Published on 31 March 2022

These are not official statistics.

The latest estimates are unreliable as they are based on data collected during the first year of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Lockdown rules severely disrupted the data collection. As a result, we were unable to obtain a representative sample for Scotland.

Please refer to Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2017-20 for the latest National Statistics on poverty and income inequality.

This report shows what the poverty and income statistics would look like if we included the unreliable latest data point.


What you need to know

This report includes three-year averaged estimates of the proportion of people, children, working-age adults and pensioners in Scotland living in poverty, and measures of household income and income inequality.

The analysis is based on data from the Family Resources Survey. This survey has been the main source of information on household income and poverty in Scotland since 1994/95.

The Scottish Government measures different aspects of poverty with different indicators. The most commonly used poverty indicator in Scotland for showing trends is relative poverty after housing costs. Other poverty measures in this report are absolute poverty, and material deprivation.

The estimates in this publication are based on a sample survey and are therefore subject to sampling variation. The poverty and income estimates are shown as three-year rolling (overlapping) averages, unless stated otherwise. Taking the average over three years reduces fluctuation due to sampling variation and shows trends and differences between groups more clearly.

Poverty

All individuals

The most commonly used poverty indicator in Scotland is relative poverty after housing costs. Alongside this key indicator, we also included other poverty measures, which are shown in the additional tabs below.

Relative poverty

Relative poverty

Relative poverty is a measure of whether the lowest-income households are keeping pace with middle income households across the UK.

Figure 1: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 1a: Proportion of people in relative poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 24% 23% 23% 23% 24% 24% 23% 22% 21% 20% 19% 19% 19% 19% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 19% 20% 19% 19% 18%
Before housing costs 21% 21% 21% 20% 20% 20% 20% 19% 18% 18% 17% 17% 17% 17% 16% 15% 15% 14% 15% 15% 16% 17% 17% 17% 16%
Table 1b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
All people 8,299 8,105 7,698 7,579 7,626 8,095 11,023 14,003 16,458 16,157 15,337 15,092 14,739 14,686 14,442 13,385 12,152 10,750 10,277 9,795 9,596 9,369 9,521 9,346 7,770

Absolute poverty

Absolute poverty

Absolute poverty is a measure of whether the incomes of the poorest households are keeping pace with inflation, and is based on a fixed poverty threshold, the inflation-adjusted relative poverty threshold in 2010/11.

Figure 2: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 2a: Proportion of people in absolute poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 39% 38% 35% 33% 31% 29% 27% 24% 22% 21% 20% 19% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% 17% 18% 17% 17% 15%
Before housing costs 37% 35% 33% 31% 30% 28% 25% 23% 21% 19% 18% 18% 17% 17% 16% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 14% 15% 14% 14% 13%
Table 2b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
All people 8,299 8,105 7,698 7,579 7,626 8,095 11,023 14,003 16,458 16,157 15,337 15,092 14,739 14,686 14,442 13,385 12,152 10,750 10,277 9,795 9,596 9,369 9,521 9,346 7,770

Working-age adults

Working-age adults are defined as all adults up to the state pension age. Women’s state pension age reached 65 in November 2018, aligning it with men’s state pension age. Since December 2018, the state pension age for both men and women has started to increase to reach 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Relative poverty

Relative poverty

Figure 3: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 3a: Proportion of working-age adults in relative poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 18% 18% 19% 19% 20% 20% 20% 19% 19% 19% 18% 18% 18% 19% 19% 18% 19% 19% 19% 19% 19% 20% 19% 19% 18%
Before housing costs 16% 15% 16% 16% 17% 17% 17% 17% 16% 15% 15% 15% 15% 16% 15% 14% 14% 14% 14% 15% 16% 16% 16% 16% 16%
Table 3b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Working-age adults 6,205 6,129 5,809 5,759 5,727 6,101 8,251 10,399 12,170 11,917 11,315 11,108 10,812 10,774 10,526 9,767 8,854 7,834 7,432 7,003 6,854 6,647 6,808 6,661 5,504

Having paid work is an effective way out of poverty, and those families where all adults are in full-time work have a low poverty risk. But having a job is not always enough, for example when it does not pay well, or when someone is unable to work enough hours.

The terms ‘working’ and ‘in-work poverty’ here refer to paid employment. They do not include unpaid work such as caring for your children or other family members. In-work poverty refers to the share of children in poverty who live in households where at least one member of the household is in either full or part-time paid work.

Figure 4: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 4a: Working-age adults in relative poverty after housing costs by household work status, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
In workless households 52% 52% 53% 52% 48% 49% 50% 49% 48% 47% 49% 48% 48% 48% 47% 48% 45% 43% 41% 40% 40% 39% 40%
In working households 48% 48% 47% 48% 52% 51% 50% 51% 52% 53% 51% 52% 52% 52% 53% 52% 55% 57% 59% 60% 60% 61% 60%
Table 4b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Working-age adults 5,809 5,759 5,727 6,101 8,251 10,399 12,170 11,917 11,315 11,108 10,812 10,774 10,526 9,767 8,854 7,834 7,432 7,003 6,854 6,647 6,808 6,661 5,504

Before-housing-costs data looks similar, and the analysis is available in the associated tables.

Absolute poverty

Absolute poverty

Figure 5: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 5a: Proportion of working-age adults in absolute poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 31% 30% 28% 27% 26% 25% 23% 21% 20% 19% 19% 18% 18% 19% 19% 18% 19% 19% 19% 19% 18% 18% 17% 17% 16%
Before housing costs 28% 27% 26% 25% 24% 23% 21% 19% 18% 17% 16% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 14% 14% 15% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 13%
Table 5b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Working-age adults 6,205 6,129 5,809 5,759 5,727 6,101 8,251 10,399 12,170 11,917 11,315 11,108 10,812 10,774 10,526 9,767 8,854 7,834 7,432 7,003 6,854 6,647 6,808 6,661 5,504

Pensioners

Pensioners are adults who have reached their state pension age.

