Jones was born in Sheffield and grew up in Stockport, Greater Manchester. He is the son of a local authority worker and an IT lecturer and describes himself as a "fourth generation socialist"; He attended Bramhall High School and Ridge Danyers Sixth Form college (now Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College) before reading history at University College, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 2005 and a Master of Arts in US history in 2007. Prior to his media career, Jones worked as a trade union lobbyist and as a parliamentary researcher for the Labour Party.
He was listed in the "Journalists" section of the Pink List 2012. The citation said:
- "The Sheffield-born Oxford history graduate saw his book, Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, top last year's political bestseller lists. Worked in politics before joining The Independent — and he's only 28."
- http://owenjones.org/about "Who the hell is Owen Jones?" 28 December 2010
- http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/owen-jones-my-father-and-the-reality-of-losing-your-job-in-middle-age-7546015.html "Owen Jones: My father, and the reality of losing your job in middle age" 9 March 2012
- http://labourlist.org/2011/06/abolish-oxbridge/ Owen Jones, "Abolish Oxbridge" Labour List 1 June 2011
- http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/clients/Owen-Jones.htm "Owen Jones" David Higham Literary, Film and TV Agents
- http://oxfordstudent.com/2011/06/09/time-to-abolish-oxbridge/ "Time to abolish Oxbridge?" The Oxford Student 9 June 2011
- http://nextgenerationlabour.org/2011/07/a-warning-shot/ Owen Jones "A Warning Shot" 28 July 2011 Next Generation Labour (publisher), London
- http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/clients/Owen-Jones.htm "Owen Jones"