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Living in Luton: Local Area Guide

Luton is a large English town 30 miles away from London. It belongs to the county of Bedfordshire and has a total population (including the Luton/Dunstable Urban Area) of around 258,000 people.

Luton is well known for a few things. In years gone by it was a major hat manufacturing town, hence the nickname 'the hatters' for its League Two professional football club. It has one of the country's largest airports, and has Europe's largest one-day carnival. It hosts the headquarters of Vauxhall Motors, and was a major car manufacturing town from the early 20th century all the way up to 2002.

Historically, the area has been inhabited by humans as long as there have been humans. There are ancient ruins on its outskirts, including a henge called Waulud's Bank which is around 5000 years old. It was the site of some Roman construction, but did not truly become an established town until centuries later under the Saxons and in the Middle Ages.

St Mary's Church still stands as a monument to its past - it was built in the early 12th century and has been very well maintained, and is well worth a visit.

From the early 17th century, the hat making industry began to grow and soon became the most important part of the town's economy. It stayed that way for three centuries before shrinking in the 20th. There is still a small hat making community, but today the economy relies on the service industry, technology and travel.

Demographics

Luton has an unusually low mean and median age. While the mean age for England is 39.3, for Luton it is just 34.8. The median age is even lower at 32, and only around 13% of the population are over the age of 65. A quarter, on the other hand, are under 18.

Luton also has a very high immigrant population. Less than 70% of residents were born in the UK, which compares to 86.2% for England as a whole. It has had several large waves of immigration - with 2.3% of the population from the Republic of Ireland, 6.8% from other EU countries and 21.8% from outside the EU.

Unemployment is slightly above average - 3.9% of people claim Jobseeker's Allowance, and 14.4% of people are on some form of benefit. Overall, Luton is not economically well-off. Social grade measures households by the job of the main earner, and by this classification just 15.4% of households are in grade AB and 30.2% are in C1. That compares to 23% and 31% for England as a whole. More than half of households in Luton are in the lowest two social grades.

Home ownership is, overall, relatively low - this may be a result of the lower average age or lower incomes. 60% of households are owner occupied, less than the national rate, and just 25% are owned without a mortgage. More than a fifth are privately rented, which compares to 15% for England as a whole. Nearly 16% of houses are used as social housing.

Sources: 2011 Census & Department for Work and Pensions

Education

There are 98 schools and colleges in and around Luton, including special schools.

The town has 56 primary schools, 13 secondary schools, four sixth form colleges and seven nurseries. Foremost among the colleges are Luton Sixth Form College and Barnfield College, both of which have awarded Learning and Skills Beacon Status.

Luton is also the sight of two campuses of the University of Bedfordshire - a large one in the town centre and a smaller one just outside the town.

Transport

Luton has fantastic transport links of all kinds. For motorists, the M1 is just nearby and offers quick connections all over the country.

Luton also has three railway stations on the Midland Main Line, making it easy to get quick, direct connections to all major towns and cities in England including London, which is just 30 miles away. Luton is also home to one of England's largest airports, London Luton Airport.

Amenities and Shopping

Most of Luton's retail options are centered around its mall, which was built in the 60s and 70s replacing some older architecture. It has virtually every major high street brand, as well as some more boutique fashionable ones.

The town also has a large market with butchers, bakers, antique dealers and farmers all selling their wares.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

p>All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith

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