People in low income households

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • between April 2008 and March 2020, people in Pakistani and Bangladeshi households were consistently the most likely out of all ethnic groups to live in low income households, before and after housing costs
  • people in White British households were consistently the least likely to live in low income households
  • a household is in low income if they live on less than 60% of the UK’s median income (a couple with no children would be in low income with an annual household income of up to £17,100 before housing costs and £14,800 after housing costs)

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of people living in households in low income in the UK.

Households are classed as being in low income if they live on less than 60% of the average (median) net disposable equivalised UK household income.

In the year ending March 2020, a household made up of a couple with no children would be in low income with an annual household income of up to £17,100 before housing costs and £14,800 after housing costs.

Household income is the total income of the household before tax, National Insurance and other deductions. It includes the value of free school meals, free TV licences and other income-based entitlements.

The data measures income before and after housing costs have been paid. Housing costs include rent or mortgage payments and insurance. These vary by region, as do ethnic minority communities.

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

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number, so some figures may not add up to 100%.

Not included in the data

Percentages based on fewer than 100 responses are not shown. This is to protect people’s confidentiality.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for each of the 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.

Methodology

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

Data for 3 years has been combined to make sure estimates are reliable. 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.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. You can read more about:

In the data file

Download the data for figures for each 3-year period covered by this data analysed by ethnicity and age group.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage of people living in households in low income, by ethnicity of the household
Ethnicity Before Housing Costs After Housing Costs
% %
All 17 22
Asian 28 37
Bangladeshi 35 55
Chinese 25 30
Indian 18 24
Pakistani 41 47
Asian other 24 42
Black 27 40
Mixed 19 32
White 16 19
White British 16 19
White other 16 26
Other 27 40

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

Summary of People in low income households By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 22% of people in the UK lived in households with low income after housing costs were paid, compared with 17% before housing costs
  • 41% of people living in Pakistani households and 35% of people living in Bangladeshi households lived in low income before housing costs – the highest percentages out of all ethnic groups
  • 16% of people living in White British and White Other households had a low income before housing costs – the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 35% of people living in Bangladeshi households had a low income before housings costs, compared with 55% after housing costs – the biggest percentage difference out of all ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity over time (before housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households in low income (before housing costs), by ethnicity of the household over time
Ethnicity 2008/09 to 2010/11 2009/10 to 2011/12 2010/11 to 2012/13 2011/12 to 2013/14 2012/13 to 2014/15 2013/14 to 2015/16 2014/15 to 2016/17 2015/16 to 2017/18 2016/17 to 2018/19 2017/18 to 2019/20
% % % % % % % % % %
All 17 16 16 15 15 16 16 17 17 17
Asian 32 29 29 27 27 27 27 27 27 28
Bangladeshi 51 42 41 35 38 39 35 33 31 35
Chinese 21 26 32 31 23 21 21 26 27 25
Indian 23 20 19 17 20 19 18 17 17 18
Pakistani 45 44 43 40 38 38 40 40 40 41
Asian other 22 22 23 21 20 18 18 21 25 24
Black 29 24 24 25 23 25 25 27 26 27
Mixed 21 23 20 19 15 19 20 24 19 19
White 15 15 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 16
White British 15 15 14 14 14 14 15 15 15 16
White other 15 16 17 17 16 16 16 16 16 16
Other 29 28 25 25 25 26 24 27 25 27

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

Summary of People in low income households By ethnicity over time (before housing costs) Summary

The data shows that between April 2008 March 2020, before housing costs were paid:

  • people in Pakistani and Bangladeshi households were more likely to live in low income than those from any other ethnic group
  • people in White British and White Other households were the least likely to live in low income
  • the percentage of Bangladeshi households in low income went down from 51% to 35% – the biggest decrease out of all ethnic groups, although the percentage has gone up in the latest 3-year period

