Fuel poverty gap
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1. Main facts and figures
- for almost every year between 2003 and 2015, White fuel-poor households had a bigger average fuel poverty gap than fuel-poor households from ethnic minorities (other than White ethnic minorities)
The ethnic categories used in this data
Data on fuel poverty is collected as part of the English Housing Survey using the 18-category ethnicity classification from the 2011 Census.
However, for this data, the number of people surveyed (the ‘sample size’) was too small to draw any firm conclusions about specific ethnic categories. Therefore, in the commentary for ‘Average fuel poverty gap by ethnicity’, the following broad 6 categories have been used:
- White British
- Any other White
- Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
- Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
- Asian/Asian British
- Chinese and other
The figures are based on small samples and should be seen as indicative only.
For all the other charts and graphs on this page, the following binary categories have been used:
- White (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other (all other ethnic minorities)
This also allows comparison over time between White households (including White British and White ethnic minorities) and all other households. This would not be possible for smaller ethnic groupings, as the detailed census definitions for ethnicity changed between 2001 and 2011.
2. Average fuel poverty gap by ethnicity over time
Summary of Fuel poverty gap Average fuel poverty gap by ethnicity over time Summary
Fuel poverty statistics use data collected from the English Housing Survey (EHS).
The EHS is a continuous national survey commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
It collects information about:
- people’s housing circumstances
- household income
- the condition and energy efficiency of housing
The fuel poverty analysis uses a random sample of approximately 12,000 households from the EHS. These households had both a face-to-face interview and a physical survey carried out by a qualified surveyor.
On average, around 10% to 12% (1,400) of the surveyed households were in fuel poverty. Of these 1,400, less than 20% (about 200) were from an ethnic minority household (other than White ethnic minorities).
Surveys seek information about a particular group of people – we call this the target population.
Every target population will have a particular age and gender profile – for example, teachers are predominantly female and under 50. Some target populations will also have a regional profile – for example, they might be clustered in a particular part of the country.
Surveys collect information from a random sample of the target population to make generalisations (reach ‘findings’) about everyone within that population.
For those findings to be reliable, the sample of people should ideally contain the same mix of age, gender and regional location as the target population.
Where this isn’t the case (because some people haven’t responded, for example) analysts use statistical tools to ‘weight’ the data. Weighting rebalances the survey responses so they represent the target population more accurately. They can then be used to reach meaningful conclusions.
Weights are applied to the EHS sample to produce fuel poverty estimates for the 22.6 million households in England as a whole.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Any values based on fewer than 30 households have been ‘suppressed’.
‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data because the numbers involved are too small to draw any meaningful conclusions.
This is standard policy for English Housing Survey data, from which fuel poverty is derived. The data is deposited in the UK Data Archive, as part of the data used for the English Housing Survey.
There are 2 levels of access for fuel poverty datasets:
- End-User Licence
- Special Licence
The content and disclosure control depend on the type of application made.
Disclosure-controlled data is available under the End-User Licence (which contains the 2015 data relating to this analysis).
A more detailed dataset with additional fuel poverty model inputs is available after permission has been granted by the fuel poverty team under Special Licence.
Within both sets of data, ethnicity is given as either ‘White’ (this includes White British and White ethnic minorities) or ‘ethnic minority’.
Figures are given to the nearest whole pound.
Further technical information
There are known issues with the English Housing Survey sampling design and weighting methodology for 2013. These issues have adversely affected the fuel-poor household composition variable.
The change in the trend for 2013 should, therefore, be treated carefully.
4. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Purpose of data source
The main purpose of the Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics data is to:
- monitor progress against fuel poverty targets
- track the percentage of households in fuel poverty and their fuel poverty gap
The government’s fuel poverty target for England is to ensure that as many fuel poor households as reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030 (with interim targets of Band E by 2020, and Band D by 2025). Household energy efficiency ratings are banded from G (lowest) to A (highest). Energy efficiency is measured using the Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating.
5. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, measure, year, income band and value