Relative poverty

Relative poverty

The majority of pensioners own their home. It is therefore more meaningful to use the after-housing-costs poverty measure for comparing the standard of living between pensioners and other age groups.

Figure 6: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 6a: Proportion of pensioners in relative poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 31% 31% 29% 28% 27% 26% 25% 23% 20% 17% 16% 15% 14% 13% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 13% 15% 15% 14% 14%
Before housing costs 28% 27% 27% 26% 26% 24% 23% 22% 22% 20% 19% 20% 19% 18% 16% 16% 15% 15% 15% 16% 17% 18% 18% 17% 16%
Table 6b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Pensioners 2,322 2,189 2,082 2,039 2,131 2,252 3,111 4,060 4,828 4,778 4,538 4,504 4,461 4,469 4,471 4,134 3,756 3,296 3,172 3,096 3,039 3,057 3,052 3,035 2,554

Absolute poverty

Absolute poverty

Figure 7: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 7a: Proportion of pensioners in absolute poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 53% 50% 46% 42% 39% 34% 31% 28% 24% 20% 17% 16% 14% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 11% 11% 12% 12% 12% 11%
Before housing costs 54% 51% 47% 44% 40% 36% 31% 28% 26% 23% 21% 21% 19% 17% 16% 16% 16% 16% 15% 15% 14% 14% 14% 14% 13%
Table 7b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Pensioners 2,322 2,189 2,082 2,039 2,131 2,252 3,111 4,060 4,828 4,778 4,538 4,504 4,461 4,469 4,471 4,134 3,756 3,296 3,172 3,096 3,039 3,057 3,052 3,035 2,554

Material deprivation

Material deprivation

Pensioner material deprivation is different to other measures of poverty, including the child low income and material deprivation measure. It does not only consider low income. It also captures other barriers to accessing goods and services, such as poor health, disability and social isolation.

More information about pensioner material deprivation can be found in the Definitions section.

Pensioner material deprivation is included for all pensioners aged 65 or over. There were some pensioners in the analysis who were younger than 65; these were not included. Therefore, this measure looks at a slightly smaller group of people than the other measures in the Pensioners section.

This data has been collected since 2009.

Figure 8: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 8a: Proportion of pensioners aged 65 and over in material deprivation, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Pensioners aged 65 and over 8% 8% 8% 8% 7% 6% 6% 5% 5% 5%
Table 8b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Pensioners aged 65 and older 3,497 3,257 2,931 2,886 2,872 2,859 2,939 2,991 3,014 2,551

Child poverty

Children are more likely to be in poverty across all measures compared to adults.

In this publication, 'child' refers to a dependent child. This is explained in the Definitions section.

Relative poverty

Relative poverty

Figure 9: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 9a: Proportion of children in relative poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 32% 32% 32% 31% 31% 31% 30% 28% 26% 25% 25% 24% 25% 24% 24% 21% 21% 21% 22% 23% 23% 24% 23% 24% 21%
Before housing costs 29% 29% 30% 29% 27% 27% 26% 25% 23% 22% 21% 20% 21% 20% 19% 17% 17% 16% 16% 16% 18% 20% 20% 21% 18%
Table 9b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Children 2,277 2,168 1,980 1,921 1,858 1,967 2,708 3,414 3,963 3,771 3,543 3,498 3,443 3,417 3,364 3,103 2,851 2,504 2,386 2,174 2,122 1,974 2,031 1,947 1,546

Having paid work is an effective way out of poverty, and those families where all adults are in full-time work have a low poverty risk. But having a job is not always enough, for example when it does not pay well, or when someone is unable to work enough hours.

While the poverty risk is much lower for children in working households compared to those in non-working households, not all work pays enough to lift the household above the poverty threshold.

The terms ‘working’ and ‘in-work poverty’ here refer to paid employment. They do not include unpaid work such as caring for your children or other family members. In-work poverty refers to the share of children in poverty who live in households where at least one member of the household is in either full or part-time paid work.

Figure 10: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 10a: Children in relative poverty after housing costs by household work status, Scotland, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
In workless households 52% 52% 53% 52% 48% 49% 50% 49% 48% 47% 49% 48% 48% 48% 47% 48% 45% 43% 41% 40% 40% 39% 40%
In working households 48% 48% 47% 48% 52% 51% 50% 51% 52% 53% 51% 52% 52% 52% 53% 52% 55% 57% 59% 60% 60% 61% 60%
Table 10b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Children 1,980 1,921 1,858 1,967 2,708 3,414 3,963 3,771 3,543 3,498 3,443 3,417 3,364 3,103 2,851 2,504 2,386 2,174 2,122 1,974 2,031 1,947 1,546

Before-housing-costs data looks similar, and the analysis is available in the associated tables.

Absolute poverty

Absolute poverty

Figure 11: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 11a: Proportion of children in absolute poverty, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
After housing costs 50% 49% 46% 43% 40% 38% 34% 31% 27% 26% 25% 24% 24% 24% 23% 22% 22% 22% 22% 22% 21% 22% 21% 21% 18%
Before housing costs 46% 46% 43% 40% 38% 36% 33% 29% 25% 23% 22% 21% 20% 20% 19% 17% 17% 17% 16% 15% 15% 17% 16% 17% 14%
Table 11b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Children 2,277 2,168 1,980 1,921 1,858 1,967 2,708 3,414 3,963 3,771 3,543 3,498 3,443 3,417 3,364 3,103 2,851 2,504 2,386 2,174 2,122 1,974 2,031 1,947 1,546

Material deprivation

Material deprivation

Combined low income and child material deprivation is an additional way of measuring living standards. It is about households who cannot afford basic goods and activities that are seen as necessities in society.

More detail on this can be found in the Definitions section.

