People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

Published

Last updated 3 March 2021 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • overall in 2017, 1.0% of White people (including White ethnic minorities) in England and Wales claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance, compared with 1.6% of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • in all regions in 2017, the percentage of White people claiming JSA was lower than that of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the percentage of White people claiming JSA was lowest in the East, South West and South East (at 0.7% in all three regions); for those from all other ethnic groups combined, it was lowest in the South East (0.8%)
  • the North East had the highest percentage of White people claiming JSA (1.9%), and the West Midlands had the highest percentage of people from all other ethnic groups claiming JSA (2.6%)
  • for 2017, percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups combined are underestimated, as the ethnicity of 3.2% of JSA claimants was not known

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

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

Numbers of people claiming JSA are rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

You can read more about eligibility for JSA.

Not included in the data

The data does not include claimants whose application details are on paper rather than a centralised computer system (around 1% of all claims).

How percentages are calculated

Claimant figures are the average number of people claiming JSA per month in each year. Percentages in the working age population are worked out using 2011 Census data for England and Wales.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Figures are shown for the following 2 ethnic groups:

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

This is because the 2 different data sources collect ethnicity information in different ways. This means figures cannot be shown for specific ethnic groups.

The ethnicity was not known for 3.2% of people claiming JSA in 2017. People whose ethnicity was not known are included in the figures for ‘All’ in the data.

Methodology

The number of people claiming income-related JSA is expected to fall as more people claim Universal Credit instead.

Estimates are worked out using population data from the 2011 Census. Read more about how we use Census data and some of the problems involved.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of people within each ethnic group claiming Jobseekers Allowance
Ethnicity % Number of claimants
All 1.1 407,620
White 1.0 296,288
Other than White 1.6 94,899

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall in 2017, 1.0% of White people in England and Wales claimed claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), compared with 1.6% of people from all other ethnic groups combined (shown as ‘Other than White’ in charts and tables)
  • percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups are underestimates, as the ethnicity of 3.2% of JSA claimants was not known

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of people within each ethnic group claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, over time
Ethnicity 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
% % % % % % %
White 3.3 3.4 3.0 2.1 1.5 1.1 1.0
Other than White 4.5 4.6 4.1 3.0 2.3 1.9 1.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance By ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell each year for both the White ethnic group and all other ethnic groups combined – this is likely to be a result of both economic factors and income-related JSA being gradually replaced by Universal Credit
  • in every year from 2011 to 2017, the percentage of White people claiming JSA was consistently lower than the percentage of people from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the gap between the percentages of White people and those from all other ethnic groups combined claiming JSA narrowed each year, from 1.2 percentage points in 2011 to 0.6 percentage points in 2017
  • the percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups are underestimates, as the ethnicity of some JSA claimants was not known during the period studied

5. By ethnicity and area

Percentage of people within each ethnic group claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, by area
Ethnicity All East East Midlands London North East North West South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and The Humber
% % % % % % % % % % %
White 1.0 0.7 0.9 0.8 1.9 0.9 0.7 0.7 1.2 1.2 1.3
Other than White 1.6 1.0 1.3 1.5 2.0 1.8 0.8 1.1 1.8 2.6 2.1

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and area’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and area’ (CSV)

Summary of People claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance By ethnicity and area Summary

This data shows that:

  • across all regions in England in 2017, the percentage of White people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was less than the percentage of those from all other ethnic groups combined
  • the largest difference between the percentage of White people claiming JSA and the percentage of people from all other ethnic groups was in the West Midlands (at 1.4 percentage points), and the smallest difference was in the South East and the North East (both at 0.1 percentage points)
  • the percentages for White claimants and claimants from all other ethnic groups are underestimates, as the ethnicity of some JSA claimants was not known during the period studied

6. Data sources

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.

Secondary 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.

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