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Children: Poverty

Volume 704: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many (a) people and (b) children are living in poverty in the United Kingdom; what were the figures in (1) 2005, (2) 2006, and (3) 2007; and what is the projected figure for 2008. [HL5533]

Poverty is a complex and multidimensional issue and, as such, there are many possible measures of poverty.

Definitions of low income households are set out in the annual national statistics publication, Households Below Average Income, available on the DWP website and in the Library. This reports numbers of individuals in households below or persistently below 50 per cent, 60 per cent and 70 per cent of median household income before and after deducting housing costs, and the number of children in low-income households and in material deprivation.

Statistics for the years requested are presented below for people and children in households with incomes below 60 per cent of median income in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. Before and after housing costs based on the median income of the year in question. 1998-99 information has been included where available, to give context to more long-term trends.

Table 1: Numbers of people in households with incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median income, United Kingdom, 1998-99 and 2004-05 to 2006-07 (millions).

Year

Before Housing Costs

After Housing Costs

1998-99

11.2

14.0

2004-05

10.0

12.1

2005-06

10.4

12.8

2006-07

10.7

13.2

Table 2: Numbers of children in households with incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median income, United Kingdom, 1998-99 and 2004-05 to 2006-07 (millions).

Year

Before Housing Costs

After Housing Costs

1998-99

3.4

4.4

2004-05

2.7

3.6

2005-06

2.8

3.8

2006-07

2.9

3.9

Projections for 2007-08 are not available, with levels of low income dependent on a range of factors including growth in earnings, other incomes and levels of employment.

Notes

1. These statistics are based on households below average income data.

2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for household below average income figures is single financial years.

4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication, Households Below Average Income series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. Median incomes are used as the national average in the publication.

5. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.

6. Figures have been presented on both a before-housing-cost and after-housing-cost basis. For before-housing-cost, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income, while for after-housing cost they are.

7. Numbers of people and children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000 people or children.

8. Totals may not sum due to rounding.