ireland, the majority of our statistics are British and this is reflected in the presentation of data within the Statistical atlas.

How it works

The Statistical atlas presents national views of rates. This differs from the specific numeric data for individual administrative units presented in the "Units & Statistics" part of the place pages accessed via typing in a place-name on the homepage.

Select a theme by clicking on a theme title. You must then decide whether you wish to view data for modern local authorities or historical units. At the top of the theme page are the links to rate maps for modern units. Select one to enter the atlas. Alternatively, at the bottom of the theme page are links to maps of rates only available in their historical units.

After selecting a rate we are presented with the map page showing the selected rate. On the left hand side is the map legend and some generic subject information about the theme. Below the text is a link to the "Rate definition" which takes you out of the statistical atlas and into the description of the nCube for that theme within the data documentation system.

Beneath this are various "Options" for altering the mapped rate. With the exception of the "Political Life" theme, drop down menus exist to change the mapped rate or to select an alternative unit type. All themes have the option to select alternative dates. Selecting a different date will change the map to display re-districted data i.e. statistics which are estimates for the same (modern) geographical area going back over time. More information on how this was achieved is available here.

The map window on the right can be zoomed and panned. Using the drop down menu at the top left of the map window you can select and add a "base layer" map image beneath the transparent statistical map to help you understand the geography of the rates. The window itself can be expanded to see a bigger map using the "Bigger map" option at the top right of the map window. If this function is enabled, the information given on the left will automatically move to below the map.

About the data

The statistics come from national overviews, including Censuses, Surveys and other collated tables. You should be aware that the same information was not always collected, the questions change over time to suit contemporary conditions. For example, in the 2011 Census English households were asked about their car ownership, but this would have been of little relevance in 1921 when very few people owned their own vehicle. Conversely, the 1951 question about whether your household had shared access or no access to piped water has disappeared because it is now assumed that all, or virtually all, households will have exclusive use of a piped hot water supply. This is why not all themes have data in all years, the dates available vary according to the questions asked.

We should also point out that we have not digitised all possible historical statistics. Although we have gone a significant way to capturing and integrating suitable tables useful for our themes, this is a labour intensive and time-consuming process. We have tried to focus on particular tables to produce runs of data and in this sense the "Population" theme is the fullest. We continue to work on improving the data, both in its consistency and its accuracy as well as its extent.