Figure 12: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 12a: Proportion of children in combined low income and material deprivation, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Old measure, after housing costs 16% 15% 16% 16% 16% -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Old measure, before housing costs 15% 15% 16% 15% 15% -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
New measure, after housing costs -- -- -- -- -- -- 12% 12% 13% 13% 12% 12% 12% 13% 9%
New measure, before housing costs -- -- -- -- -- -- 10% 11% 11% 11% 10% 11% 11% 11% 8%
Table 12b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
New measure -- -- -- -- -- -- 2,851 2,504 2,386 2,174 2,122 1,974 2,031 1,947 1,546
Old measure 3,543 3,498 3,443 3,417 3,364 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Material deprivation data has been collected since 2004/05. Due to a change in the methodology, it is not possible to compare the most recent years with years before 2010-13. This is shown as a break in the chart.

Equality analysis

Poverty is measured at a household level. Everyone in the same household is considered either in poverty or not in poverty. This makes it difficult to measure the poverty risk by individual characteristics such as age or gender for people who share the households with others. For gender, we therefore only look at households with a single adult. For age and marital status, we include everyone in the analysis, but keep in mind that the poverty risk is also influenced by others in the household.

Age

The age analysis includes adults in both, single- and multi-person households. But the trend shown in Figure 13, that the youngest adults have the highest poverty rates, holds true for single-adult households as well.

Figure 13: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 13a: Proportion of adults in relative poverty after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
16-24 22% 22% 23% 24% 26% 25% 24% 24% 25% 27% 26% 27% 27% 29% 29% 27% 30% 29% 30% 26% 27% 29% 29% 28% 25%
25-34 21% 19% 20% 20% 22% 22% 22% 19% 19% 17% 17% 16% 17% 18% 18% 17% 17% 17% 18% 20% 20% 20% 18% 18% 17%
35-44 19% 20% 18% 18% 18% 19% 18% 17% 16% 17% 17% 18% 18% 18% 18% 17% 17% 18% 18% 18% 17% 17% 17% 17% 15%
45-54 13% 12% 13% 14% 16% 16% 17% 16% 17% 16% 16% 15% 16% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 16% 16% 17% 17% 16%
55-64 18% 19% 21% 20% 21% 22% 23% 22% 20% 19% 18% 17% 16% 16% 16% 16% 15% 16% 16% 18% 18% 19% 19% 19% 19%
65+ 32% 32% 30% 29% 27% 26% 25% 23% 21% 17% 15% 15% 14% 13% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 12% 13% 15% 15% 15% 14%
Table 13b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
16-24 1,330 1,288 1,220 1,171 1,179 1,212 1,605 1,978 2,322 2,324 2,158 2,108 1,966 1,976 1,949 1,802 1,583 1,291 1,236 1,141 1,152 1,027 1,026 905 725
25-34 2,434 2,353 2,137 2,012 1,877 1,865 2,462 2,996 3,553 3,429 3,266 3,074 2,959 2,953 2,931 2,723 2,556 2,316 2,235 2,040 1,981 1,850 1,918 1,834 1,481
35-44 2,297 2,290 2,185 2,225 2,188 2,343 3,179 4,099 4,753 4,549 4,298 4,220 4,107 3,915 3,690 3,346 2,982 2,608 2,365 2,207 2,125 2,041 2,071 1,992 1,620
45-54 1,874 1,869 1,850 1,836 1,877 2,069 2,890 3,553 4,074 3,989 3,862 3,935 3,914 3,940 3,917 3,575 3,269 2,841 2,755 2,587 2,449 2,350 2,354 2,274 1,814
55-64 1,651 1,594 1,520 1,566 1,613 1,797 2,486 3,278 3,895 3,883 3,739 3,695 3,645 3,678 3,604 3,387 3,049 2,777 2,622 2,520 2,497 2,551 2,610 2,642 2,249
65+ 2,536 2,426 2,312 2,215 2,321 2,451 3,432 4,474 5,359 5,339 5,102 5,040 4,973 4,958 5,006 4,682 4,343 3,932 3,891 3,889 3,921 4,029 4,111 4,133 3,574

Gender

Poverty is measured at a household level. This means that men and women in the same household are both either in poverty or not in poverty. In the analysis below, we therefore only include single adult households (with or without dependent children).

Single working-age adults and gender

In this publication, 'child' refers to a dependent child living in the household. This is explained in the Definitions section.

Figure 14: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 14a: Proportion of single working-age adults in relative poverty after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Single mother 64% 63% 63% 60% 58% 55% 52% 52% 49% 47% 46% 47% 47% 45% 40% 36% 32% 33% 35% 38% 41% 39% 37% 38% 42%
Single man, no children 39% 39% 40% 39% 41% 41% 39% 37% 35% 34% 33% 32% 33% 34% 35% 34% 35% 35% 35% 34% 33% 32% 33% 34% 34%
Single woman, no children 32% 31% 29% 29% 33% 33% 34% 31% 32% 28% 27% 29% 29% 29% 27% 29% 29% 33% 34% 34% 32% 30% 28% 27% 28%
Single father -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Table 14b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Single mother 478 452 398 408 410 449 602 779 904 848 781 764 771 771 734 687 656 615 587 509 461 421 423 425 323
Single man, no children 579 582 551 548 548 596 793 1,061 1,280 1,323 1,276 1,244 1,224 1,232 1,204 1,136 998 918 857 858 820 837 803 792 644
Single woman, no children 449 420 421 451 500 519 685 844 1,017 989 968 924 893 892 877 859 753 701 656 677 661 664 716 769 695
Single father 43 38 34 22 29 32 47 66 74 73 60 60 50 44 46 58 61 54 41 32 36 33 41 33 33

Single pensioners and gender

Figure 15: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 15a: Proportion of single pensioners in relative poverty after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Single female pensioner 45% 44% 43% 39% 38% 36% 34% 30% 25% 21% 19% 20% 17% 16% 14% 14% 14% 15% 18% 20% 19% 19% 18% 20% 18%
Single male pensioner 33% 40% 42% 42% 34% 28% 22% 20% 17% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 14% 13% 12% 10% 10% 12% 13% 15% 17% 20%
Table 15b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Single female pensioner 927 847 820 783 789 824 1,160 1,506 1,739 1,709 1,624 1,642 1,561 1,555 1,549 1,417 1,260 1,071 1,029 996 922 913 890 930 768
Single male pensioner 286 275 236 235 259 284 378 506 604 617 564 561 520 509 507 512 512 469 458 443 463 470 511 525 462

Marital status

By 'Single' we mean adults who have never been married or in a Civil Partnership, and are not living with their partner. The 'Married' category includes Civil Partnerships, and couples who are married or in a Civil Partnership but temporarily living apart. The 'Divorced' category includes divorced couples, dissolved Civil Partnerships, and couples who are married or in a Civil partnership but are not living together because of estrangement.

