Fuel poverty gap
Last updated 20 February 2018 - see all updates
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1. Main facts and figures
- in almost every year between 2003 and 2015, fuel-poor White households had a bigger average fuel poverty gap than fuel-poor households from other ethnic groups
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 or broad ethnic categories. Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad categories:
- White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
- Other – all other ethnic minorities
It also allows comparison over time between White households 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 households, less than 20% (about 200) were from an ethnic minority household (not including White ethnic minorities).
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population.
For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.
In the EHS, weighting makes the results more representative of the 22.6 million households in England.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Estimates based on less than 30 households have not been included in these statistics, because small numbers of households make it impossible to draw meaningful conclusions.
This is standard policy for English Housing Survey data, from which fuel poverty statistics are derived. The analysis has been done by binary classification only, to avoid the potential for identification of individuals.
More detailed data, including some potentially disclosive data, is protected by a range of disclosure controls. See the guidance on English Housing Survey: datasets for information accessing this data.
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