Even the first census of 1801 divided the population into those 'chiefly
employed in agriculture', those 'chiefly employed in trade, manufacturers
or handicraft', and others. From 1841 onwards, information was gathered on
each person's occupation and this formed the basis for very detailed tables.
The 1841 occupational tables, used here, listed over 3,000 different occupational titles.
This was partly because no advance plans had been made for dealing with the enormous
range of job titles people gave, but by 1881 the more organised classification used
in the county level tables covered 414 categories.
Unfortunately, because of the need to reorganise these statistics into different areas,
for 1971 to 1991 we must work with data for over 10,000 wards, and only a very simple
industrial classification is available for these.
We therefore present long-run industrial change using just six broad sectors.
In general, early census reports applied just one classification to occupations, which led to three separate issues getting mixed up: social status, what the individual worker did, and what their employer's business was. Modern censuses have separate tables for each of these. NB our 1841 data are geographically crude, which results in some districts in the same county having identical figures.
Our detailed statistics are held in structures called nCubes, which you can think of as tables with one dimension, or with two ... or with twenty. Their dimensions are defined by the variables each nCube combines, and each variable is made up of categories. These nCubes are available at national level for this theme:
|Available nCubes||Period covered||Variables
(number of categories)
|Males aged 20 & over, in 9 occupational categories||1831||
1831 Occupational Categories
|Males aged 20 & over, in four industrial categories||1831||
1831 Occupational Categories (simplified)
|Occupation data classified into the 24 1881 'Orders', plus sex||1881||
1881 Occupational Orders (25)