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Poverty statistics (formerly known as Households below average income)

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  • Release date: 13 June 2018
  • Period covered: 1994-95 to 2016-17
  • Next update: 26 June 2018
Relative income poverty, persistent poverty and material deprivation statistics for Wales, other UK countries and regions of England.

Relative income poverty

We define a person to be living in relative income poverty if he or she is living in a household where the total household income from all sources is less than 60 per cent of the average UK household income (as given by the median).

This means that relative income poverty is a measure of income inequality, not a direct measure of living standards.

For more information on what Relative Income Poverty means and how changes in the distribution of incomes influence the statistic, please see our 'What is relative income poverty?' presentation in the background information tab.

The data we have for relative income poverty comes from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) report (external link) published by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The headline figure for Wales from this report is the percentage of all individuals in Wales who were living in relative income poverty – this is a national indicator which means it is used to measure progress being made in Wales towards the achievement of the 7 well-being goals.

This data uses equivalised disposable household income – you can find out more  about what this means in the background information tab.

This data is available from the financial year 1994-95, for UK countries and regions of England by different age groups (all individuals, children, working-age adults and pensioners).

We also carry out extra analysis to consider economic, family, ethnicity and disability characteristics.

Material Deprivation

Material deprivation is a measure of living standards.

We define a person to be living in material deprivation if he or she is not able to access a certain number of goods and services.

DWP use the Family Resources Survey to publish statistics about children and pensioners in material deprivation in their HBAI report (external link), broken down for UK countries and regions of England.

Data on material deprivation in Wales is also available from the National Survey for Wales. The most recent data is for adults, pensioners and parents in material deprivation in 2016-17.

Persistent poverty

Data on persistent poverty in Wales also comes from DWP. In their Income Dynamics (external link) report they define a person to be in persistent poverty if he or she is in relative income poverty in at least 3 out of 4 consecutive years (at the moment these are classed as experimental statistics).
 
The Office for National Statistics also publish data on persistent poverty (external link) under a slightly different definition but this is only available at a UK level.

Key points

Relative income poverty: headline figures (high level figures and breakdowns by area of UK and broad age group).

These headline statistics are  from DWP’s report published 22 March 2018.

Relative income poverty can be measured on a before or after housing costs basis. All figures here relate to relative income poverty after housing costs such as mortgage interest payments/rent, water rates and structural house insurance were paid.

  • 24 per cent of all people in Wales were living in relative income poverty between 2014-15 and 2016-17 (i.e. the financial year ending March 2015 and the financial year ending March 2017).
  • This is up from 23 per cent between 2013-14 and 2015-16, the rate it had stood at for the last 5 time periods.
  • Children were the age group most likely to be in relative income poverty between 2014-15 and 2016-17 (at 28 per cent) and this has been true for some time. However the rate has fallen from 30 per cent between 2013-14 and 2015-16. A possible reason for children consistently being the age group most likely to be in relative income poverty is that adults with children are more likely to be out of work or in low paid work due to childcare responsibilities.
  • Relative income poverty for working-age adults has been steady, but it has risen from 23 per cent between 2013-14 and 2015-16 to 24 per cent between 2014-15 and 2016-17.
  • The percentage of pensioners living in relative income poverty has been rising for the past 4 periods (reaching 20 per cent between 2014-15 and 2016-17) but it is still below what it was in the mid to late 1990s.

More information can be found in the presentations on the 'Details' section of the sidebar or on StatsWales (external link).

Detailed descriptions of the different age groups can be found in the Households below average income (HBAI): quality and methodology information report (external link). 

Relative income poverty: analysis by economic, family, ethnicity and disability characteristics

These findings are from Welsh Government analysis of the DWP datasets published in 2017. They are due to be updated in summer 2018.

  • People living in social rented housing were more likely to  be in relative income poverty when compared with those privately renting or owner occupiers
  • Living in a workless household increased the chances of being in relative income poverty for working-age adults
  • Children living in lone parent families were more likely to be in relative income poverty than those living in households with a couple.
  • Children living in larger families had a slightly higher risk of being in  relative income poverty than children in smaller families.
  • Children living in households where the head of the household was from a non-white ethnic group were twice as likely to be in relative income poverty than children in households where the head of the household was from a white ethnic group.
  • Living in a household where there was someone with a disability increased the chances of living in relative income poverty for working-age adults and children but not for pensioners.

Material deprivation

Data from DWP shows that:

  • 10 per cent of children living in Wales between 2014-15 and 2016-17 were in material deprivation and low income households (i.e. households that had a total household income below 70 per cent of the UIK average household income – before housing costs were paid). This is down from the 14 per cent reported last year
  • 9 per cent of pensioners living in Wales between 2014-15 and 2016-17 were in material deprivation (income is not considered for pensioners). This is down from the 10 per cent reported last year.

Find out more about how material deprivation is measured in the background information tab.

Data from the National Survey for Wales shows that, in 2016-17:

  • 15 per cent of adults in Wales were materially deprived  (this includes pensioners)
  • 5 per cent of pensioners were materially deprived
  • 6 per cent of parents have materially deprived children.

More discussion on the differences between the two measures is available on the background information tab.

Persistent poverty

Data from DWP shows that, after paying housing costs:

  • a person in Wales had a 13 per cent risk of being in persistent poverty between 2012 and 2016 (experimental statistics).

Notes

Data for Wales can be volatile due to small sample sizes, and for this reason several years of survey data have been combined to produce rolling averages.

Care should be taken in interpreting these figures, and latest estimates should be considered alongside long term patterns. The 'Background information' tab explains what you should keep in mind when interpreting these results.

Contact

Statistician
Tel: 0300 025 5088
Email: stats.inclusion@gov.wales

Media
Tel: 0300 025 8099

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