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Census 2021: Household Characteristics

Household Characteristics from the 2021 Census

Headlines

  • The number of households in Surrey increased by 5.7 per cent between the 2011 and 2021 Censuses.
  • Reigate & Banstead and Surrey Heath were the only Surrey districts or boroughs with higher growth in the number of households than the South East average.
  • Average household size in Surrey continued to slowly grow but remained between 2 and 3 persons per household (2.5 residents per household).
  • Over a quarter (27.1%) of Surrey households contained residents who lived alone.
  • Just under a third of Surrey households contained at least one dependent child (149,664 households).
  • The proportion of single parent households out of all households (including those without children) increased within nearly every district and borough in Surrey.

The raw data from this Census release has been processed by the Population Insight Team and is also available on Surrey-i.

Contents

Household size

People living alone

Household composition

Dependent children

Household size

On Census Day (21st March 2021), there were 481,818 households with at least one usual resident in Surrey. The number of households increased by 26,027 between the 2011 and 2021 Censuses, representing a 5.7 per cent growth (compared to the 5.2% growth between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses).

Surrey had smaller increases in the number of households between 2011 and 2021 (5.7%) than the South East (7.1%) and England (6.1%). The percentage change in the number of Surrey households between 2011 and 2021 was, however, slightly larger than the 2001 to 2011 change which was at 5.2 per cent.

The number of households by local authority in 2011 and 2021

2021 Census Count 2011 Census Count Change from 2011 to 2021 % change from 2011 to 2021 % change from 2001 to 2011
Surrey          481,818          455,791 +26,027 +5.7% +5.2%
Elmbridge            55,590            52,922 +2,668 +5.0% +4.5%
Epsom & Ewell            31,321            29,784 +1,537 +5.2% +8.9%
Guildford            55,760            53,973 +1,787 +3.3% +3.1%
Mole Valley            37,139            35,828 +1,311 +3.7% +6.6%
Reigate & Banstead            59,849            55,423 +4,426 +8.0% +7.2%
Runnymede            34,838            32,714 +2,124 +6.5% +3.3%
Spelthorne            41,805            39,512 +2,293 +5.8% +2.9%
Surrey Heath            36,008            33,546 +2,462 +7.3% +5.8%
Tandridge            35,623            33,342 +2,281 +6.8% +5.4%
Waverley            52,448            49,280 +3,168 +6.4% +4.5%
Woking            41,437            39,467 +1,970 +5.0% +6.8%
South East      3,807,966       3,555,463 +252,503 +7.1% +8.2%
England   23,436,085   22,063,368 +1,372,717 +6.2% +7.9%

The number of households grew between 2011 and 2021 in all of the districts and boroughs in Surrey. Reigate and Banstead had the largest growth in the number of households at 8.0 per cent and Surrey Heath had the second largest growth at 7.3 per cent, which were both greater than the South East average of 7.1 per cent. Reigate and Banstead, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Runnymede, and Waverley all had higher increases in the total number of households than the England average (6.2%). The areas with the smallest growth in total households in Surrey were Guildford at 3.3 per cent and Mole Valley at 3.7 per cent.

Percentage change in the number of households from 2011 to 2021

A bar chart showing the percentage change in the number of households from the 2011 Census to the 2021 Census, where growth occurred in every district and borough in Surrey.

There were 1,175,180 usual residents (97.7%) who lived in Surrey households and 27,928 who lived in Surrey communal establishments (2.3%). The number of residents in Surrey communal establishments increased by 1,338 since the 2011 Census where 2.4 per cent of all Surrey residents lived in communal establishments.

Around a third (33.5%) of Surrey’s households contained 2 people, and over a quarter (27.1%) had one person living alone. The largest households were more prevalent in England as 2.6 per cent of households contained 6 or more people compared to 1.7 per cent of Surrey households. The borough with the highest proportion of households with 6 or more people was Woking (2.6%). Although the largest households of six or more residents were less common in Surrey, the county as a whole had more households (22.5%) containing three to five residents than the South East (20.6%) and England (19.9%) averages.

Household size in 2021 by local authority

1 person 2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 or more people
Surrey 27.1% 33.5% 16.9% 16.1% 4.7% 1.7%
Elmbridge 26.9% 31.6% 17.1% 18.1% 4.9% 1.3%
Epsom and Ewell 24.3% 31.8% 18.2% 18.5% 5.2% 2.0%
Guildford 26.6% 34.8% 16.7% 15.6% 4.7% 1.7%
Mole Valley 29.8% 35.4% 15.3% 14.0% 4.1% 1.4%
Reigate and Banstead 26.4% 32.7% 17.7% 16.6% 4.8% 1.7%
Runnymede 28.5% 32.9% 16.8% 14.9% 4.8% 2.0%
Spelthorne 27.9% 31.9% 17.9% 15.6% 4.7% 2.0%
Surrey Heath 25.2% 34.8% 17.1% 16.4% 4.6% 1.8%
Tandridge 27.2% 34.1% 16.9% 15.6% 4.5% 1.6%
Waverley 27.9% 35.5% 15.4% 15.5% 4.4% 1.2%
Woking 26.8% 32.6% 16.9% 16.1% 5.0% 2.6%
South East 28.4% 34.8% 16.2% 14.1% 4.5% 1.2%
England 30.1% 34.0% 16.0% 12.9% 4.5% 2.6%

Average household size is calculated by dividing the overall number of usual residents in Surrey households by the number of households in Surrey. In 2021, the average number of residents per household was 2.50 persons in Surrey which was greater than the 2011 figure of 2.43 persons. The average household size also increased in Surrey between the previous two Censuses (from 2.38 in 2001), pointing to a long-term trend of growing household size in the county.