Figure 16: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 16a: Proportion of adults in relative poverty after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Divorced 40% 37% 38% 38% 41% 41% 40% 38% 34% 30% 28% 29% 29% 28% 27% 26% 25% 26% 27% 27% 27% 26% 25% 27% 29%
Widowed 37% 38% 37% 34% 31% 28% 27% 24% 21% 17% 17% 17% 16% 15% 13% 13% 12% 14% 16% 18% 18% 19% 17% 19% 18%
Cohabiting 24% 23% 21% 22% 21% 20% 19% 18% 20% 19% 19% 20% 19% 20% 17% 17% 17% 17% 18% 19% 20% 21% 20% 19% 16%
Single 23% 23% 24% 24% 27% 26% 26% 25% 26% 26% 26% 26% 26% 27% 27% 26% 27% 28% 28% 26% 26% 28% 27% 27% 25%
Married 16% 16% 15% 15% 15% 16% 16% 15% 14% 13% 13% 12% 12% 11% 12% 12% 12% 11% 11% 11% 12% 12% 13% 13% 12%
Table 16b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Divorced 959 952 885 899 916 1,025 1,392 1,795 2,072 1,996 1,897 1,917 1,982 1,979 1,923 1,753 1,587 1,413 1,334 1,258 1,206 1,213 1,268 1,297 1,059
Widowed 1,212 1,120 1,045 1,023 1,074 1,141 1,522 1,913 2,214 2,164 1,985 1,951 1,823 1,831 1,774 1,631 1,438 1,251 1,190 1,168 1,116 1,114 1,089 1,119 933
Cohabiting 594 630 670 708 766 806 1,172 1,560 1,932 1,968 1,954 1,972 1,976 2,054 2,124 2,034 1,896 1,784 1,788 1,740 1,630 1,630 1,646 1,632 1,266
Single 2,305 2,318 2,242 2,211 2,207 2,287 3,078 3,920 4,674 4,641 4,367 4,244 4,109 4,142 4,090 3,871 3,497 3,071 2,926 2,780 2,745 2,563 2,595 2,496 2,085
Married 7,052 6,800 6,382 6,184 6,092 6,478 8,890 11,190 13,064 12,744 12,222 11,988 11,674 11,414 11,186 10,226 9,364 8,246 7,866 7,438 7,428 7,328 7,492 7,236 6,120

Ethnicity

Ethnicity data relates to all people in a household and is based on the ethnicity of the adult with the highest income.

Figure 17 shows an ethnicity breakdown based on averages of data from five years. This enables us to report on ethnic groups with smaller sample sizes to some extent.

Due to the small sample sizes for some of the ethnic groups, and the fact that ethnic composition of the population is not accounted for in the survey weighting process, estimates fluctuate between years and the measurement uncertainty will be fairly large. The chart shows how the fluctuations may obscure any long-term trends.

Figure 17: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 17a: Proportion of people in relative poverty after housing costs (five-year averages), Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2001-06 2002-07 2003-08 2004-09 2005-10 2006-11 2007-12 2008-13 2009-14 2010-15 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Mixed, Black or Black British, and Other 39% 35% 36% 35% 37% 35% 36% 35% 36% 33% 35% 36% 40% 40% 43% 42%
Asian or Asian British 37% 35% 36% 37% 42% 42% 42% 42% 39% 36% 35% 36% 34% 39% 41% 36%
White - Other 24% 23% 23% 22% 23% 24% 25% 25% 27% 27% 26% 25% 26% 25% 24% 25%
White - British 20% 19% 19% 18% 18% 17% 17% 17% 17% 17% 17% 18% 18% 18% 18% 17%
Table 17b: Median age of household head in each group, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2001-06 2002-07 2003-08 2004-09 2005-10 2006-11 2007-12 2008-13 2009-14 2010-15 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Mixed, Black or Black British, and Other 38 39 39 38 38 39 37 35 35 35 35 36 37 38 38 39
Asian or Asian British 38 38 39 39 39 38 36 37 36 36 37 37 37 37 38 39
White - Other 43 44 43 42 42 42 41 40 39 37 36 36 35 35 36 37
White - British 50 50 50 50 51 51 51 51 52 52 52 53 53 54 54 54
Table 17c: Number of families in each group in the combined five-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2001-06 2002-07 2003-08 2004-09 2005-10 2006-11 2007-12 2008-13 2009-14 2010-15 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Mixed, Black or Black British, and Other 307 393 392 400 386 376 312 259 236 212 179 181 206 212 216 200
Asian or Asian British 246 254 257 278 293 285 305 294 282 279 260 253 249 241 268 250
White - Other 595 699 822 976 1,111 1,164 1,101 981 844 724 622 655 678 716 724 681
White - British 23,364 25,157 24,561 23,594 22,941 22,492 21,578 20,257 18,966 17,672 16,083 15,450 14,971 14,746 14,400 12,948

A more detailed ethnicity breakdown using ten years of data was previously published.

Religion

Data on religion is available for adults only, so this analysis does not include children.

Figure 18 shows a religion breakdown based on averages of data from five years. This enables us to report on religious groups with smaller sample sizes.

Due to the small sample sizes for some of the religious groups, and the fact that religious composition of the population is not accounted for in the survey weighting process, estimates fluctuate between years and the measurement uncertainty will be fairly large. Although the observed pattern for Muslims is relatively marked compared to other groups, they do represent the smallest group and the associated measurement uncertainty will be very large.

