Statistics on Poverty in the U.K.

Content

1. Total poverty rate
2. Inequality
3. Geographical breakdown
4. Child poverty
5. Alternative measures

1. Total poverty rate

In the UK, a household is in poverty if its income after tax is below 60% of the national median (a relative measure therefore). Usually, housing costs and housing benefits are deducted from income in order to calculate the poverty rate (source). Income is also adjusted for household size and composition because two people need a larger income than one person to enjoy the same standard of living (however, the adjustment isn’t simply a multiplication: two people do not need twice as much).

According to this measure, 22% of the UK population lived in poverty in 2009/2010:

poverty in the UK

(source, click image to enlarge)

poverty in the UK

(source)

Here’s a breakdown by age:

fig_rel_pov_9697

(source)

The graph below shows that income levels for the poor have grown slower than average incomes:

income evolution in the UK

(source)

The recent recession has had an impact: the real income of the median (pdf) non-retired household was in 2013 6.5% below its 2006-07 level.

In order to put UK poverty into an international perspective, consider this factoid: if income in India were distributed completely equally, the entire Indian nation would still be living on less than half the UK poverty line.

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2. Inequality

Income inequality has risen as well, especially during the Thatcher era:

income inequality in the UK

(source)

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(source)

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(source)
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3. Geographical breakdown

London is by far the richest part of Britain and the engine of the national economy. Yet it also has the highest poverty rates. Although the poorest places in the capital are still in the eastern part of the city, there has been a significant increase of deprivation in the outer London boroughs. Poverty has gone down in the centre of London while it has increased in the suburbs.

This reflects what’s happening in major US cities, where a Brookings Institute report found suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country (source).

poverty in london

(source)
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4. Child poverty

child poverty in the UK

(source)

Children in poverty map UK

(source)

Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets have the highest child poverty rate, with 27%. More than 20% of children also experienced severe poverty in Birmingham and Liverpool. There are a total of 1.6 million severely poor children in the UK. Severe poverty in the UK means an income less than half the average income.

Here’s a more detailed map of London:

child poverty in London

(source)

child poverty in the US and the UK

child poverty in the UK

(source)

More about poverty in the UK here and here.

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5. Child poverty

Here’s another way to measure poverty in the UK:

poverty in britain

(source)
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4 thoughts on “Statistics on Poverty in the U.K.

  1. Pingback: Measuring Poverty (14): Measuring Income Inequality | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  2. Pingback: Of Chinese Dragon, African Gorilla and I « elcidharth

  3. Pingback: What is Poverty? (6): Absolute or Relative Deprivation? | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

  4. Pingback: Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (147): Poverty in the UK Between the Wars | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

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