Economy, work and employment

Proximity of work to home

People who work close to home have more opportunities to interact with the local community.

How we measure it:

  • Workers who work over 30km from home.

Proportion of workers in the community that are travelling 30km or further from their home address to their work address.
(Census 2011, ONS)

Hours worked

Working long hours can be detrimental to work-life balance.

How we measure it:

  • Hours worked (>49)

Proportion of workers in the community working over 49 hours per week.
(Census 2011, ONS)

Household income

Higher household income suggests a more economically prosperous community.

How we measure it:

  • Household income

Average household income within the community.
(ONS Income Estimates)

Vacant commercial units

A high number of empty vacant commercial units suggests a struggling local economy.

How we measure it:

  • Proportion of vacant units 

Proportion of total commercial units in the community that are currently vacant.
(Valuation Office Agency).

Free school meals

A high number indicates a large number of low-income families.

How we measure it:

  • Free school meals rate

Proportion of children at schools within the community taking free school meals. Scotland has been calculated separately.
(Geolytix Education Pack)


High rates indicate a less prosperous economy.

How we measure it:

  • Proportion claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Proportion of adults within the community claiming JSA.

How we measure wellbeing

Our research identified nine areas that matter for community wellbeing. These areas are grouped into people, places and relationships.


  • Education and learning

    The availability of good, accessible, affordable services to help all ages make the most of education and learning opportunities.

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  • Health

    Access to good quality public, voluntary, and social care services that promote physical and mental health in the community.

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  • Economy, work and employment

    Services and infrastructure in place to promote a sustainable, ethical, inclusive economy that meets the needs of local people.

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  • Culture, heritage and leisure

    Access to affordable and inclusive cultural and leisure activities, services and amenities which celebrate the diverse histories of people in the community.

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  • Transport, mobility and connectivity

    Access to affordable and sustainable transport and communication networks for everyone, especially those with disabilities.

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  • Housing, space and environment

    Affordable, secure, quality housing, a safe and clean surrounding environment, and well-kept, accessible and inclusive public spaces for people of all ages.

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  • Relationships and trust

    The state of family, social and community relationships and the impact of any breakdown in trust on issues like crime.

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  • Equality

    Equal and fair opportunities for everyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, colour, age, ability, sexuality, gender, income etc. Services and infrastructure in place to promote equality, equity and fairness.

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  • Voice and participation

    Democratic governance and decision-making mechanisms in place to allow people to express themselves and take either individual or collective action to improve the local community and beyond.

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