Note that for some groups, religion is closely linked to ethnicity. The likelihood of certain cultural groups to experience poverty will be strongly influenced by historical factors which largely reflect the community’s migration history. These include low qualifications or lack of fluency in the English language, which are likely to become less of a barrier over time or across generations. More information is available in this blog post and associated working paper. Therefore, any interpretation of differences must also take into account compositional and contextual changes, such as age, number of children and labour market opportunities.

Figure 18: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 18a: Proportion of adults in relative poverty after housing costs (five-year averages), Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Muslim 33% 37% 41% 49% 52% 57%
No religion 19% 20% 19% 19% 19% 18%
Roman Catholic 18% 19% 20% 19% 19% 19%
Other Christian 18% 18% 18% 19% 19% 17%
Other religion 18% 18% 19% 18% 21% 17%
Church of Scotland 14% 14% 14% 15% 15% 14%
Table 18b: Median adult age in each group, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Muslim 32 32 33 35 36 37
No religion 39 40 40 40 41 41
Roman Catholic 47 48 48 48 48 49
Other Christian 51 50 50 50 49 49
Other religion 48 48 50 49 50 50
Church of Scotland 58 59 60 61 62 62
Table 18c: Number of families in each group in the combined five-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 2011-16 2012-17 2013-18 2014-19 2015-20 2016-21
Muslim 234 219 219 213 249 220
No religion 9,488 9,509 9,681 9,970 10,199 9,372
Roman Catholic 3,734 3,572 3,346 3,300 3,153 2,808
Other Christian 2,045 2,066 2,043 2,023 1,901 1,729
Other religion 589 601 583 591 623 558
Church of Scotland 9,003 8,357 7,820 7,335 6,888 6,097

Disability

Figure 19: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 19a: Proportion of people in relative poverty after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Someone disabled 27% 29% 30% 31% 30% 28% 26% 25% 24% 24% 24% 23% 22% 21% 20% 22% 22% 23% 23% 23% 24% 23% 23% 20%
No-one disabled 21% 21% 20% 20% 20% 20% 19% 18% 17% 17% 17% 17% 17% 17% 16% 15% 15% 15% 16% 16% 17% 17% 17% 17%
Table 19b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Someone disabled 1,931 2,894 2,728 2,766 2,874 3,076 4,192 5,356 6,239 6,163 5,802 5,800 5,597 5,467 5,420 5,102 4,769 4,218 4,170 4,049 4,081 4,032 4,156 4,220 3,455
No-one disabled 3,553 5,211 4,970 4,813 4,752 5,019 6,831 8,647 10,219 9,994 9,535 9,292 9,142 9,219 9,022 8,283 7,383 6,532 6,107 5,746 5,515 5,337 5,365 5,126 4,315

The way in which information on disabled people is collected changed several times during this timeseries. This causes breaks in the timeseries.

Since 2012/13, disabled people are identified as those who report any physical or mental health condition(s) or illness(es) that last or are expected to last 12 months or more, and which limit their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Due to these changes, care needs to be taken when considering long-term trends.

More detail can be found on pages 34-36 in the 2015/16 Households Below Average Incomes technical report.

Additional living costs of disabled people

Some illnesses and disabilities incur additional living costs. The poverty measure does not normally consider this. However, the analysis shown in Figure 20 uses an adjusted poverty rate that partly accounts for additional living costs for those households where someone receives disability benefits.

Research shows that additional costs associated with disability vary greatly in level and nature. There is no general agreement on how to measure these costs.

The analysis in Figure 20 excludes Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payments from total household income. These benefits are paid as a contribution towards the additional living costs for disabled people. If this income is excluded from total household income, then we are able to compare households with and without a disabled household member on a more like for like basis.

Figure 20: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 20a: Proportion of people in relative poverty (disability benefits removed from household income) after housing costs, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Someone disabled 33% 35% 36% 38% 36% 34% 32% 31% 30% 29% 29% 29% 27% 27% 26% 27% 27% 27% 27% 28% 30% 29% 29% 26%
No-one disabled 21% 20% 19% 19% 19% 19% 18% 17% 16% 16% 16% 16% 16% 16% 15% 14% 14% 14% 15% 15% 16% 16% 16% 16%
Table 20b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Someone disabled 1,931 2,894 2,728 2,766 2,874 3,076 4,192 5,356 6,239 6,163 5,802 5,800 5,597 5,467 5,420 5,102 4,769 4,218 4,170 4,049 4,081 4,032 4,156 4,220 3,455
No-one disabled 3,553 5,211 4,970 4,813 4,752 5,019 6,831 8,647 10,219 9,994 9,535 9,292 9,142 9,219 9,022 8,283 7,383 6,532 6,107 5,746 5,515 5,337 5,365 5,126 4,315

Excluding disability benefits from the analysis changes the poverty threshold. This is because some households now have a lower income, which lowers the median and therefore also the poverty threshold. As a consequence, some households without a disabled person that were just below the poverty threshold in the previous analysis will now be above the threshold. As a result, the poverty rate for households without a disabled person is slightly lower.

Income

Income inequality

Palma

Palma

The Palma ratio of income inequality is the total income of the top ten percent of the population divided by the total income of the bottom forty percent of the population (written as a percentage). It is commonly used to estimate how much more income top-income households have compared to those at the bottom.

The Palma ratio is usually calculated from income before housing costs, but we have included it for after-housing-costs income as well. After-housing-costs incomes are distributed more unequally.

Figure 21: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 21a: Palma ratio of income inequality, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Before housing costs 112% 114% 115% 121% 126% 126% 122% 116% 113% 113% 115% 123% 129% 133% 127% 122% 116% 115% 114% 121% 124% 127% 123% 121% 115%
After housing costs 128% 131% 134% 141% 147% 146% 141% 133% 131% 131% 134% 144% 152% 157% 150% 143% 137% 137% 136% 144% 148% 151% 146% 143% 135%
Table 21b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
All 8,299 8,105 7,698 7,579 7,626 8,095 11,023 14,003 16,458 16,157 15,337 15,092 14,739 14,686 14,442 13,385 12,152 10,750 10,277 9,795 9,596 9,369 9,521 9,346 7,770

Income decile shares are also available in the associated tables.

