People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

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1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2015, in England and Wales as a whole, a smaller percentage of White people (1.5%) claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) than the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups (2.3%)

  • in all but 2 regions in 2015, the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups people claiming JSA was greater than that of White people; in Wales the percentages were similar and in the North East the percentage of White claimants was higher

  • the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups claiming JSA was lowest in the South East (1.1%), and for White people it was lowest in the South West and South East (1%)

  • the North East had the highest percentage of White people claiming JSA (2.7%), and the West Midlands had the highest percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups claiming JSA (3.4%)

  • for 2015, percentages for White claimants and claimants for all Other ethnic groups are underestimates as 5.6% of JSA claimants do not have recorded ethnicity, so have not been included in those percentages

Things you need to know

The population figures used for this data are estimates based on the 2011 Census held in England and Wales.

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimant figures are based on Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) administrative data. They are the average number of claimants per month in each year. They exclude claims where the claimants' application details only exist on paper, not on a centralised computer system. Applications may not be on the system for a variety of reasons, such as missing or incomplete information. These are known as ‘non-computerised clerical claims’, and make up approximately 1% of all claims.

The ethnicity questionnaires given to JSA claimants and in the 2011 Census are different, and the questions were answered at different times. As the 2 data sources don’t collect ethnicity information in the same way, the figures are broken down by White and all Other ethnic groups, but cannot be split down in any further detail.

The 2011 Census does not include an option for people who prefer not to state their ethnicity, while JSA claimants can choose not to do so. As a result, the figures shown for White and all Other ethnic groups may be lower than the actual totals because figures for unreported ethnicity are not included in those groups. In 2015, ethnicity was unreported for 5.6% of JSA claimants.

Figures for All ethnic groups do include JSA claimants whose ethnicity is unreported, so the sum of White and all Other ethnic groups does not equal the total for All claimants.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) as a percentage of the total working-age population.

A person who is working age (aged 16 to 64 years) can usually claim JSA if they:

  • are available for work
  • are actively seeking work
  • work on average less than 16 hours per week
  • are not in full-time education
  • meet certain conditions if they are aged 16 to 17 years

The figures come from Department for Work and Pensions administrative data and population estimates based on the 2011 Census held in England and Wales.

As Universal Credit replaces income-related JSA, the number of JSA claimants will fall.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Two different sources were used for these figures: Department for Work and Pensions administrative data and population estimates based on the 2011 Census. These data sources don’t collect ethnicity information in the same way and, as a result, the figures cannot be split into detailed ethnic categories.

Therefore, the data is broken down into the following 2 broad groups:

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

People whose ethnicity is 'Unreported' are counted in measurements for ‘all’ groups, such as all people who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, and not counted where data is broken down by White compared with all Other ethnic groups.

2. People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance by ethnicity

Percentage and number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of claimants
All 1.7 622,840
White 1.5 458,605
Other 2.3 129,245

Download table data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2015, a smaller percentage of White people (1.5%) claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance than the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups (2.3%)

  • for 2015, percentages for White claimants and claimants for all Other ethnic groups are underestimates as 5.6% of JSA claimants do not have recorded ethnicity, so have not been included in those percentages

3. People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and region

Percentage of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and region
Ethnicity All East East Midlands London North East North West South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and The Humber
% % % % % % % % % % %
White 1.5 1.2 1.5 1.2 2.7 1.4 1.0 1.0 2.2 1.7 2.2
Other 2.3 1.4 2.0 2.4 2.5 2.1 1.1 1.5 2.2 3.4 3.1

Download table data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and region’ (CSV) Source data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and region’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and region Summary

This data shows that:

  • across most regions in England in 2015, the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was greater than the percentage of White people claiming JSA

  • in Wales, the percentage of people claiming JSA was similar for both White and all Other ethnic groups, at 2.2%

  • in the North East, the percentage of White people claiming JSA was higher (2.7%) than the percentage of people from all Other ethnic groups (2.5%)

  • for 2015, percentages for White claimants and claimants for all Other ethnic groups are underestimates as 5.6% of JSA claimants do not have recorded ethnicity so have not been included in those percentages

4. People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity over time

Percentage of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
White 3.3 3.4 3.0 2.1 1.5
Other 4.5 4.6 4.1 3.0 2.3

Download table data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • from 2012 to 2015, the percentage of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell each year for both the White and all Other ethnic groups

  • from 2011 to 2015, the percentage of White people claiming JSA was consistently lower than it was for all Other ethnic groups

  • the gap between the percentage of White people and people from all Other ethnic groups claiming JSA narrowed each year from 2012 to 2015, and was 0.8 percentage points in 2015

  • for 2011 to 2015, the percentages for White claimants and for all Other ethnic groups are underestimates, as between 5% and 6% of JSA claimants do not have a recorded ethnicity so have not been included in those percentages

5. Methodology

The population counts (the denominators) are estimates based on the 2011 England and Wales Census.

Claimant figures used are the average number of claimants per month in each year. (Mid-year or end-year counts would give different percentages because of fluctuations in the JSA claimant count across the year.)

The number of people claiming JSA has been drawn from administrative datasets held by the Department for Work and Pensions. JSA claimant counts are published monthly.

Rounding

Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant counts are rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.1%.

Related publications

Jobseeker's Allowance stocks and flows by ethnicity, age and duration

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative and survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency

Quarterly

Purpose of data source

Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimant Count is used to produce published statistics.

Population counts are collected for the England and Wales Census held every 10 years.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The Census is carried out every 10 years. Data from the March 2021 Census will not be available until 2022, so 2011 Census data is used instead.

Census data gives the government the information it needs to plan and run public services. It is also used as a benchmark for other statistical estimates, and it can help illustrate differences between various groups in the population.

7. Download the data

JSA claimaints - Spreadsheet (csv) 43 KB

This file contains the following: year, region,ethnicity, numerator, denominator and rate.