Within Surrey, the largest households were in Epsom and Ewell (2.58 persons per household) and the smallest were in Mole Valley (2.35 persons per household) in 2021.

The average household size by local authority

2001 Census 2011 Census 2021 Census
Surrey 2.38 2.43 2.50
Elmbridge 2.38 2.45 2.50
Epsom & Ewell 2.41 2.49 2.58
Guildford 2.37 2.43 2.58
Mole Valley 2.35 2.34 2.35
Reigate & Banstead 2.38 2.42 2.52
Runnymede 2.34 2.36 2.53
Spelthorne 2.34 2.40 2.46
Surrey Heath 2.48 2.52 2.51
Tandridge 2.44 2.43 2.47
Waverley 2.36 2.38 2.44
Woking 2.41 2.49 2.51
South East 2.38 2.38 2.44
England 2.36 2.36 2.41

People living alone

In 2021, over a quarter (27.1%) of Surrey households were made up of residents who live alone. This group consisted of 130,426 residents in one person households. Of all households, 13.1 per cent were one person households with the resident being aged 66 and over (12.6% in 2011).

The proportion of residents who live alone in 2021 was similar to that of the 2011 Census (27.3%), however, this had fallen from the 2001 proportion of 28.3 per cent.

The proportion of one person households in Surrey was lower than the regional (28.4% for the South East) and national (30.1% for England) averages in 2021.

The proportion of households living alone in Surrey, at all ages and over 65s

All ages: 2011 Census All ages: 2021 Census All ages: % change 2011 to 2021 All ages: % change 2001 to 2011 Over 65s: 2011 Census Over 65s: 2021 Census Over 65s: % change 2011 to 2021 Over 65s: % change 2001 to 2011
Surrey 27.3% 27.1% -0.8% -3.5% 14.3% 13.1% -8.7% -11.9%
Elmbridge 27.5% 26.9% -2.1% -5.2% 15.1% 13.1% -13.0% -15.9%
Epsom and Ewell 26.0% 24.3% -6.4% -3.3% 14.9% 12.6% -15.2% -15.4%
Guildford 26.7% 26.6% -0.3% -8.2% 13.7% 12.1% -11.4% -16.8%
Mole Valley 29.2% 29.8% 1.9% +1.0% 16.0% 15.7% -1.8% -8.1%
Reigate and Banstead 27.4% 26.4% -3.7% -5.8% 14.4% 12.3% -14.8% -16.0%
Runnymede 30.1% 28.5% -5.2% +1.7% 14.8% 12.8% -13.5% -10.1%
Spelthorne 28.5% 27.9% -2.1% -3.4% 14.1% 12.8% -9.0% -9.9%
Surrey Heath 23.5% 25.2% 7.1% -0.8% 10.9% 12.2% 12.3% 0.0%
Tandridge 26.7% 27.2% 2.0% -1.1% 14.7% 14.0% -4.5% -10.9%
Waverley 27.8% 27.9% 0.4% -1.4% 15.3% 14.5% -5.4% -7.2%
Woking 26.6% 26.8% 0.9% -6.0% 12.9% 11.7% -9.3% -11.6%
South East 28.8% 28.4% -1.4% +1.1% 14.4% 13.2% -8.1% -11.8%
England 30.2% 30.1% -0.4% +0.3% 14.4% 12.8% -11.1% -13.9%

Household composition

In Surrey, 66.7 per cent of households (321,202) included a single family, 27.1 per cent of households (130,426) included only one person, and 6.3 per cent of households (30,189) included multiple families living together and households where unrelated adults lived together.  

The Census classified a family as a group of people who were either: a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children (the children do not need to belong to both members of the couple); a lone parent with children; a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren were not present; or a single or couple grandparent with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren were not present. Therefore, a multiple family household could include a household with more than one family living together (e.g., grandparents, parents, and dependent children) or a household where unrelated adults lived together.