Gini

Gini

The Gini coefficient measures income inequality on a scale from 0% to 100%. A Gini of 100% means that only one person has an income, and everyone else has none. A Gini of 0% means that everyone has the same income.

Figure 22: The most recent estimate is unreliable - do not use
Table 22a: Gini coefficient of income inequality, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Measure 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
Before housing costs 31% 31% 31% 32% 33% 32% 32% 31% 30% 31% 31% 32% 33% 33% 33% 32% 31% 31% 31% 32% 32% 33% 32% 32% 31%
After housing costs 33% 34% 34% 35% 36% 35% 35% 34% 33% 34% 34% 35% 36% 37% 36% 35% 34% 34% 34% 35% 36% 36% 36% 35% 34%
Table 22b: Number of families in each group in the combined three-year survey sample, Scotland
Source: Family Resources Survey
Group 1994-97 1995-98 1996-99 1997-00 1998-01 1999-02 2000-03 2001-04 2002-05 2003-06 2004-07 2005-08 2006-09 2007-10 2008-11 2009-12 2010-13 2011-14 2012-15 2013-16 2014-17 2015-18 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21
All 8,299 8,105 7,698 7,579 7,626 8,095 11,023 14,003 16,458 16,157 15,337 15,092 14,739 14,686 14,442 13,385 12,152 10,750 10,277 9,795 9,596 9,369 9,521 9,346 7,770

Data source

All the figures in this publication come from the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Households Below Average Income dataset, which is produced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). UK figures are published by DWP in Households Below Average Income on the same day as Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland. For the UK figures, as well as more detail about the way these figures are collected and calculated, see the DWP website.

What does HBAI measure?

Households Below Average Income (HBAI) uses household disposable incomes, adjusted for the household size and composition, as a proxy for material living standards. More precisely, it is a proxy for the level of consumption of goods and services that people could attain given the disposable income of the household in which they live.

The unit of analysis is the individual, so the populations and percentages in the tables are numbers and percentages of individuals - both adults and children.

Data is collected during the financial year, so between April and March of the following year. Statistics are usually published in March, a year after the end of the data collection.

The living standards of an individual depend not only on his or her own income, but also on the income of others in the household. Consequently, the analyses are based on total household income: the equivalised income of a household is taken to represent the income level of every individual in the household. Equivalisation, a technique that allows comparison of incomes between households of different sizes and compositions, is explained in the Definitions section. Thus, all members of any one household will appear at the same point in the income distribution.

Revision of the data

In 2021, previously published datasets underwent a minor methodological revision to capture all income from child maintenance. This led to small changes in household income and small adjustments to some poverty estimates. Therefore, some poverty and income estimates that were published in 2021 and after may not exactly match previously published estimates for 1994/95 to 2019/20. The revision did not affect any trends in poverty or household income.

Population coverage

The Family Resources Survey is a survey of private households. This means that people in residential institutions, such as nursing homes, barracks, prisons or university halls of residence, and also homeless people are excluded from the scope of the analysis presented here. The area of Scotland north of the Caledonian Canal was included in the FRS for the first time in the 2001/02 survey year, and from the 2002/03 survey year, the FRS was extended to include a 100 percent boost of the Scottish sample. This has increased the sample size available for analysis at the Scottish level. In 2002/03, the sample size was around five thousand. However, following cost savings introduced to the FRS in 2010, the sample size in Scotland has reduced. It was just over 2,800 households in 2020/21. For further information see the DWP Households Below Average Income publication.

Reliability of estimates

The figures are estimates based on sample surveys and are therefore subject to sampling variation. Caution should be exercised in the interpretation of small year-on-year fluctuations. Identification of trends should be based on data for several years. Estimates for the confidence intervals around the key figures presented are available.

The method used to calculate these confidence intervals changed in 2015/16. Information on this can be found in DWP’s statistical notice (pdf). The new method widens confidence intervals for most estimates making statistically significant results less likely than before.

The Family Resources Survey publication contains information on topics such as sample design, non-response biases, weighting; item non-response, imputation and editing; accuracy of income data.

Detailed methodology

More detailed information on definitions and methodology can be found on the Scottish Government’s poverty methodology pages and in DWP’s Households Below Average Income publication.

Housing costs

It could be argued that the costs of housing faced by different households at a given time do not always match the true value of the housing that they actually enjoy, and that housing costs should therefore be deducted from any definition of disposable income. However, any measure of income defined in this way would understate the relative standard of living of those individuals who were actually benefiting from a better quality of housing by paying more for better accommodation. Income growth over time would also understate improvements in living standards where higher costs reflected improvements in the quality of housing.

Conversely, any income measure which does not deduct housing costs may overstate the living standards of individuals whose housing costs are high relative to the quality of their accommodation. Growth over time in income before housing costs could also overstate improvements in living standards for low income groups in receipt of housing benefit, and whose rents have risen in real terms. This is because housing benefit may also rise to offset the higher rents (for a given quality of accommodation) and would be counted as an income rise, although there would be no associated increase in the standard of living.

Therefore, this publication presents analyses on two bases: before housing costs (BHC) and after housing costs (AHC).

Definitions

Household income

The income measure used in HBAI is weekly net (disposable) equivalised household income. This comprises total income from all sources of all household members including dependants. An adjustment is made to sample cases at the top of the income distribution to correct for volatility in the highest incomes captured in the survey.

Income is adjusted for household size and composition by means of equivalence scales, which reflect the extent to which households of different size and composition require a different level of income to achieve the same standard of living. This adjusted income is referred to as equivalised income (see definition below for more information on equivalisation).

