1. Main facts and figures
- on average, income from employment – earnings, salaries and self-employment – made up just under three-quarters of UK households’ total income (before tax and National Insurance was deducted) in the 3-year period 2014/15 to 2016/17
- households in the Indian and Other White ethnic groups received the highest percentage of income from employment
- households in the Pakistani ethnic group had the largest percentage point increase in share of income from wages, salaries or self-employment over the whole time period studied
- the share of income from pensions received by White British households was more than three times higher than that of any other ethnic group in the 3 years 2014/15 to 2016/17
The ethnic categories used in this data
This data uses the ethnic categories included in the Family Resources Survey. It also divides the White ethnic group into White British and 'White Other' (for White ethnic minorities).
The categories are as follows:
Asian/ Asian British:
- Asian Other
Mixed/ Multiple ethnic groups
- White British
- White Other
2. Sources of income by ethnicity
|Ethnicity||All other sources||Self-employed income||Wages and salaries|
3. Employment income by ethnicity over time
4. Pension income by ethnicity over time
5. Benefits and tax credits by ethnicity over time
The Family Resources Survey (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
- spending on housing
- pension scheme participation
- family circumstances
- child maintenance
The survey is conducted in respondents’ homes. In the latest 3-year period, 2014/15 to 2016/17, the FRS sample consisted of just over 58,000 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.
Estimates are subject to sampling error and non-sampling bias. The FRS only covers private households. Therefore, individuals who live in communal accommodation like care homes or have no fixed address (for example, who are homeless) are not included in these results.
Households where every resident aged 16 years and over 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 fully co-operate. Therefore, the sample will be more representative of those who do respond fully. Overall, 54% of households fully co-operated with the survey, meaning there was a sample size of 19,387 households in 2016/17.
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 subgroups (for example, a specific ethnic group, age group and gender). Using a 3-year average for income minimises the risks due to uncertainty.
As the data is presented as a 3-year average, no statistical tests have been carried out 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 means that conclusions about differences between groups cannot be drawn. However, the data is still useful because it indicates where differences between ethnic groups might exist.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.’
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 to 100.
Family Resources Survey with previous years' data and background information
7. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Department for Work and Pensions
Purpose of data source
The Family Resources Survey (FRS) provides 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, and 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.
8. Download the data
This file contains data for the 3-year period 2009/10 to 2016/17. This is the latest data available. This file contains: measure, ethnicity, year, value