Pensioner income


1. Main facts and figures

  • in the 3-year period to March 2022, pensioner families received an average of £590 a week in total income before deductions (‘gross income’)
  • pensioner families from the ‘other’ ethnic group had the highest gross income, at £643 a week
  • Asian pensioner families had the lowest gross income (£422 a week)
  • white British pensioner families were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to receive income from investments (63%), occupational pensions (66%), and personal pensions (17%) – they were the least likely to receive income from income-related benefits (20%)
  • black pensioner families were most likely to receive income from income-related benefits (43%)
  • between April 2008 and March 2022, pensioner families in the ‘other’ ethnic group had the biggest increase in gross weekly income, from £535 to £643
  • gross weekly income went down for Asian pensioner families (from £467 to £422), mostly because of a decrease in investment income (from £40 to £16)
  • the biggest increase in State Pension income was for pensioner families from mixed ethnic groups – from £144 to £176

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures how much income pensioner families in the UK receive from all sources before taxes and other deductions, by ethnicity.

A ‘pensioner family’ is either a single pensioner or a couple (married or living together) that includes at least one pensioner.

The data does not include income from other people in the household (such as adult children), except for the benefit income of dependent children.

The data only covers private households.

Percentages are given to the nearest whole number. Income is rounded to the nearest pound. Population sizes are rounded to the nearest 100,000. This means some figures may not add up.

Not included in the data

The data does not include people living in communal accommodation (such as care homes) or with no fixed address.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the ethnic group categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for each of the Asian, black, mixed and ‘other’ ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. Data is shown separately for white British and all other white people (‘white other’ ethnic group).

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.


Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.

The data is a time series of 3-year averages, the latest of which is from April 2019 to March 2022. This is to make sure there are enough pensioner families to be able to make reliable generalisations. You can read more about combining multiple years of data and some of the issues involved.

Confidence intervals have not been worked out, so comparisons between ethnic groups may not be reliable.

Household income has not been adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) to take into account the number of people who live there.

All income is adjusted for inflation using variants of the Consumer Price Index. This allows us to see how income has changed over time in real terms.

The Family Resources Survey has been shown to under-report the number of people receiving benefits compared with the Department for Work and Pensions’ administrative records. For this reason, the percentage of people receiving benefits shown here is likely to be slightly lower than the real percentage.

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

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • gross and net income figures for the 3-year periods between April 2008 to March 2022
  • estimates by type of income

3. Total income by ethnicity over time

Pensioner families' total gross weekly income, by ethnicity over time
3 year period All Asian Black Mixed White White British White Other Other
£ £ £ £ £ £ £ £
2008/09 to 2010/11 556 467 439 489 559 560 547 535
2009/10 to 2011/12 562 485 440 564 566 566 553 541
2010/11 to 2012/13 557 488 411 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 560 561 532 596
2011/12 to 2013/14 555 507 403 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 558 559 522 603
2012/13 to 2014/15 565 474 416 496 569 571 517 684
2013/14 to 2015/16 572 447 418 537 578 579 521 635
2014/15 to 2016/17 582 444 422 555 587 589 530 676
2015/16 to 2017/18 581 422 404 529 588 590 522 622
2016/17 to 2018/19 584 427 453 589 590 592 519 554
2017/18 to 2019/20 582 409 431 538 590 592 503 568
2018/19 to 2020/21 590 432 527 529 596 596 582 677
2019/20 to 2021/22 590 422 494 453 597 598 602 643

Download table data for ‘Total income by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Total income by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


Department for Work and Pensions

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The Pensioners’ incomes series is based on data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The main purpose of the FRS is to give the Department for Work and Pensions data to develop, monitor and evaluate social welfare policy.

The survey is also used by other government departments, including for tax and benefit policy modelling by HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. The FRS is also used by academics and research institutes for social and economic research.

5. Download the data

Pensioner income 2008 to 2022 - Spreadsheet (csv) 373 KB

The file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, ethnicity_type, time, time_type, geography, geography_type, measure_type, value, value_type, note