Last updated 10 October 2018 - see all updates
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- 1. Navigate to Main facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toFamily units receiving state support, by ethnicity and type of support section
- 3. Navigate toFamily units receiving non-income related benefits, by ethnicity and type of benefit section
- 4. Navigate toFamily units receiving income-related benefits section
- 5. Navigate toFamily units receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) section
- 6. Navigate toFamily units receiving tax credits section
- 7. Navigate toFamily units receiving state support by ethnicity over time section
- 8. Navigate to Methodology section
- 9. Navigate to Data sources section
- 10. Navigate to Download the data section
1. Main facts and figures
over half of family units in the UK received some type of state support, including the State Pension and Child Benefit, over the period studied (for the purposes of this data, a family unit is defined as a single adult or a married or cohabiting couple plus any dependent children)
White British family units were the most likely to receive state support (of any type) and Chinese family units were the least likely to
White British family units were also the most likely to receive non-income related benefits, and Bangladeshi, Black, Mixed, Pakistani and Other ethnic family units were more likely to receive income-related benefits and tax credits
Since 2009/10, the percentage of family units receiving any type of state support has declined for all ethnicities apart from the Bangladeshi and Chinese groups
new data has been published for the 3-year period 2014/15 to 2016/17 – 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
The ethnic categories used in this data
The Family Resources Survey uses the following ethnic categories:
- White British
- White Other
- Asian Other
Other ethnic group
2. Family units receiving state support, by ethnicity and type of support
|Ethnicity||Any type of state support||Any type of tax credit||Any income-related benefit||Any non-income related benefit|
Summary of State support Family units receiving state support, by ethnicity and type of support Summary
3. Family units receiving non-income related benefits, by ethnicity and type of benefit
|Ethnicity||Child Benefit||State Pension||Disability Living Allowance (care component)||Disability Living Allowance (mobility component)|
Download table data for ‘Family units receiving non-income related benefits, by ethnicity and type of benefit’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Family units receiving non-income related benefits, by ethnicity and type of benefit’ (CSV)
Summary of State support Family units receiving non-income related benefits, by ethnicity and type of benefit Summary
4. Family units receiving income-related benefits
|Ethnicity||Council Tax Reduction||Housing Benefit||Income Support||Pension Credit|
Summary of State support Family units receiving income-related benefits Summary
5. Family units receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
|Ethnicity||Jobseeker's Allowance||Employment and Support Allowance|
|Chinese||1||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
Download table data for ‘Family units receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Family units receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)’ (CSV)
Summary of State support Family units receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Summary
6. Family units receiving tax credits
|Ethnicity||Child Tax Credit||Working Tax Credit|
Summary of State support Family units receiving tax credits Summary
7. Family units receiving state support by ethnicity over time
Summary of State support Family units receiving state support by ethnicity over time Summary
The FRS is a continuous household survey which collects information on a representative sample of private households in the UK. Detailed information is recorded on respondents’ income from all sources:
- housing tenure
- caring needs and responsibilities
- expenditure on housing
- pension scheme participation
- family circumstances
- child maintenance
The survey is conducted in respondents’ homes face to face with an interviewer.
In the latest 3-year period, 2013/14 to 2015/16, the FRS sample consisted of almost 60,000 households in the UK. It has a financial-year survey period with surveys conducted throughout the year and is cross-sectional (a ‘snapshot’ of households over the year). Individuals are not followed up for later surveys. Since responses reflect only a sample of the total population, they are weighted (scaled up) on the basis of subnational population totals by age and sex to give estimates for the entire UK household population.
Estimates are subject to sampling error and non-sampling bias. The FRS only covers private households. Therefore, individuals who live in communal accommodation (for example, care homes) or have no fixed address (for example, who are homeless) are not included in these results.
Households where every resident over the age of 16 responds to the questions are classed as fully co-operating. Only households with full co-operation are included in the analysis. This may introduce some error, as the characteristics of individuals living in households which do not respond fully may be different to those who do fully co-operate. Therefore, the sample will be biased towards (that is, more representative of) those who do respond fully. Overall, 56% of households fully co-operated with the survey, meaning there was a sample size of 19,326 households in 2015/16.
Results derived from a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences. As such, caution is needed when interpreting short-term trends in the data, especially for sub-groups (for example, a specific ethnic group, age group and gender). Using a 3-year average for income minimises the risks due to uncertainty to an extent.
As the ethnic group of the household is based on the ethnic group of the household reference person, some individuals will have been assigned an ethnic group to which they do not belong. This may affect estimates based on ethnicity.
As the data is presented as a 3-year average, no statistical tests have been performed to determine whether the estimates taken from the survey are statistically significantly different from one another.
In other words, as the results are based on a sample of the population, without further testing it isn’t possible to determine whether any differences observed would likely be seen across the entire population. This is important to consider and means that conclusions around differences between groups cannot be drawn. However, the data is still useful because it indicates where differences between ethnic groups might exist.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Any values based on fewer than 100 responses have been suppressed.
Percentages are given to the nearest whole percentage point. Due to this rounding, some figures may not add up.
9. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Work and Pensions
Purpose of data source
The primary purpose of the Family Resources Survey (FRS) is to provide the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with data to inform the development, monitoring and evaluation of social welfare policy.
The survey is used by many other government departments, as well as for tax and benefit policy modelling by HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs.
The FRS is also used extensively by academics and research institutes for social and economic research.
10. Download the data
This file contains data for the 3-year period 2014/15 to 2016/17. 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: measure, ethnicity, year, value
This file contains data for the years 2009/10 to 2015/16. This is the data used in the charts, tables and commentary shown on this page. The file contains: measure, ethnicity, year, value, denominator