Census 2011 – summary for Reading

Total population – Reading

The 2011 Census estimates the population of Reading at 155,700. This is a 9% increase on the 2001 census figure of 143,096 and a bigger change than between 1991 and 2001 when there was 7.1% increase in the Reading population.

Population by age

PopulationReading 2011Reading 2001Reading % change 2001 to 2011Reading % change 1991 to 2001
All ages155,700144,4008.87.1
0 – 1428,50025,10013.50.8
15 – 199,8009,0008.83.4
20 – 2929,70029,7000-3.6
30 – 5963,50057,30010.823
60 – 7415,50014,3008.3-7.7

There have been significant increases in the 0-19 age groups, particularly the 0-14s. The 30-59 age group whilst increasing shows a slower rate of change than that over the previous 10 years. The 60-74 age group has increased by 8% compared to a decrease of 8% in 2001. There has been a slight decrease in the 75+ age group.

In broad terms Reading has a higher proportion of its population in the 0-4, 20-39 year age bands than the England (and the South East) average and a lower than average proportion in the 10-14 and 45+ age bands.


The total number of households is estimated at 62,900, an 8% increase since 2001.


Reading’s population has increased in ethnic diversity, and continues to have the second highest proportion of non-white ethnic groups in the South East after Slough. 35% of the population is now from a Black or Minority Ethnic group, an increase of 16% since 2001.

There has been a shift in Reading’s diversity over the 10 year period. Within the ‘white’ classification, ‘other white’ has increased from 6.2% to 9.4%. The Pakistani community (4.5%) are the largest non-white group, followed closely by ‘Indian’ (4.2%). The percentage of all Black and Minority Ethnic groups in Reading is higher than the national average.

EthnicityReading 1991Reading 2001Reading 2011England 2011
White British90.5% (total white)80.6%65.3%79.8%
Other whiten/a6.2%9.4%5.7%
Other Asian0.7%0.8%3.9%2.3%
Black Caribbean2.6%2.2%2.1%1.8%
Black African0.6%1.6%3.9%1.1%
Black other0.8%0.4%0.7%0.5%
Other ethnic groups0.9%0.7%1%1%
Source: Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census KS06. SASPAC Version 6 2011 Table KS201EW

82.2% identify themselves as British wholly or partly compared with 91.6% nationally.

8.8% of households have no people in the household where English is a main language. This compares with 4.4% nationally.

14.8% (9,256) of households contain multiple ethnic groups compared to 8.9% nationally.

Country of birth

The changing nature of diversity in Reading is further described by the change in the top ten countries of birth of Reading residents (outside Great Britain).  Poland moves into the top three having been outside the rankings in 2001. Zimbabwe, Ghana, Hong Kong and Nigeria move into the top ten whilst Barbados, Kenya, France, Italy and USA move out, having been in the top ten in 2001.

CountryPlacing in 2001Number of people 2011% of Reading population 2011
Republic of Ireland117321.1%
South Africa68180.5%
Hong Kong7850.5%
Top ten countries of birth of Reading residents (outside of Great Britain)
Source: 2001 Census commissioned table CO413, 2011 Table QS203EW


Following Christian and ‘no religion’, the largest religious grouping in Reading in Muslim at 7.1%. This is a 3.1% increase on 2001. The proportion identifying as Christian has declined by 12% since 2011 with no religion increasing by 7.5%. Buddhism and Hinduism also show an increase since 2001.

ReligionReading 2001Reading 2011England 2011
Other religions0.4%0.5%0.4%
No religion22%29.5%24.7%
Religion not stated8.7%7.3%7.2%
Source: Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census KS07. SASPAC Version 6 2011 Table KS209EW

Health and care

HealthReading 2001Reading 2011England 2011
People with limiting long-term illness13.5%13%17.6%
Provision of unpaid care: % persons7.7%8%10.3%
People whose health is good72.5%85.5%81.4%
People whose health is fairly good21.1%10.8%13.1%
People whose health is not good6.5%3.7%5.4%
Source: Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census KS08. SASPAC Version 6, ONS 2012 Table KS301EW

Employment and qualifications


The percentage of the Reading population with no qualifications has decreased from 22.8% to 17.4% since the last census. This mirrors the national picture.

Reading residents achieving level 3 and level 4 qualifications has increased, with the most significant increase for those achieving level 4 and above, with a 6.5% increase from 2001 to 34.8%. This is above the level achieved for the South East (29.9%) and England (27.4%).

