Artwork shows an illustrated row of different people from the waist up


Information about the people and the area of York helps to provide an image of the information that is supported in our assessments.

People who live in York

The 2021 Census tells us that there are 202,800 people across 85,459 households in York. The population has grown by 2.4% since the 2011 census.

View the 2021 Census data on Nomis, provided by the Office of National Statistics.

There were 8,600 people aged under 5 years old and 5,500 people aged 85 or older.

There were 26,700 full time students in York at the last census. York has a high proportion of people aged 18 to 24 compared with the England average, because of our two universities. We think even more students are normally here, but some had gone home around the time of the census due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Proportionally, York has slightly fewer children than the England average.

The median age in York is 39 years, which is similar to the England median (40 years).


Of the 85,000 households in York, 31% were home to just one person, 61% were home to a couple or a family. The rest (7.6%) mainly a mixture of ‘HMO’, student houses, or care homes.

Place of birth

When asked about their birthplace, 89% say they were born in the UK, and another 5% were born in a European country. 93% of people in York are ‘white’, the next biggest group is Chinese or another Asian group. 97% of households have at least one adult who speaks English as a main language.


When asked about religion, 46% said they did not have a religion, and 44% said they were Christian. 7% chose not to answer this question, and the remaining 3% said they were part of other world religions.

Sexual Orientation

When asked about their sexual orientation, 87% said they were straight or heterosexual, 5% gave another sexual orientation, and 8% chose not to answer the question.

Gender Identity

When asked if their gender identity was the same as the sex registered at birth, 93% said it was the same, 6% chose not to answer the question, and 0.6% said their gender identity was different to the sex registered at birth.


When asked about their health in general, 49% of people said their health was ‘very good’ 35% said ‘good’ 12% said ‘fair’, 3% said ‘bad’ and 0.9% said ‘very bad’.

Healthy life expectancy is about how long a person lives before they get long term health conditions or disabilities. Both boys and girls born in York this year are expected to already be experiencing some degree of ill health by the time they reach their mid-60s.

Across the whole population, 17% of people they were ‘disabled under the equality act’, this includes 6% of people who said their day-to-day activities are limited a lot.


An unpaid carer is someone who supports another person, usually a family member, with things like looking after their home, medical appointments, or washing and getting dressed. In all, 8% of people said they provided this kind of unpaid care, including 2% of people who said they did this for more than 50 hours a week.

Life expectancy

Boys born in York this year can expect to have an average life expectancy of 80 years, which is two years longer than nationally. Girls born in York this year can expect to have an average life expectancy of nearly 84 years, which is almost two years longer than nationally.

In York, life expectancy can differ a lot between the most deprived and the least deprived wards. In 2020 and 2021, men living in York’s most deprived wards live for 8.2 fewer years than their counterparts in the least deprived wards. For women, this gap was 4.7 years.

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Built Environment

Health infrastructure

There are 37 NHS community pharmacies in York, five fewer than in 2020. The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment 2020-2025 provides more information on this. There are 37 GP surgery locations in York which belong to five separate Primary Care Networks (PCNs). In secondary care, York & Scarborough Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust serves the local community in providing acute, emergency and planned care in hospital. Emergency response is provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service. There are inpatient mental health services in York as well as mental health outpatient and community support delivered in various locations, and at a Hub in the city centre. Sexual health services are provided by one city-centre facility. St. Leonard’s Hospice provides palliative and end of life care to patients with life-limiting diseases and care can be accessed in the community or as an inpatient. Finally, a recovery hub for drug and alcohol rehabilitation is in operation in York.


The 2021 census tells us that under 30% of people in York live in rented accommodation either through a private or social landlord; this is lower than the England average (37.3%). Both the rental market and the cost of home ownership in York is more expensive than regional and national averages and has risen consistently over the last few years. This environment makes it difficult for people to save to buy a home and puts pressure on the housing market as a whole.

The higher cost of accommodation affects some groups of people in particular. People with low or insecure incomes may find it hard to afford rental housing; this puts them at higher risk of housing insecurity or using loans to afford their rent. Additionally, the majority of young people will no longer be entitled to a 'housing element' to support their housing costs under Universal Credit system.