The distribution of households by household composition in Surrey

% One person households One Person households % Single family households Single family households % Multiple-family households Multiple-family households
Surrey 27.1% 130,426 66.7%    321,202 6.3% 30,189
Elmbridge 26.9% 14,972 68.1% 37,881 4.9% 2,740
Epsom and Ewell 24.3% 7,625 68.7% 21,523 6.9% 2,173
Guildford 26.6% 14,840 64.9% 36,202 8.5% 4,718
Mole Valley 29.8% 11,053 65.6% 24,368 4.6% 1,718
Reigate and Banstead 26.4% 15,797 67.8% 40,598 5.8% 3,450
Runnymede 28.5% 9,939 63.1% 21,981 8.4% 2,921
Spelthorne 27.9% 11,665 64.9% 27,130 7.2% 3,010
Surrey Heath 25.2% 9,067 68.7% 24,721 6.2% 2,221
Tandridge 27.2% 9,702 67.4% 24,026 5.3% 1,893
Waverley 27.9% 14,642 67.4% 35,360 4.7% 2,446
Woking 26.8% 11,124 66.2% 27,415 7.0% 2,898
South East 28.4% 1,081,739 65.0% 2,473,698 6.6% 252,530
England 30.1% 7,052,229 63.0% 14,762,923 6.9% 1,620,934

The most common type of single family household were those with a married or civil partnership couple and dependent children (95,361, 19.8% of all households). The second and third most common family type in Surrey were one person households, with 14 per cent of Surrey households only containing one person aged 65 or under and 13 per cent containing only one person over the age of 65.

The proportion of households in Surrey by detailed household composition

A bar chart of the distribution of detailed household types in Surrey.

Dependent children

There were 149,664 households with dependent children in Surrey in 2021. These children lived in households with one family (‘single family households’ represent 92.6%) or households with multiple families (‘multiple-family households’ represent 7.4%).

Around one in ten households with dependent children in Spelthorne (9.9%) and Woking (9.6%) were multiple-family households.

The Census classified a family as a group of people who were either: a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children (the children do not need to belong to both members of the couple); a lone parent with children; a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren were not present; a single or couple grandparent with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren were not present. Therefore, a multiple family household could include a household with more than one family living together (e.g., grandparents, parents, and dependent children) or a household where unrelated adults lived together. Within Surrey, the lowest proportions of households with dependent children which were multiple-family households were in Waverley (5.3%) and Elmbridge (5.8%).

Of all the households with dependent children, around three quarters of households (75.8%) were single family households with a couple (who were married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting) which was much higher than the England average of 65.8 per cent.

The distribution of family types within households with dependent children in Surrey

Single family households: Married or civil partnership couple Single family households: Cohabiting couple family Single family households: Lone parent family Multiple-family households Total households with dependent children
Surrey 63.7% 12.1% 16.8% 7.4% 149,664
Elmbridge 68.8% 9.9% 15.4% 5.8% 19,316
Epsom and Ewell 65.1% 11.3% 15.4% 8.2% 10,687
Guildford 65.8% 11.8% 15.9% 6.6% 15,957
Mole Valley 65.1% 12.4% 15.9% 6.7% 9,942
Reigate and Banstead 62.2% 13.1% 17.8% 7.0% 19,716
Runnymede 59.6% 13.4% 18.8% 8.2% 10,130
Spelthorne 56.3% 13.8% 20.0% 9.9% 12,999
Surrey Heath 63.4% 12.1% 16.2% 8.3% 11,177
Tandridge 58.3% 14.7% 19.6% 7.4% 10,925
Waverley 68.1% 11.1% 15.4% 5.3% 15,380
Woking 64.0% 10.5% 15.9% 9.6% 13,440
South East 56.0% 15.1% 20.5% 8.4% 1,106,526
England 50.6% 15.8% 24.2% 9.4% 6,675,819

The percentage of all households which include dependent children

A bar chart of the percentage of all Surrey households which include at least one dependent child.

Of all households, the proportion of single parent households (including those without children) increased within nearly every district and borough in Surrey. This contrasts with the national and South East trends of much smaller changes in the proportions of single parent households between 2011 and 2021.

In 2021, single parent households represented 5.2% of all Surrey households (compared to 4.7% in 2011 and 4.0% in 2001); the proportions of single parent households were highest in Spelthorne (6.2%) and lowest in Mole Valley (4.2%). Although such household arrangements have been increasing, they were less common in Surrey than across England as a whole (6.9%) in 2021, and only Tandridge and Spelthorne equalled or exceeded the South East position (6.0%).

The percentage of all households which were lone parent households with dependent children

2001 Census 2011 Census 2021 Census
Surrey 4.0% 4.7% 5.2%
Elmbridge 4.5% 4.7% 5.4%
Epsom & Ewell 4.6% 5.0% 5.3%
Guildford 3.6% 4.2% 4.5%
Mole Valley 3.4% 4.2% 4.2%
Reigate & Banstead 3.6% 5.1% 5.9%
Runnymede 4.1% 4.9% 5.5%
Spelthorne 4.7% 5.6% 6.2%
Surrey Heath 4.2% 4.2% 5.0%
Tandridge 3.3% 4.8% 6.0%
Waverley 3.7% 4.1% 4.5%
Woking 4.6% 4.6% 5.2%
South East 5.2% 6.1% 6.0%
England 6.4% 7.1% 6.9%