Low income by age group

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • As in Great Britain, children in Northern Ireland are more likely to live in low-income households than adults.
  • Of the 350,000 people in low-income households, half are working-age adults, divided almost equally between those with, and those without, dependent children.  A further third are children while the remaining sixth are pensioners.

Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows the risk of a person being in a low-income household, with the data shown separately for children, pensioners and working-age adults.

The second graph shows a breakdown of those on low income, with the data broken down by children, pensioners and working-age adults with and without dependent children.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years.

The data source for both graphs is Households Below Average Income, based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS).  A child is defined as an individual who is either under 16 or is an unmarried 16- to 18-year-old on a course up to and including A level standard.  Income is disposable household income after deducting housing costs and the low-income threshold is the same as that used elsewhere, namely 60% of British 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.

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 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.