Location of low income
Graphs on this page:
- Data on rates of low income is not available at a sub-regional level. This is partly because the sample sizes of the relevant survey (the Family Resources Survey) are nowhere near sufficient to provide such estimates and partly because the survey is not designed to be representative at a sub-regional level. 1 The analysis in this indicator therefore has to use different data, namely data about benefit recipiency. As discussed below, however, such statistics are likely to underestimate the relative prevalence of low income in rural areas, and this should be borne in mind when looking at the results.
- For people of working-age, the only directly relevant available data relates to those in receipt of out-of-work benefits. However, as a) this does not include anyone who is in low income because they are low paid and b) it includes everyone in receipt of out-of-work disability benefits even though they are not means-tested, variations in its geographic prevalence are not necessarily a good proxy for variations in the geographic prevalence of low-income working-age people. 2 For example, the proportion of low-income people who are in working families (as opposed to workless ones) is much higher in rural areas than in urban areas, at least in England (see the indicator on low income by work status in rural England). As a result, the relative ranking of rural areas by benefit recipiency will tend to place them lower in the rankings than would be the case for low income.
- The proportion of working-age people in receipt of out-of-work benefits is more than twice as high in Glasgow, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire than in some other parts of Scotland.
- For people of pensionable age, the best sub-regional data relates to those in receipt of the guaranteed Pension Credit. As this is a means-tested benefit available to most low-income pensioners, variations in its geographic prevalence should be a reasonably good proxy for variations in the geographic prevalence of low-income pensioners. It does, however, have one potential bias due to the fact that non-take-up rate for this benefit is much higher for those in owner occupation than for those in rented accommodation (see the UK indicator on take-up of benefits by older people). As a result, the relative ranking of areas with relatively little rented accommodation (e.g. rural areas) will tend to place them lower in the rankings than would be the case for low income.
- People in receipt of guaranteed Pension Credit is the best indicator available for the geographic distribution of low income among pensioners. More than twice as many people are in receipt of guaranteed Pension Credit in Glasgow than in most of the rest of Scotland.
Definitions and data sources
There is no direct data on the location of low income people within Scotland. In this context, this indicator looks at the location of people who are reliant on the state for their income.
For all the graphs and maps, the data is for the month of February of the latest year.
The first graph shows how the proportion of the working-age population who are in receipt of a key out-of-work benefit varies by local authority. The map shows the same data but by data zone.
‘Key out-of-work benefits’ is a DWP term which covers the following benefits: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Carer’s Allowance. Note that this list is slightly different from ‘key benefits’, which also include Disability Living Allowance.
The second graph shows how the proportion of people aged 60 and over in receipt of the guaranteed part of Pension Credit varies by local authority. The map shows the same data but by data zone and using the number of people of pensionable age as the denominator (estimates of the numbers of people aged 60 and over not being available at a data zone level).
The data source for both the graphs and maps is the DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. The data has been analysed to avoid double-counting of those receiving multiple benefits by matching data from individual samples.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: limited. The data is considered to be very reliable but is only an indication of geographic variations in low income.