Income before housing costs (BHC) includes the following main components:

  • net earnings
  • profit or loss from self-employment (after income tax and National Insurance contributions)
  • all UK and Scottish social security payments, including housing and council tax benefits, tax credits, and the state pension
  • occupational and private pension income
  • investment income
  • maintenance payments
  • top-up loans and parental contributions for students, educational grants and payments
  • the cash value of certain forms of income in kind such as free school meals, free welfare milk and free school milk and free TV licences for the over 75s (where data is available)

Income is net of:

  • income tax payments
  • National Insurance contributions
  • contributions to occupational, stakeholder and personal pension schemes
  • council tax
  • maintenance and child support payments made
  • parental contributions to students living away from home

Income after housing costs (AHC) is derived by deducting a measure of housing costs from the above income measure.

Housing costs

Housing costs include the following: rent (gross of housing benefit); water rates; mortgage interest payments; structural insurance premiums; ground rent and service charges.

Income sources

The analysis on income sources is the only analysis in this report not using net income. This analysis is based on income before taxes from employment or self-employment, social security payments, investment, occupational pensions and other income. In some cases, income from self-employment was negative in a year, for example, when someone in self-employment made a loss. In these cases, total income from earnings was set to zero. Negative investment income was also set to zero.

Real prices

Unless otherwise stated, all figures relating to income are in 2020/21 prices. Values from previous years are uprated to account for inflation using a variant of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This follows a change in methodology for 2014/15. Prior to this the Retail Price Index (RPI) was used.

Full details can be found at this link: Methodological changes to poverty statistics (pdf)

Equivalisation

Equivalisation is the process by which household income is adjusted to take into account variations in the size and composition of the households in which individuals live. This reflects the common sense notion that, in order to enjoy a comparable standard of living, a household of, for example, three adults will need a higher income than a single person living alone. The process of adjusting income in this way is known as equivalisation and is needed in order to make sensible income comparisons between households.

Equivalence scales conventionally take an adult couple without children as the reference point, with an equivalence value of one. The process then increases relatively the income of single person households (since their incomes are divided by a value of less than one) and reduces relatively the incomes of households with three or more persons, which have an equivalence value of greater than one.

Consider a single person, a couple with no children, and a couple with two children aged fourteen and ten, all having unadjusted weekly household incomes of £200 (Before Housing Costs). The process of equivalisation, as conducted in HBAI, gives an equivalised income of £299 to the single person, £200 to the couple with no children, but only £131 to the couple with children.

The equivalence scales used here are the modified OECD scales. Two separate scales are used, one for income Before Housing Costs (BHC) and the companion scale for income After Housing Costs (AHC).

Table A: Modified OECD equivalence scales, rescaled to a couple without children
Source: Family Resources Survey
Household member Before housing costs After housing costs
First adult 0.67 0.58
Spouse 0.33 0.42
Additional adults 0.33 0.42
Children aged 0-13 0.2 0.2
Children aged 14+ 0.33 0.42

The construction of household equivalence values from these scales is quite straightforward. For example, the BHC equivalence value for a household containing a couple with a fourteen year old and a ten year old child together with one other adult would be 1.86 from the sum of the scale values:

0.67 + 0.33 + 0.33 + 0.33 + 0.20 = 1.86

This is made up of 0.67 for the first adult, 0.33 for their spouse, the other adult and the fourteen year old child and 0.20 for the ten year old child. The total income for the household would then be divided by 1.86 in order to arrive at the measure of equivalised household income used in HBAI analysis.

Further information on equivalisation can be found in the methodology report on the Scottish Government website.

Poverty measurement

Individuals are defined as being in poverty if their equivalised net disposable household income is below 60 percent of the UK median. The median is the income value which divides a population, when ranked by income, into two equal sized groups. Since the mean is influenced considerably by the highest incomes, median income thresholds are widely accepted as a better benchmark when considering a derived measure for poverty. Sixty percent of the median is the most commonly used poverty measure.

For a couple with no children, the UK median income before housing costs in 2018-21 was £543 per week, compared to £535 in the previous period. After housing costs, the UK median also increased from £483 in the previous period to £493 per week.

Consequently, the 60 percent poverty threshold, which is used to derive the low income household figures, has also increased in real terms, before and after housing costs. This means a household has to have a larger income in real terms to be above the poverty threshold.

Relative and absolute poverty

  • Absolute poverty - individuals living in households whose equivalised income is below 60 percent of inflation-adjusted median income in 2010/11. This is a measure of whether those in the lowest income households are seeing their incomes rise in real terms.
  • Relative poverty - individuals living in households whose equivalised income is below 60 percent of median income in the same year. This is a measure of whether those in the lowest income households are keeping pace with the growth of incomes in the economy as a whole.

Child material deprivation

A suite of questions designed to capture the material deprivation experienced by households with children has been included in the Family Resources Survey since 2004/05. Respondents are asked whether they have 21 goods and services, including child, adult and household items. The list of items was identified by independent academic analysis (pdf, McKay, S. and Collard, S. (2004)). Together, these questions form a discriminator between those households with children that are deprived and those that are not. If they do not have a good or service, they are asked whether this is because they do not want them or because they cannot afford them.

These questions are used as an additional way of measuring living standards for children and their households.

A prevalence weighted approach has been used, in combination with a relative low income threshold. The income threshold is 70 percent of the median income. Prevalence weighting is a technique of scoring deprivation in which more weight in the deprivation measure is given to households lacking those items that most in the population already have. This means a greater importance, when an item is lacked, is assigned to those items that are more commonly owned in the population.

Changes to measuring material deprivation in 2010/11

The 21 items in the suite of questions used to measure material deprivation are designed to reflect the items and activities people in the UK believe to be necessary. These items are reviewed periodically to ensure the measure remains a relative measure of poverty. In 2010/11, four new questions about additional items were included in the FRS to be used in the future calculation of material deprivation scores, replacing the four existing items that were identified by research as potentially out of date partly because the proportion of the population considering them necessary had fallen. As such, there is a break in the series for child low income/material deprivation and estimates from 2010/11 onwards cannot be compared to those from before 2010/11.

