The regional occupational structure in interwar England and Wales

Robin Philips, Matteo Calabrese, Robert Keenan, Bas van Leeuwen

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


A lack of regional data on the occupational structure in England and Wales during the interwar years has so far prevented extensive study of this time period. In the current paper, we fill this gap by reconstructing the occupational structure at the district level, based on a recently-digitized register for 1939 and by linking this dataset with the population censuses of 1911 and 1921. The resulting data reveals significant regional differences in the expansion of the tertiary sector, and the relative decline of agricultural and industrial activities. For industry, we find the highest level of geographical concentration was in 1921, but had declined by 1939 due to increasing international competition in the textile and metal industries. In addition, primary activities increasingly dispersed across regions during the interwar period, whereas tertiary activities increasingly concentrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78
Number of pages97
JournalHistorical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • England
  • Wales
  • 1939 Register
  • regions
  • industry


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