1. Main facts and figures
- between 2015/16 and 2017/18, over half of families in the UK received some type of state support, such as the State Pension or Child Benefit (a family is defined as a single adult or a married or cohabiting couple, plus any dependent children)
- White British families were the most likely to receive state support and Chinese families were the least likely to
- White British families were also the most likely to receive non-income related benefits, such as the State Pension
- Bangladeshi and Black families were the most likely to receive income-related benefits, such as help with the cost of housing
- since 2009/10, the percentage of families getting state support has fallen for all ethnicities, apart from Bangladeshi and Chinese families (up by 1 and 4 percentage points)
The ethnic categories used in this data
The Family Resources Survey uses the following ethnic categories:
Asian/ Asian British:
- Asian Other
Mixed/ Multiple ethnic groups
- White British
- White Other
2. By ethnicity and type of support
|Ethnicity||Any income-related benefit||Any non income-related benefit||Any type of state support||Any type of tax credits|
3. By ethnicity over time
4. By ethnicity and type of non-income related benefit
|Ethnicity||Child Benefit||Disability Living Allowance (care component)||Disability Living Allowance (mobility component)||State Pension|
5. By ethnicity and type of income-related benefit
|Ethnicity||Council Tax Reduction||Housing Benefit||Income Support||Pension Credit|
6. By ethnicity (tax credits only)
|Ethnicity||Child tax credit||Working Tax Credit|
The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a continuous household survey of a representative sample of private households in the UK.
Information is recorded on respondents’:
- housing tenure (for example, whether they own or rent their home)
- caring needs and responsibilities
- expenditure on housing
- pension scheme participation
- family circumstances
- child maintenance arrangements
The survey is conducted in respondents’ homes.
In the latest 3-year period, 2015/16 to 2017/18, 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). The same individuals are not then approached again (i.e. there is no further ‘wave’ of the survey). Since responses reflect only a sample of the total population, they are weighted 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 covers private households only. Individuals living in shared accommodation, such as care homes, or who do not have a fixed address are not included in these results.
The analysis only includes households where every resident over the age of 16 responds. This may introduce some error, as households with residents who do not cooperate may have different characteristics from those that do. Thus the sample will be more representative of those who do respond fully. Overall, 52% of households fully cooperated with the survey, meaning there was a sample size of 19,136 households in 2017/18.
Results from a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences. Caution is therefore needed when interpreting short-term trends in the data, especially for smaller groups, such as a specific ethnic group. Using a three-year average for income minimises the risks due to uncertainty to an extent.
The ethnic group for the household is based on the ethnic group of the head of the household (the Household Reference Person). This means some individuals will have been assigned an ethnic group to which they do not belong and 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.
Family Resources Survey with previous years' data and background information.
8. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Work and Pensions
Purpose of data source
The Family Resources Survey is mainly used by the Department for Work and Pensions to develop and evaluate social welfare policy.
9. Download the data
Measure, Time, Time_Type, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_Type, Value, Value_type, Denominator