Rural England

Low income by age group

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • For both children and working-age adults, the proportion who are living in low-income households is much lower in rural districts than in urban districts.  For people of pensionable age, however, the proportion who are living in low-income households in rural districts is similar to that for urban districts.
  • As in urban districts, children in rural districts are more likely than adults to live in low-income households.
  • The proportion of people in low-income households who are pensioners is higher in rural districts than in urban districts: around one in five compared with one in eight.
  • To see how the proportions who are in low-income households has changed over time, see the indicators on children, working-age-adults and older people.
  • See the UK indicator on low income by age group.

Rural/urban ratios (urban = 10)

On most poverty and social exclusion indicators, rural areas have ‘better scores’ than urban areas. The purpose of the table below is to differentiate between those subjects where rural areas are ‘a bit better’ and those where rural areas are ‘a lot better’. It does so by presenting the rural statistics for the indicator as a proportion of the urban statistics. So, for example, a rural ‘score’ of 6 in the table below means that the rural statistic is around 60% of its urban equivalent.

Type of districtChildrenWorking-age adultsPensioners
'Very rural' districts7 7 9
'Mostly rural' districts7 7 9
'Part rural' districts7 7 8

Definitions and data sources

The graphs

For each type of local authority district, the first graph shows the proportion of people who are in households with low incomes, with the data shown separately by age group.  The low-income threshold used is 60% of UK median household income.  For a discussion on why this threshold has been used, and possible alternative thresholds, see the page on choices of thresholds.  Income is net disposable household income, after deducting housing costs.  All the data is equivalised (adjusted) to account for differences in household size and composition.

For each type of local authority district, the second graph shows the distribution of people in low-income households by age group.

Level of the data

Lower tier local authorities (districts), as classified by the DEFRA 2009 classification system.  Both the DEFRA classification rules and their results by local authority can be found on the page on rural/urban classification systems.


Households Below Average Income, DWP.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the last three years.

The numbers

Type of district Children Working-age adults Pensioners
Rates Numbers Rates Numbers Rates Numbers
'Very rural' districts24% 300,000 17% 500,000 17% 200,000
'Mostly rural' districts25% 400,000 16% 700,000 18% 300,000
'Part rural' districts24% 400,000 17% 700,000 16% 200,000
Urban districts35% 2.4 million 24% 4.5 million 19% 1,000,000