Low income and disability

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Over the period 2006/07 to 2008/09, 30% of disabled working-age adults in Northern Ireland were living in low-income households (around 40,000 people).  This is double the rate for non-disabled adults in Northern Ireland.
  • Over the same period in Great Britain, the comparable rates were 33% for disabled working-age adults and 19% for non-disabled adults.  This means that the rates for both disabled and non-disabled working-age adults are somewhat lower in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain.

Definitions and data sources

The graph shows the proportion of adults aged 16 to retirement living in low-income households, with the data shown separately for disabled and non-disabled adults.  For comparison purposes, the equivalent data for Great Britain is also shown.

The data source is Households Below Average Income, based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS).  Income is disposable household income after deducting housing costs and the low-income threshold is the same as that used elsewhere, namely 60% of contemporary median household income.  All the data is equivalised (adjusted) to account for differences in household size and composition.  The self-employed are included in the statistics.  Note that in 2007 DWP made some technical changes to how it adjusted household income for household composition (including retrospective changes) and, as a result, the data is slightly different than previously published figures.  The averaging over three-year periods has been done to improve statistical reliability.

Where the household contains two adults, one disabled but the other not, and one in the 16 to retirement age group but the other not, it is not possible to tell from the data which of the two adults is disabled.  In such cases, the assumption has been made that half of the disabled adults are in the 16 to retirement age group.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The FRS is a well-established annual government survey designed to be representative of the population as a whole and the Northern Ireland sample has been boosted to improve sample sizes.  However, the same size for disabled people is still small.  Furthermore, the Northern Irish sample is a recent addition to the survey and is yet to be fully quality assured by the Department of Work and Pensions.