Lacking consumer durables
Graphs on this page:
- Reflecting the rise in real incomes over time, the proportion of low-income households lacking selected consumer durables has fallen considerably since at least the early 1990s. So for example, 13% of households in the poorest fifth lack a microwave compared to 70% in 1992, 7% lack a freezer compared to 40% in 1992 and 6% lack a washing machine compared to 20% in 1992.
- Nevertheless, these proportions are all still much higher than their equivalents for households on average incomes.
- Although the gap has been narrowing, fewer low-income households lack either a freezer or a washing machine in Scotland than in the United Kingdom as a whole (although not shown in the graph, this is the case for other durables as well). The reasons for this are not clear.
- See the UK indicator on lacking consumer durables.
Definitions and data sources
The first graph shows the proportion of households lacking one or more selected consumer durables, namely microwaves, VCRs, freezers, washing machines and colour televisions. For each item, four pieces of data are shown:
- The proportion of the poorest fifth lacking the item in 1992.
- The proportion of those on average incomes lacking the item in 1992.
- The proportion of the poorest fifth lacking the item in 2008/09.
- The proportion of those on average incomes lacking the item in 2008/09.
The second graph shows the proportion of households who lack either a freezer or a washing machine, two durables that can reasonably be considered to be essential in contemporary society. For each year, three pieces of data are shown.
- The proportion of the poorest fifth lacking at least one of the items.
- The proportion of those of average incomes lacking at least one of the items.
- (For comparison purposes), the proportion of the poorest fifth in the United Kingdom as a whole lacking at least one of the items.
The data source for both graphs is the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). Income is household income, not equivalised (adjusted) to account for differences in household size and composition.
Only the years from 1999 are shown in the second graph. This is because BHPS has included a boost to the Scottish sample since 1999 meaning sample sizes are large enough for results to be considered reasonably reliable.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium. The choice of consumer durables in the analysis is largely driven by the data availability and is somewhat arbitrary.