CROYDON COMMENTARY: The latest release of data from the 2021 national census has given PETER UNDERWOOD, pictured right, much to consider
I have always been fascinated by the sort of data contained within the latest release from the 2021 census, and so immediately dived in for a look around. Here are just some of the figures that tell us who we actually are in Croydon. You may be surprised.
In some ways Croydon is quite typical of everywhere else in the country: 52per cent of Croydon residents are female and 48per cent male, with a few non-binary folks.
The overwhelming majority of people (nearly 92per cent) say they are the same gender that they were assigned at birth and less than 1per cent of Croydon people are different to the gender they were assigned at birth (that is, transgender). This was one of the voluntary questions in the census; the remaining 7per cent didn’t answer the question.
In terms of our ages, we also have quite an even spread across Croydon. Roughly 1 in 5 Croydon residents are aged 15 or under, and around 1 in 7 are 65 or older, although these both vary greatly across the borough. New Addington North has the largest percentage of residents 15 or under (29.5per cent) and central Croydon has the fewest (14.1per cent).
Shirley West has the highest proportion of residents 65 or older (26.7per cent) and again central Croydon has the fewest (4.9per cent). In fact, well over half of the population (56.4per cent) in central Croydon are aged between 25 and 44.
We all know that Croydon is a wonderfully multicultural borough and that is shown in the figures. The largest ethnic group in Croydon is people who identify as White (48.4per cent), followed by people who identify as Black (22.6per cent), Asian (17.5per cent) and 7.6per cent of people who identify as from mixed or multiple ethnic groups.
The census data allows you to break these larger groups into smaller ones showing even further the wide range of people that we have living in the borough. I was also interested to see that, aside from single-person households, nearly one-third of households have people from different ethnic groups living together.
In terms of who we might be in a relationship with, 87.8per cent of people aged over 16 said they were heterosexual and just over 3per cent said they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other. This question was also not compulsory and 9per cent of people chose not to answer it.
When it comes to what we believe, the largest group in Croydon are people who say they are Christian (48.9per cent) followed by 25.9per cent of people who said they had no religion, 10.4per cent who are Muslim, and 5.9per cent who are Hindu.
When it comes to where we live, roughly 60per cent of us live in a house or bungalow and 40per cent live in a flat or maisonette. Then 28.2per cent of us live on our own, while 24per cent of us own our home outright, 32per cent own with a mortgage and 44per cent pay rent – split roughly 60-40 between private and social landlords.
Roughly two-thirds of residents are “economically active” (that is either in work or looking for work) and of those people in work, it is a roughly 70-30 split between full-time and part-time working.
The timing of the census, offering a snapshot of the lives we lead, may be important here: March 21, 2021, almost exactly a year after the first lockdown because of the covid pandemic. On March 21, 2021, 37.4per cent of us who work said that our home is where we work. We may have to wait until 2031 to have a clear idea whether this is a result of covid or a longer-term situation.
Aside from the people who work from home, the most common method people use to travel to work is by car or van (29.6per cent), although it is interesting to note that more than one-third of Croydon residents (33.6per cent) live in a household that doesn’t have a car or van.
Each census is only a snapshot of data, and it does rely on the information that people chose to provide, but it is often the best picture we have of who we really are.
So, who is the typical resident of Croydon?
Personally, I love the fact that there isn’t one.
Whether you look at our gender, age, sexuality, race, home, or work, there is a wonderful variety of people who live in Croydon. There isn’t just one type of person who lives here and the only thing we all have in common is that Croydon is our home.
I hope that all of the people of Croydon celebrate that and work together to make our collective home the best it can be.
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