In the 2010/11 FRS, both the new and the old questions were asked. As such, single-year estimates are presented based on both sets of questions for this year.

For further information about material deprivation see the DWP Households Below Average Income publication.

Pensioner material deprivation

A suite of questions designed to capture the material deprivation experienced by pensioner households has been included in the Family Resources Survey since 2009/10. Respondents are asked whether they have access to 15 goods and services. The list of items was identified by independent academic analysis. See:

Together, these questions form the best discriminator between those pensioner households that are deprived and those that are not.

Where they do not have a good or service, pensioner households are asked whether this is because they do not have the money for this, it is not a priority on their current income, their health / disability prevents them, it is too much trouble or tiring, they have no one to do this with or help them, it is not something they want, it is not relevant to them, or any other reason. Where a pensioner lacks one of the material deprivation items for one of the following reasons - they do not have the money for this, it is not a priority for them on their current income, their health / disability prevents them, it is too much trouble or tiring, they have no one to do this with or help them, or any other reason - they are counted as being deprived for that item.

The exception to this is for the question on whether they could cover an unexpected expense, where the follow up question was asked to explore how those who responded ‘yes’ would cover this cost. Options were: use own income but cut back on essentials, use own income but not need to cut back on essentials, use savings; use a form of credit, get money from friends or family, or any other reason. Pensioners are counted as materially deprived for this item if and only if they responded ‘no’ to the initial question.

The same prevalence weighted approach has been used to that for children, in determining a deprivation score. Prevalence weighting is a technique of scoring deprivation in which more weight in the deprivation measure is given to households lacking those items that most already have. This means a greater importance, when an item is lacked, is assigned to those items that are more commonly owned in the pensioner population.

For children, material deprivation is presented as an indicator in combination with a low income threshold. However for pensioners, the concept of material deprivation is broad and very different from low income; therefore, it is appropriate to present it as a separate measure.

A technical note giving a full explanation of the pensioner material deprivation measure is available for download.

Food security

The Family Resources Survey collected household food security information for the first time in 2019/20. The questions were adopted from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Adult Food Security Survey Module (pdf), using a 30-day reference period, and using the same food security levels (“high”, “marginal”, “low”, “very low”).

The food security analysis in this report excludes shared households, such as a house shared by a group of professionals. These respondents may not have insight into the food security status of others in their household and may not regularly share financial information.

Previously, data on household food insecurity in Scotland had been collected by the Scottish Health Survey. The measure in this report is different from the one from the Scottish Health Survey, because it is based on different questions, which are asked in a different context, using a different sample of the population, and refer to a different period of time. Therefore, these measures cannot be directly compared.

Dependent children

In this publication, ‘child’ refers to a dependent child. A dependent child is a person aged 0-15, or a person aged 16-19 and: not married nor in a Civil Partnership nor living with a partner, and living with their parents, and in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training.

Single parents

Family types are becoming increasingly complex. In this publication, ‘single parents’ and ‘single mothers’ refer to a situation where the primary residence of a dependent child is in a household with one adult. Data for single fathers is not available due to small sample sizes. This household type does not necessarily imply that the child only has contact with one parent. The child may have non-resident parents who contribute to their welfare. Income transfers from a non-resident parent to the resident parent (such as Child Maintenance payments) are included in the household income.

Shared households

A shared household is a household where the household reference person is unclear or arbitrary, such as a group of students, unrelated adults etc., where the household is being shared on an equal basis. Households where adult children are living with their parents or where there are lodgers, but the owner lives in the household, are both not considered shared households for the purposes of this definition.

Find more information

Tables and further analysis

This analytical report contains poverty, child poverty and household income time series. Associated tables are available for download and contain:

  • all estimates used in the charts
  • additional estimates, for example, the equivalent before-housing-costs estimates where charts show after-housing-costs estimates only (where available)
  • additional relative and severe poverty and child poverty estimates including numbers, rates and compositions of those in poverty disaggregated by a wide range of personal and household characteristics

Additional analysis themes are based on the needs of users. If you have any suggestions for future analysis please contact us.

Local poverty analysis

The main poverty data source, the Family Resources Survey, provides information at national level only. Alternative data sources are not directly comparable with the official poverty estimates presented in this report.

More information on local poverty and income analysis from alternative data sources is available.

Persistent poverty

New figures on persistent poverty were published on 31 March 2022.

Persistent poverty identifies the number of individuals living in relative poverty for 3 or more of the last 4 years. It therefore identifies people who have been living in poverty for a significant period of time, the rationale being that this is more damaging than brief periods spent with a low income, with the impacts affecting an individual through their lifetime.

One of the four statutory child poverty target measures is persistent child poverty after housing costs.

These figures come from the Understanding Society survey which tracks individuals over time. The persistent poverty figures are not directly comparable to the figures in this publication as they use different income definitions and cover different time periods, but they provide useful additional information on poverty in Scotland.

Previous reports

Previously published Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland and Persistent Poverty in Scotland reports are available. Note that the latest Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland National Statistics were published in 2021, while the latest Persistent Poverty in Scotland Offical Statistics were published in 2022.

Scottish Government websites

Further analysis based on the FRS and HBAI datasets is published by the Scottish Government throughout the year on the Scottish Government’s poverty and child poverty statistics webpages. These and other Scottish Government statistics are available here:

National Statistics

This report is not designated as official statistics of any kind. It was produced to show what the estimates would look like if the most recent year was included. However, the most recent data collection was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we consider the Scottish data as unreliable.

Official and National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Both undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.

Statistics assessed, or subject to assessment, by the UK Statistics Authority carry the National Statistics label, a stamp of assurance that the statistics have been produced and explained to high standards and that they serve the public good.

The designation of the Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland Official Statistics report as National Statistics was confirmed in May 2012 following a compliance check by the Office for Statistics Regulation.

Access source data

The data collected for this report cannot be made available by Scottish Government for further analysis, as the Scottish Government is not the data controller. However, the data controller (the UK Department for Work and Pensions) are making the data available through the UK Data Service.