Wales

Concentrations of worklessness

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • All the statistics below relate to working-age people in receipt of out-of-work benefits (termed ‘claimants’).
  • In the period between February 2000 and February 2008, claimant numbers in the areas with the most claimants were falling, but at a slower rate than those in the areas with the least claimants.  So, for example, the number of claimants in the 15% of small areas with the highest levels of recipiency fell from 100,000 in February 2000 to 90,000 in February 2008 whilst the number in the 50% of small areas with the lowest levels of recipiency fell from 115,000 in February 2000 to 85,000 in February 2008.
  • Between February 2008 and February 2009, however, the number of claimants rose in all types of area.
  • Finally, between February 2009 and February 2011, the number of claimants fell slightly in all types of area.
  • The net result is that, whilst the number of claimants in the areas with the least claimants is still much lower than a decade ago, the number of claimants in the areas with the most claimants is now nearly back to its level of a decade ago.  So, the overall level of geographical concentration of claimants is higher than a decade ago.  In this sense at least, the policies of the last decade have not in general succeeded in reducing the gap between the most deprived areas of Wales and the rest.
  • In February 2011, around a third of all working-age people were receiving out-of-work benefits in the areas with the highest concentrations.  This is twice the rate in areas with average concentrations.
  • 40% of claimants live in a fifth of small areas, whilst the other 60% live outside of these areas.  In other words, a majority of claimants live outside of the high concentration areas.

Definitions and data sources

This indicator shows how the levels of concentration have changed over time, comparing the number of recipients in the tenth of This indicator examines how the pattern of recipiency of key out-of-work benefits by working-age people varies at a small area level  and how these patterns have changed over time.  It does so by placing the 2,000 small areas (‘super output areas’) in Wales into a number of equal groups according to the proportion of their working-age population who are in receipt of such benefits.  The benefits included are Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, and Carer’s Allowance and, if someone is receiving more than one of these benefits, they are only counted once.

The first graph shows how the levels of concentration have changed over time, comparing the number of recipients in the tenth of small areas with the highest levels of recipiency with the half of small areas with the lowest levels of recipiency (where high/low levels of recipiency are defined in terms of the proportion of the working-age population who are recipients).

The second graph shows, for the latest year, the extent to which rates of recipiency vary between small areas and the third graph shows the share of the total recipients who are in each group of small areas.  Note that the denominator in the second graph is the total population aged 16 to 64 (rather than the working-age population) as this is the only age group for which up-to-date population estimates exist.

The data source for all the graphs is the DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study, using small area population estimates from ONS as the denominator.  The data for each year relates to the month of February, with the year 2000 being the earliest for which such data is available.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The underlying data is a full count and is considered to be very reliable.  But the data is a count of people in receipt of key out-of-work benefits rather than a count of people in low income.  So, for example, it excludes all people in low pay and includes all recipients of out-of-work benefits even if they have some private income.