Worklessness by country of birth

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 12 October 2017

Worklessness by country of birth

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What does this chart show?

This graph shows the proportion of working-age men and women who are workless (unemployed or economically inactive) by their country of birth. The countries shown are the ones with the largest populations in London. In all countries of birth apart from Ireland, including the UK, female workless rates are higher than for males. The differences between genders are explained by levels of economic inactivity rather than unemployment, which suggests that caring responsibilities are a reason for this disparity. There is, however, a large difference between countries. The female workless rate among those born in Afghanistan is 62 percentage points higher than for men, while it is 3 percentage points higher for those born in Jamaica, Germany and Italy. For those born in Ireland the female workless rate is lower than the male worklessness rate by 5 percentage points.

Male worklessness is below 30% for all countries of birth other than Somalia, where it is 37%. The lowest male worklessness rate is for those born in Romania at 4%. There is a greater range within female worklessness with the rate ranging from 18% for women born in Lithuania and 85% for women born in Afghanistan. Although these are the countries with the largest populations in London, each country, including those with high rates of worklessness, only accounts for a small share of total London worklessness. Those born in Afghanistan, both women and men, make up 1% of those who are workless. People born in the UK make up 52% of the worklessness in London.

An important factor to consider is the entry route to the UK that people born in these countries take. If it is through an established labour market route such as a non-EU citizen coming in through a working visa, then lower levels of worklessness would be expected compared, for example, with many Somalis coming through the asylum-seeking process. Another contributing factor to these inter-country differences is that London universities have some of the highest international student recruitment numbers, and some countries may be over-represented. Students are more likely to be economically inactive than working.