Lacking essentials

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Very few people in Northern Ireland cannot afford either particular consumer durables (3%), selected items of food (4%), outings and other activities (6%) or selected items of clothing (6%).  These small proportions still mean that there are thousands of people in this situation in Northern Ireland (5% of the population equating to 85,000 people); these numbers are, however, far lower than the number of people in low income.
  • By contrast, one fifth of the population cannot afford ‘directly money-related’ items, including access to a pension, money to replace worn out furniture or money for a holiday.
  • Just over half of all households lacked, because they could not afford, at least one essential item; 40% lacked two or more, and 33% lacked three or more.
  • In households with children, just under half of all the children lacked, because their parents could not afford, at least one item deemed essential for children; 27% lacked two or more, and 20% lacked three or more.  Taken together with the previous point, this appears to suggest that children are somewhat less likely than adults to lack essentials.

Definitions and data sources

The graphs in this indicator look at the proportion of households who ‘do not have because they cannot afford’ particular kinds of ‘essential’ items and activities.  ‘Do not have because they cannot afford’ means that the households lacks the item/activity due to hardship rather than choice.  ‘Essential’ means that more than half of the population consider the item/activity to be a necessity in contemporary society.

For each of forty essential items/activities, the first graph shows the proportion of households who do not have them because they cannot afford them.

The second graph groups these forty items into six groups, namely money-related, clothes, activities, related to the home, food and consumer durables.  For each group, the graph shows the average proportion of households who do not have an item/activity in the group.  So, for example, the 3.6% figure for ‘food’ is the average of the 4.8%, 3.3% and 2.7% proportions for ‘fresh fruit and vegetables every day’, ‘meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day’ and ‘roast dinner once a week’ from the first graph.

The third graph shows the proportion of households who lack because they cannot afford a particular number of essential items/activities.  So, for example, 33% of households lack at least three of the items/activities.

The data source for all the graphs is a once-off survey entitled Poverty and Social Exclusion in Northern Ireland, 2002/03 (the dataset for which is no longer publicly available).