Sources of household income

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • on average, households received 72% of their total income from earnings, salaries and self-employment in the 3 years to March 2019 – this is based on ‘gross’ income before tax and other deductions
  • households in the Indian and White Other ethnic groups received the highest percentage of their income from employment
  • households in the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Other ethnic groups had the largest increase in the percentage of income from employment over the period studied
  • on average, the percentage of income that White British households received from pensions was at least 3 times higher than any other ethnic group

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of income from different sources for households in the UK.

Income is measured before tax and other deductions. It includes all household income contributed by everyone who lives there, including children.

The data only covers private households. In this data, a household is either one person or a group of people sharing cooking facilities and a living room or dining area.

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

Not included in the data

The data does not include:

  • people who live in communal accommodation (for example, care homes)
  • people with no fixed address (for example, homeless people)
  • households where not everyone living there completed the survey

Percentages based on fewer than 100 responses are not shown. This is because estimates based on smaller numbers of people are not reliable.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the 18 ethnic groups from the 2011 Census. Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.

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 house.

Methodology

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

Because the data varies from year to year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) takes 3 years’ worth of data and works out the average for that period. This is to make sure there are enough survey respondents to be able to make reliable generalisations. You can find out more about combining multiple years of data to create reliable estimates.

Responses are weighted on the basis of regional population totals by age and sex to give estimates for the entire UK household population. You can read more about how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the group it is about.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed.

3. Sources of income by ethnicity

Percentage of gross household income from wages and salaries, self-employment, and all other sources, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Wages and salaries Self-employed income All other sources
Value Value Value
All 63 9 26
Asian 68 11 22
Bangladeshi 58 7 35
Chinese 56 11 35
Indian 76 10 14
Pakistani 56 14 30
Asian other 66 10 24
Black 66 8 24
Mixed 73 6 22
White 63 9 29
White British 62 9 30
White other 74 13 13
Other 68 11 21

Download table data for ‘Sources of income by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Sources of income by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Sources of household income Sources of income by ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • on average, households received 72% of their total income from employment – 63% from wages and salaries, and 9% from self-employment
  • they received 26% from other sources including pensions and benefits
  • households in the Indian (86%) and White Other (87%) ethnic groups received the highest percentage of their income from employment out of all ethnic groups
  • households in the Bangladeshi (35%) and Chinese (35%) ethnic groups received the highest percentage of their income from other sources, including pensions and benefits

4. Income from employment (wages, salaries and self-employment) by ethnicity over time

Percentage of gross household income from wages, salaries and self-employment by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2009/10-2011/12 2010/11-2012/13 2011/12-2013/14 2012/13-2014/15 2013/14-2015/16 2014/15-2016/17 2015/16-2017/18 2016/17-2018/19
% % % % % % % %
All 72 72 72 72 72 72 72 72
Asian 75 76 78 77 78 78 79 79
Bangladeshi 60 58 60 64 64 64 62 65
Chinese 68 69 79 74 75 70 75 67
Indian 83 84 84 85 85 85 86 86
Pakistani 65 67 69 70 72 72 73 70
Asian other 75 73 75 74 76 76 77 76
Black 72 71 69 70 72 72 71 74
Mixed 77 74 75 77 78 78 77 79
White 72 72 71 72 71 72 72 72
White British 71 70 70 71 70 70 70 71
White other 83 82 86 86 87 86 86 87
Other 73 74 71 69 69 73 76 79

Download table data for ‘Income from employment (wages, salaries and self-employment) by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Income from employment (wages, salaries and self-employment) by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Sources of household income Income from employment (wages, salaries and self-employment) by ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that:

  • households consistently received an average of 72% of their gross income from employment (wages, salaries and self-employment) during the period studied
  • there was an increase in the percentage of income from employment in every Asian ethnic group except Chinese
  • among Indian households, income from employment went up from 83% to 86%
  • among Pakistani households, income from employment went up from 65% to 70% – it peaked at 73% in the 3 years to March 2018
  • out of all ethnic groups, households in the Bangladeshi ethnic group consistently had the lowest percentage of income from employment, although it increased from 60% to 65% during the period studied
  • the biggest increase was among households in the Other group, where income from employment went up from 73% to 79%