Air quality

Clean air is a priority for York and is part of the local authority’s actions to address climate change. Over time this exposure to airborne pollutants can be harmful, particularly to young children, older people, and people with breathing conditions. York has three air quality zones where the levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter exceed the national air quality objectives. In York, this is largely caused by congestion and heavy traffic. There are strategies in place to reduce the levels of air pollution in each of these areas. View the York Air Quality Action Plan


Walking, cycling as well as public and community transport are all important solutions to enable people to lead a full and active life. York has six Park & Ride services to enable and encourage people not to bring their cars into the city centre. This reduces congestion, improves reliability of public transport and reduces pollution. The buses also often enable people to get closer to the centre of York than driving with the larger buses providing a bus lowering function as well as wheelchair access. York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe with restricted access resulting in a safer city centre area and improved air quality. There are many cycle routes to York with cycle racks on the outskirts of the city centre pedestrianised areas. There are also a range of opportunities to encourage people to cycle more often as well as improved functionality for buses like electronic timetables, bus apps and audio visuals on buses to improve passengers experience and confidence in travelling. For more information visit itravel York

Green spaces

Green spaces can support good physical and mental health through providing opportunities to socialise, exercise, reflect and relax. York and the surrounding area is fortunate to have a great number of gardens and green spaces. They vary in size and purpose; half are play spaces or fields, a third are spaces dedicated to sport; the remainder are allotments, parks, or cemeteries or religious spaces. Areas towards the centre of the city, as well as the urban west and urban east have substantially fewer open and green spaces in comparison to the more rural areas in the north of the city.

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Social Environment


Social connections are an important part of living well. In a resident’s survey, 75% of people felt they belong to their local area. However, 89% reported that they felt it was important to belong to the local area. Taken together this suggests that at least some people in York would value more community belonging. A smaller group of 64%, volunteers through giving unpaid help to a group, club, or organisation. Additionally, 81% of people felt that their local area was a good place for children and young people to grow up. Overall, 92% of people were satisfied with York as place to live.

Community activity York

Live Well York is an online directory of the community groups running in York. There are over 850 listings, including music groups, food groups, sports groups, and support groups. There are also over 100 volunteering opportunities listed on the site. There are at least a few groups operating in each ward, although the majority operate in the city centre area. Over half the groups are advertised as being for anyone. The remaining groups are established with specific population groups in mind, for example older people, younger people, people with disabilities, and people who are carers.


The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) measures relative deprivation in small areas, such as Wards. Areas are ranked from the most deprived (rank 1) to least deprived. The level of deprivation does not apply to every person living there (some individuals living in deprived areas may not be deprived, and vice versa). Measures of deprivation include themes such as income, employment, education, crime, health, and barriers to services and housing. The most recent IMD rankings are from 2019. Overall, York is the 51st least deprived district in England having risen 17 places since 2015. At ward level, there is greater variation with Copmanthorpe presently the least deprived ward, and Westfield the most deprived. It is useful to look at deprivation when measuring health outcomes as some health conditions such as cancer or cardiovascular disease can be more prevalent in more deprived areas, or people experience a poorer quality of health.

Fuel Poverty

As of 2022, the cost-of-living crisis has meant people are paying a lot more for essentials that contribute to good health and quality of life. The recent increases in energy prices have meant more people are struggling to heat their homes. Fuel poverty occurs when the cost of heating a home is above average and the household income would be below the poverty line after paying these heating costs. Single parents, unemployed people, people living in houses of multiple occupancy, in homes with poor insulation, or in homes without national grid connection are more at risk of fuel poverty. An excessively cold home can mean the internal temperature is low enough to be harmful to health.

Excessively cold homes are linked to low infant weight gain, hospital admissions, childhood asthma, low educational attainment, poor mental health in teenagers, low physical and mental wellbeing in adults, preventable cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions, and excess winter deaths in older adults. Ensuring people have warm homes represents an important opportunity to improve health and health equality of the residents of York.

Crime and public protection

York has a significantly lower level of both violent crime and victim-based crime than the national average; this has been a consistent trend in York for at least the last five years. Public perception of crime is as important for wellbeing as actual crime levels. For example, a feeling of safety makes people more willing to spend time in their local communities and make connections with others. In York, 77% of people report feeling that York is a safe city and relatively free of crime and violence. Despite this, a proportion of people felt that drug dealing, noisy neighbours, and hate crime were problems in their local area. Hate crime disproportionately affects LGBT people and people with BME backgrounds in York and North Yorkshire.

Healthy high street

In 2018, The Royal Society of Public Heath published an updated report looking at the 'health' of shop fronts on the high streets of 70 towns and cities in England. Some venues were considered to support health and wellbeing (pubs, greengrocers, libraries, GP surgeries, pharmacies, and sports centres). Other venues were judged to be harmful to health and wellbeing (pay day loan shops, bookmakers, fast food outlets, tanning salons, shops selling tobacco and vapes). In the report, York had the sixth healthiest high street in England. This suggests that York has a large proportion of shop fronts which are positive for health and wellbeing, and a small number of shop fronts which are harmful. Related to this, York has a better ratio of libraries to head of population that the England average. Despite the overall 'health' of the high street, York has a high number of fast-food outlets per head. These are concentrated in the more urban parts of York but can be easily accessed by all residents through mobile phone apps and online ordering.

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