5. By ethnicity over time (after housing costs)

Percentage of people living in households in low income (after housing costs), by ethnicity of the household over time
Ethnicity 2008/09 to 2010/11 2009/10 to 2011/12 2010/11 to 2012/13 2011/12 to 2013/14 2012/13 to 2014/15 2013/14 to 2015/16 2014/15 to 2016/17 2015/16 to 2017/18 2016/17 to 2018/19 2017/18 to 2019/20
% % % % % % % % % %
All 22 21 21 21 21 21 22 22 22 22
Asian 41 39 39 37 36 35 35 36 37 37
Bangladeshi 63 53 56 52 51 50 49 50 53 55
Chinese 31 40 46 49 38 35 29 33 34 30
Indian 30 27 25 24 26 24 24 24 24 24
Pakistani 52 52 48 46 44 46 48 46 46 47
Asian other 41 41 42 39 35 32 33 39 41 42
Black 42 39 39 41 40 40 41 42 42 40
Mixed 36 39 38 33 26 29 32 36 34 32
White 20 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19
White British 19 19 18 18 18 19 19 19 19 19
White other 27 28 28 29 27 28 28 28 27 26
Other 42 42 40 41 44 46 44 42 40 40

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

Summary of People in low income households By ethnicity over time (after housing costs) Summary

The data shows that between March 2008 and April 2020, after housing costs were paid:

  • people in Pakistani and Bangladeshi households were more likely to live in low income than those from any other ethnic group
  • people in White British households were the least likely to be in low income
  • the percentage of Bangladeshi households in low income went down from 63% to 55% – the biggest decrease out of all ethnic groups, although the percentage has gone up in the latest three 3-year periods

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

Percentage of people living in households in low income (before housing costs), by ethnicity of the household and age group
Ethnicity All Children Working-age Pensioners
% % % %
All 17 21 15 18
Asian 28 34 25 32
Bangladeshi 35 42 31 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Chinese 25 31 22 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Indian 18 18 15 32
Pakistani 41 46 39 37
Asian other 24 28 23 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Black 27 32 24 23
Mixed 19 27 15 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
White 16 19 14 18
White British 16 18 14 18
White other 16 22 13 22
Other 27 36 24 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable

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 People in low income households By ethnicity and age group (before housing costs) Summary

Data is shown for the following age groups:

  • children – under 16 years old, or 16 to 19 if they are living with their parents, in full-time education or training, and not married or in a civil partnership
  • working age – 16 years old to State Pension age
  • pensioner – State Pension age or over

The data shows that, before housing costs were paid:

  • children in Pakistani (46%) and Bangladeshi households (42%) were the most likely to live in low income, while children in White British (18 %) and Indian (18%) households were the least likely to live in low income
  • among working age adults, those in Pakistani households (39%) were the most likely to live in low income
  • among pensioners, those in Pakistani households (37%) were the most likely to live in low income

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

Percentage of people living in households in low income (after housing costs), by ethnicity of the household and age group
Ethnicity All Children Working-age Pensioners
% % % %
All 22 30 21 17
Asian 37 45 34 33
Bangladeshi 55 68 49 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Chinese 30 29 30 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Indian 24 26 21 33
Pakistani 47 53 44 38
Asian other 42 51 39 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Black 40 48 36 30
Mixed 32 44 27 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
White 19 26 18 16
White British 19 25 18 16
White other 26 35 23 23
Other 40 51 36 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable

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 People in low income households By ethnicity and age group (after housing costs) Summary

Data is shown for the following age groups:

  • children – under 16 years old, or 16 to 19 if they are living with their parents, in full-time education or training, and not married or in a civil partnership
  • working age – 16 years old to State Pension age
  • pensioner – State Pension age or over

The data shows that, after housing costs were paid:

  • children living in Bangladeshi (68%) households were the most likely to live in low income – children living in White British (25%) and Indian (26%) households were the least likely
  • among working age adults, those living in Bangladeshi (49%) and Pakistani (44%) households were the most likely to live in low income – White British (18%) and Indian (21%) working age adults were the least likely
  • among pensioners, those living in Pakistani (38%) and Indian (33%) households were the most likely to live in low income households – White British pensioners (16%) were the least likely

8. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Note on corrections or updates

Any 3-year estimates before the period from April 2012 to March 2015 may be different to the published Households Below Average Income tables due to a change in the ethnic groups shown.

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Households Below Average Income is the main source of data about household income and inequality in the UK.

9. Download the data

People in low income data - Spreadsheet (csv) 285 KB

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