People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

Published

Last updated 9 October 2018 - see all updates

There is a new version of this page. View the latest version.

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 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%); 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 from all other ethnic groups are underestimates, as for 5.6% of JSA claimants ethnicity was unrecorded, so these claimants were not included in the data

  • new data has been published for the years 2016 and 2017 – this data isn’t currently reflected in the charts, tables and commentary on this page, but you can get a CSV file with the latest figures if you download the data

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 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)
  • Other – all other ethnic minorities

People whose ethnicity is 'Unreported' (because their ethnicity was not recorded or they chose not to state their ethnicity) are counted in measurements for ‘All’ groups, such as all people in employment. However they are not counted where data is broken down by White and Other.

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%)

  • percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups in this period are underestimates, as for 5.6% of JSA claimants ethnicity was unrecorded, so these claimants have not been included in the data

3. 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 group and all other ethnic groups

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

  • the gap between the percentage of White people and the percentage of 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 claimants from all other ethnic groups are underestimates, as for between 5% and 6% of JSA claimants ethnicity was unrecorded, so these claimants have not been included in the data

4. People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and area

Percentage of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and area
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 area’ (CSV) Source data for ‘People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and area’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance People claiming Jobseeker's Allowance by ethnicity and area 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%)

  • percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups in this period are underestimates, as for 5.6% of JSA claimants ethnicity was unrecorded, so these claimants have not been included in the data

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

JSA 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 data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency

Monthly

Purpose of data source

The data is an administrative source collected to enable Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to monitor and report on claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and other benefits.

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 V2 - Spreadsheet (csv) 78 KB

This file contains data for the years 2011 to 2017. This is the latest data available, but does not reflect the figures shown in the charts, tables and commentary on this page. This file contains the following: year, region, ethnicity, numerator, denominator and rate.

JSA claimaints - Spreadsheet (csv) 43 KB

This file contains data for the years 2011 to 2015. This is the data used in the charts, tables and commentary shown on this page. This file contains the following: year, region, ethnicity, numerator, denominator and rate.