Persistent low income

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • out of all ethnic groups, people in Asian or Black households were most likely to be in persistent low income, before housing costs over the 4 years ending March 2018

  • a household is in persistent low income if it has less than 60% of the UK’s median (average) income for 3 out of 4 years – this was around £28,500 for a couple with no children in the year ending March 2018, before housing costs

  • out of all ethnic groups, people in Black or Other households were most likely to be in persistent low income, after housing costs

  • people in White households were least likely out of all ethnic groups to be in persistent low income before and after housing costs

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of people living in households which are in ‘persistent low income’ before and after housing costs. Housing costs include rent and mortgage payments.

Households are classed as being in low income if they live on less than 60% of the median (average) income – this was around £28,500 for a couple with no children in the year ending March 2018 before housing costs.

Persistent low income means the household has had low income for at least 3 out of 4 years.

The data relates to households of either one person or a group of people sharing cooking facilities and a living room or dining area. It must be their main or only home.

The data includes the total income brought into the household on a weekly basis by everyone who lives there.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Not included in the data

Data based on fewer than 100 responses has not been included, and percentages less than 0.5% have been suppressed. This is to protect people’s confidentiality.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for 6 aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White British
  • White Other
  • Other

Some households contain people from different ethnic backgrounds. The ethnicity assigned to the household is that of the head of the household (usually the person with the highest income). The data does not account for people of different ethnic backgrounds who live in the same household.

Data for people living in households with unknown ethnicity is included in the estimates for ‘All’.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data on this page.

Household incomes are adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) to take into account the number of adults and children who live there.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • figures for the 4-year periods 2010 to 2014, 2011 to 2015, 2012 to 2016 and 2013 to 2017
  • persistent low income estimates based on both 60% and 70% of median income
  • persistent low income estimates before and after housing costs

3. By ethnicity (before housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households with persistent low income before housing costs, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 9 29,344
Asian 17 2,356
Black 15 897
Mixed 9 316
White 9 24,681
White British 9 23,364
White other 8 1,317
Other 11 157

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

Summary of Persistent low income By ethnicity (before housing costs) Summary

The data shows that, before housing costs:

  • 17% of people in Asian households, and 15% of people in Black households were in persistent low income – the highest percentages out of all ethnic groups

  • 9% of people in White households were in persistent low income – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity (after housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households with persistent low income after housing costs, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 13 29,344
Asian 25 2,356
Black 28 897
Mixed 23 316
White 12 24,681
White British 12 23,364
White other 15 1,317
Other 33 157

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

Summary of Persistent low income By ethnicity (after housing costs) Summary

The data shows that, after housing costs:

  • 33% of people in Other ethnic group households, and 28% of people in Black households were in persistent low income – the highest percentages out of all ethnic groups

  • 12% of people living in White households were in persistent low income – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

5. By ethnicity and age group (before housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households with persistent low income before housing costs, by ethnicity and age group
All Children Working-age adults Pensioners
Ethnicity All % All Number of respondents Children % Children Number of respondents Working-age adults % Working-age adults Number of respondents Pensioners % Pensioners Number of respondents
All 9 29,344 12 6,840 7 15,896 11 6,608
Asian 17 2,356 26 866 12 1,343 12 147
Black 15 897 21 292 12 504 14 101
Mixed 9 316 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 99 8 185 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 32
White 9 24,681 10 5,319 7 13,209 12 6,153
White British 9 23,364 10 4,984 7 12,496 12 5,884
White other 8 1,317 12 335 6 713 8 269
Other 11 157 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 52 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 86 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 19

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and age group (before housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and age group (before housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Persistent low income By ethnicity and age group (before housing costs) Summary

The data shows that, before housing costs:

  • children in Asian (26%) and Black (21%) households were more likely to live in persistent low income than those in White (10%) households

  • working-age adults in Black and Asian households were most likely to live in persistent low income (both 12%) out of all ethnic groups

  • 12% of pensioners in White and Asian households were in persistent low income

  • data for pensioners in Mixed and Other households is too small to make reliable conclusions

6. By ethnicity and age group (after housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households in persistent low income after housing costs, by ethnicity and age group
All Children Working-age adults Pensioners
Ethnicity All % All Number of respondents Children % Children Number of respondents Working-age adults % Working-age adults Number of respondents Pensioners % Pensioners Number of respondents
All 13 29,344 20 6,840 11 15,896 11 6,608
Asian 25 2,356 37 866 19 1,343 10 147
Black 28 897 37 292 23 504 30 101
Mixed 23 316 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 99 20 185 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 32
White 12 24,681 18 5,319 11 13,209 11 6,153
White British 12 23,364 18 4,984 11 12,496 11 5,884
White other 15 1,317 22 335 14 713 11 269
Other 33 157 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 52 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 86 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 19

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and age group (after housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and age group (after housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Persistent low income By ethnicity and age group (after housing costs) Summary

The data shows that, after housing costs:

  • children in Asian (37%) and Black (37%) households were more likely to live in persistent low income than those in White households (18%)

  • working-age adults in Black (23%) households were most likely to live in persistent low income out of all ethnic groups

  • 30% of pensioners in Black households lived in persistent low income

  • data for pensioners in Mixed and Other households is too small to make reliable conclusions

7. Entering low income (before housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households entering low income before housing costs, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 5 86,287
Asian 10 5,934
Black 9 2,592
Mixed 8 965
White 5 72,959
White British 5 68,938
White other 5 4,021
Other 8 476

Download table data for ‘Entering low income (before housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Entering low income (before housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Persistent low income Entering low income (before housing costs) Summary

A household enters low income if they were classified as ‘low income’ in the year ending March 2018 but not in the previous year (year ending March 2017).

The data shows that, before housing costs:

  • people in Asian (10%) and Black (9%) households were most likely to enter into low income out of all ethnic groups

  • people in White (5%) households were least likely to enter into low income

8. Leaving low income (before housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households leaving low income before housing costs, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 33 15,200
Asian 31 2,694
Black 33 752
Mixed 33 213
White 33 11,093
White British 33 10,514
White other 36 579
Other 14 126

Download table data for ‘Leaving low income (before housing costs)’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Leaving low income (before housing costs)’ (CSV)

Summary of Persistent low income Leaving low income (before housing costs) Summary

People in households leaving persistent low income are calculated as the percentage of those already in low income, not the percentage of all households.

The data shows that, before housing costs:

  • people in White Other (36%) households were most likely to exit low income out of all ethnic groups

  • people in Other (14%) households were least likely to exit low income

  • data for people in other ethnic groups is too small to make reliable conclusions

9. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Income Dynamics statistics are designed to report on income movements and the persistence of low income for various population groups. Reporting on persistent low income rates for children is required under UK law.

Income Dynamics statistics supplement Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics by providing measures which are based on household income over time. This is because they use data from the longitudinal survey ‘Understanding Society’.

10. Download the data

Entries and Exits from low income data - Spreadsheet (csv) 20 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, value, denominator

Persistent low income data - Spreadsheet (csv) 148 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, age group, value, denominator