North Laine in the 2001 Census

How we compare with Brighton & Hove and the whole of England and Wales

By Jackie Fuller, North Laine resident

Although conducted some years ago now, looking at the 2001 Census can still tell us quite a lot about the profile of North Laine at that time and how it compared with Brighton and Hove (B&H) as a whole and even with the whole of England and Wales (E&W). Of course North Laine is part of the St Peter's and North Laine ward and so we can't separate out North Laine from the rest of the ward, but it is unlikely that there would have been major differences between different parts of the area.

The source I have used for the following is CityStats.

Total residents

In 2001 there were just over 13,800 people in our ward, divided equally between males and females. The total for the whole of B&H was about 247,820 people but in this case there was a slightly higher proportion of females (52%).

Age profile

This is particularly interesting, with our ward having a lower average age (35.4) compared both with all of B&H (38.8) and with the country as a whole (38.6). As you might guess, our age profile was concentrated in the 20-29 age bracket (30.5% of the total compared with only 17% for B&H and 12.6% for E&W) as well as in the 30-59 age bracket but much less both in the younger and the older age categories - for example in the 75+ category we had only 5.1% compared with 8.6% for B&H.

Marital status

Our ward had a very high proportion of residents who were single and had never been married - 64% compared with 43% for B&H and 30% for E&W. Conversely, we had a lower proportion of married or re-married people - only 19.9% compared with 36.5% for B&H and 50.9% for E&W. We also had far fewer widowed people - only 4.6% compared with about 8% for B&H and E&W.

Ethnic groups

In this category there were no major differences compared with the whole of B&H and E&W, except that slightly more of our non-white population categorised themselves as 'White Irish', 'Mixed' or 'Asian/Asian British'.


Only 42.7% of our residents described themselves as 'Christian' (compared with 59.1% for B&H and 71.8% for E&W as a whole). Conversely 42.4% stated that they had no religion, compared with 27% for the whole of B&H and 14.8% for E&W. Whereas 3% of people in England & Wales described themselves as Muslim, only 1.5% did so in B&H (including in our ward).


Our self-described health conditions did not vary much from those in B&H and E&W as a whole, except that we seem to be slightly healthier and less of us have a limiting long-term illness. Perhaps because of this less of us provided unpaid care to family members, friends or neighbours.

Economic activity

Most of our residents were in employment (60.5%) - about the same as for B&H and E&W as a whole - but we had slightly more than B&H and E&W who were unemployed or who were economically inactive students. Also less of us were fully engaged in looking after a home and family. Within our ward 16% of the unemployed were aged 50 or over, 6% had never worked and 35% were long-term unemployed.

Students and qualifications

Full-time students (taken from their term-time addresses) including schoolchildren comprised just under 14% of the total residents in our ward, compared with only 8% for B&H and for E&W. Furthermore, a much higher proportion of our residents were qualified to degree level or higher - 41.8% compared with only 28.7% for B&H and 19.8% for E&W.

Housing and households

In our ward 99% of our resident population lived in households; the remainder were in communal establishments. However, 46% of these households consisted of just one person, compared with 39% for B&H and 30% for E&W, but we had less pensioners living alone and less 'all pensioner' households. We also had less households containing dependent children and less lone parent households with dependent children. Interestingly, less of our households were owner occupied (only 49.9% compared with 61.7% for B&H and 68.9% for E&W); of the rest most were privately rented (39.4% compared to 23.7% for B&H and 11.9% for E&W), as opposed to Council rented or Housing Association. A surprising number of our households had no central heating (15% compared with 10.8% for B&H and only 8.5% for E&W). We have more households with no car or van (49.8%, compared with 36.5% for B&H and 26.8% for E&W) and very few with 2 or more cars or vans (only 9.5% compared with 19.6% for B&H and 29.4% for E&W). Our average household size is only 1.9, but even for E&W as a whole the average is now only 2.4.

So what does all this tell us?

Well, there are not many surprises, as most North Laine residents could probably have guessed most of the above just from simple observation. On the assumption that there have been no major changes since the 2001 Census was undertaken we emerge as an area of Brighton with equal numbers of men and women and with a lower average age than in B&H or in England &Wales as a whole.  We have a higher proportion of residents who are single (and have never been married) and less of our residents have a religion. Most of our residents are in employment but we still have more than average who are unemployed or who are students. Also a higher proportion of our residents are qualified to degree level or higher. Although most of our residents live in households, we have a higher than average number of these consisting of just one person, as well as fewer pensioner households or households with children. It is interesting that less of our households are owner occupied than in B&H or E&W and that of the rest most are privately rented. We also have a higher number of households with no central heating and no car or van.

In summary

So in summary we are mostly highly qualified single employed people in the younger to middle age bracket, living alone and with no professed religion. We also have a lot of students among us. As well as those living in owner occupied households, a lot of us are privately renting. The higher number who do not own a vehicle may be more about our location in the centre of town where parking is difficult but public transport good than a reflection of relative poverty, but what about the higher numbers with no central heating?

It would be interesting to speculate about whether there will be any major changes to the above profile when the next Census is conducted...

[Previously published in the 'North Laine Runner', No 187, July/August 2007]

This page was added on 08/08/2008.

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