5. Income from pensions by ethnicity over time

Percentage of gross household income from the State Pension and private pensions, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2009/10-2011/12 2010/11-2012/13 2011/12-2013/14 2012/13-2014/15 2013/14-2015/16 2014/15-2016/17 2015/16-2017/18 2016/17-2018/19
% % % % % % % %
All 14 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Asian 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 5
Bangladeshi 6 8 7 5 5 5 6 5
Chinese 3 4 2 3 2 4 3 3
Indian 5 5 6 5 6 5 4 5
Pakistani 4 4 3 3 3 2 3 4
Asian other 4 4 4 5 4 4 4 4
Black 5 5 6 6 5 5 5 5
Mixed 5 5 5 5 6 4 4 4
White 15 15 15 16 17 17 17 17
White British 16 17 17 17 17 18 18 18
White other 6 6 4 4 4 4 4 4
Other 7 7 8 7 5 4 4 4

Download table data for ‘Income from pensions by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Income from pensions by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Sources of household income Income from pensions by ethnicity over time Summary

Age profiles are helpful in understanding some of these figures – for example, there are more White British people of retirement age, which helps explain why they're more likely to receive the State Pension.

Income from pensions includes both the State Pension and private pensions.

The data shows that:

  • on average, households received 15% of their income from pensions in the 3 years to March 2019
  • the percentage of household income from pensions was consistent for all ethnic groups, with no increase or decrease of more than 3 percentage points – however, the percentage for households in the Other ethnic group went down from 7% to 4% during the period studied
  • White British households consistently received the highest percentage of their income from pensions (between 16% and 18%)
  • households in the Pakistani and Chinese ethnic groups consistently received the lowest percentage of their income from pensions (between 2% and 4%)

6. Income from benefits and tax credits by ethnicity over time

Percentage of gross household income from benefits and tax credits (not including State Pension and pension credits), by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2009/10-2011/12 2010/11-2012/13 2011/12-2013/14 2012/13-2014/15 2013/14-2015/16 2014/15-2016/17 2015/16-2017/18 2016/17-2018/19
% % % % % % % %
All 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 6
Asian 12 12 12 11 10 10 9 9
Bangladeshi 27 26 27 24 25 24 27 25
Chinese 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 4
Indian 8 6 6 6 5 5 5 4
Pakistani 24 24 22 21 18 19 18 20
Asian other 11 12 10 10 9 9 10 9
Black 17 19 20 19 17 17 17 14
Mixed 14 15 14 12 11 11 11 10
White 8 8 8 8 8 7 6 7
White British 10 9 9 8 8 8 7 7
White other 8 8 6 6 5 5 4 4
Other 12 12 14 14 13 12 10 10

Download table data for ‘Income from benefits and tax credits by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Income from benefits and tax credits by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Sources of household income Income from benefits and tax credits by ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • on average, the percentage of household income from benefits and tax credits was 6% in the 3 years to March 2019 – before that, it was consistently between 8% and 9%
  • Bangladeshi households consistently received the highest percentage of their income from benefits and tax credits (between 24% and 27%)
  • Chinese households consistently received the lowest percentage of their income from benefits and tax credits (between 3% and 4%)
  • among Pakistani, Indian, Mixed and White Other households, the percentage of income from benefits and tax credits went down by 4 percentage points over the period studied – it halved for Indian and White Other households, but these estimates are based on small numbers of households and are less reliable

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Note on corrections or updates

The figures for the share of income in the download file before the year ending March 2015 may not match the DWP’s published figures. This is because the way of adjusting for inflation changed from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index from the year ending March 2015 onwards.

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The main purpose of the Family Resources Survey (FRS) is to give the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 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 extensively by academics and research institutes for social and economic research.

8. Download the data

Sources of Household Income - Spreadsheet (csv) 124 KB

This file contains data for the 3-year period from 2009/10 to 2018/19. This is the latest data available. This file contains: measure, ethnicity, year, value, denominator