Percentage of people aged 16 to 74 achieving qualifications

Highest level of qualificationEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
No qualifications28.922.523.919.122.817.4
Level 1 qualifications16.613.317.113.51512.2
Level 2 qualifications19.415.221.215.917.412.3
Level 3 qualifications8.312.49.212.811.513.4
Level 4 qualifications and above19.927.421.729.928.334.8
Other qualifications6.
Source 2011 Census Table KS501EW, 2001 table KS13

Economic activity – unemployed

Unemployment for all ages has increased in Reading, this reflects the national picture. The most significant increase has occurred in the long term unemployed with an increase from 0.6% at 2001 census to 1.9%.

Percentage of people aged 16-74 unemployed by area 2001 & 2011

Unemployment age/categoryEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001
Never worked0.
Long term unemployed11.
Source: 2011 Census table KS601EW Economic activity. 2001 Census table KS09a
A person is defined as long-term unemployed at the time of the 2011 Census if they were unemployed and the year they last worked was 2009 or earlier.

Economically active

Part time employment has increased and full time employment decreased. The most significant increase has been for those who are economically active but unemployed from 2-5 to 4.6%. Those who are self employed have also increased.

Percentage of people aged 16-74 economically active by area 2001 & 2011

Economically active categoryEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
Employee – part-time11.813.712.213.810.211.9
Employee – full-time40.838.643.240.448.144.6
Full-time student2.
Source: 2001 Census table KS601EW Economic activity. 2001 Census table KS09a

Economically inactive

Percentage of people aged 16-74 economically inactive by area 2001 & 2011

Economically inactiveEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
Student (including full-time students)
Looking after home or family6.
Long-term sick or disabled5.344.42.932.8
Source: 2001 Census table KS601EW Economic activity. 2001 Census table KS09a

Hours worked

Nationally, regionally and locally, the number of those working part time has increased and the percentage of the population working full time has reduced.


Working part-time is defined as working 30 hours or less per week. This applies to the number of hours a person aged 16 to 74 in employment in the week before the census worked in their main job, and includes paid and unpaid overtime.

Hours workd, percentage or population aged 16-74 by area

Hours workedEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
Part-time: 15 hours or less8.
Part-time: 16 to 30 hours16.319.415.718.313.615.7
Full-time: 31 to 48 hours59.157.657.556.864.663
Full-time: 49 hours or more16.313.317.814.614.311.7
Source: 2011 Census KS601EW Hours worked, local authories. 2001 Census table KS10

Hours worked is the average number of hours worked a week for the last four weeks before the Census (29 April 2001).


Professional occupation types have shown the most significant increase since 2001, with 24.5% of the Reading population employed in this sector, well above the regional and England average of 18.7% and 17.5% respectively. The proportion og managers, directors and senior officials has reduced by 6% in Reading and by similar levels in the South East and nationally. Service occupations have increased and administrative occupations decreased. Other occupation types are reasonably static compared to 2001 census results.

Percentage of working population aged 16-74 by occupation type

Occupation typeEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
1. Managers, directors and senior officials1510.91712.3159
2. Professional occupations1117.51218.71624.5
3. Associate professional and technical occupations1412.81513.81513.5
4. Administrative and secretarial occupations1311.51411.51410
5. Skilled trades occupations129.31111.199
6. Caring, leisure and other service occupations78.479.358.5
7. Sales and customer service occupations87.277.999
8. Process, plant and machine operatives87.265.765.1
9. Elementary occupations1211.1109.71111.4
Source: 2011 Census KS608EW Occupation, local authorities. 2001 Census table KS12a Occupation groups


Percentage of working population aged 16-74 in employment by industry

IndustryEngland 2001England 2011South East 2001South East 2011Reading 2001Reading 2011
A Agriculture, forestry and fishing (fishing reported separately in 2001)
B Mining and quarrying0.
C Manufacturing14.88.812.17.294.9
D Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (2001 classification: people aged 16-74 in electricity, gas and water supply)
E Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (2001 classification: people aged 16-74 in electricity, gas and water supply)
F Construction6.
G Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles16.915.916.315.616.315.5
H Transport and storage (2001 classification: transport, storage and communication)
I Accommodation and food service activities (2001 Classification working in Hotels and catering)
J Information and communication4.15.511.1
K Financial and insurance activities4.
L Real estate activities (Working in Real estate; renting and business activities)13.21.515.61.421.21
M Professional, scientific and technical activities (Not included in 2001 classification)
N Administrative and support service activities (Not included in 2001 classification)
O Public administration and defence; compulsory social security5.75.95.964.74.7
P Education7.79.97.810.17.79.7
Q Human health and social work activities10.712.49.811.68.110.9
R, S, T, U Other5.
Source: 2001 Census KS605EW Industry. 2001 Census table KS11a Industry of Employment


Offices for National Statistics 2011 Census: Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales, published 11 December 2012

Notes: 2001 source tables presented in number format only