Fuel poverty gap

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in almost every year between 2003 and 2016, White households had a bigger average fuel poverty gap (the amount of money needed to get out of fuel poverty), compared with households from all other ethnic groups combined
  • however, the difference in the fuel poverty gap between the 2 ethnic groups has reduced in size in recent years
  • in 2016, the average fuel poverty gap was broadly the same for both ethnic groups, at £326 for White households and £329 for households from all other ethnic groups combined
Things you need to know

The data shown here is based on responses to the English Housing Survey (EHS). The EHS is a ‘sample survey’: it collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings’) about the total population.

This data has not been tested for statistical significance.

What the data measures

This data measures the fuel poverty gap for households in England between in England between 2003 and 2016.

The fuel poverty gap is the amount, in British pounds per year, that a household needs to get out of fuel poverty. The amount can represent how much the household’s income would have to increase, or how much its fuel bill would have to decrease.

The average fuel poverty gap is the average for all the households within each ethnic group (White and Other).

Fuel poverty is measured using the low income high costs (LIHC) indicator. Under the LIHC indicator, the people in a household are considered to be in fuel poverty if both:

  • the cost of fuel needed to keep their home warm, well-lit and with running appliances and hot water for everyday use is greater than the average for households across the country (the national median level)
  • the income they’re left with after paying for that fuel (plus other household costs and expenses) takes them below the poverty line

The poverty line is measured as having 60% or less of the average (median) income of households in England.

The figures are drawn from the English Housing Survey (EHS). The survey involves face-to-face interviews with about 13,300 randomly selected households every year.

These are used to make estimates for the 22.6 million households in England as a whole.

The information relates to households. A household is one person or a group of people (not necessarily related) who have the accommodation as their only or main residence. If they are a group they also must share cooking facilities and a living room, sitting room, or dining area.

Some households contain people from different ethnic backgrounds; in these circumstances, the ethnic background of the household reference person is used to define the ethnic background of the household.

The household reference person is the person in whose name the home is owned or rented or who is otherwise responsible for the accommodation.

For joint owners or joint tenants, the household reference person is whoever has the highest income. If the incomes are equal, it is the oldest person.

Nearly all the household reference persons – more than 99.8% interviewed – provided information on their ethnicity.

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 categories:

  • White – White ethnic groups (including White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Average fuel poverty gap by ethnicity over time

Average fuel poverty gap, by ethnicity over time

Time White Other
£ £
2003 223 212
2004 230 225
2005 252 204
2006 326 257
2007 314 266
2008 335 299
2009 359 283
2010 365 258
2011 396 293
2012 393 320
2013 365 363
2014 368 351
2015 345 320
2016 326 329

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in almost every year between 2003 and 2016, White households had a bigger average fuel poverty gap (the amount of money needed to get out of fuel poverty), compared with households from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the average fuel poverty gap has been increasing for both ethnic groups since 2003, although this has stabilised in recent years
  • in 2016, the average fuel poverty gap was £326 for White households and £329 for households from all other ethnic groups combined

Methodology

Methodology

Fuel poverty statistics use data collected from the English Housing Survey (EHS).

The EHS is a continuous national survey commissioned by the Ministry for Housing, 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.

Weighting:

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 fewer than 30 households have not been included in these statistics, because small numbers of households mean that any generalisations based on these estimates are very unreliable.

This is standard policy for English Housing Survey data, from which fuel poverty statistics are derived. The analysis has been done using 2 broad ethnic groups, partly to avoid the possibility of individuals being identified.

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 about accessing this data.

Rounding

Figures are given to the nearest whole pound.

Related publications

English Housing Survey: guidance and methodology.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The main purposes of fuel poverty statistics (based on survey data) are to:

  • give a comprehensive view on current trends in fuel poverty in England
  • let government measure its progress in meeting its statutory fuel poverty target for households in England

The fuel poverty target is to improve the energy efficiency rating of fuel-poor households to a minimum rating of band C by 2030.

Download the data

Average fuel poverty gap - Spreadsheet (csv) 6 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, number of households