Key points

  • Of the 1.7 million adults aged 16 to 24 in low-income households, 1.1 million are single adults without children.  This is a much greater proportion than that for any of the other age groups.
  • Four-fifths of lone parents in low-income households are aged 25 or older, with only a fifth being under 25.
  • Of the 1.6 million adults aged 34 to 42 in low-income households, 1 million are in families where someone is working and most of these are couples with children.  At 45%, working couples with children are a much greater proportion of the adults aged 34-42 in low-income households than that for any of the other age groups.
  • Of the 1.2 million adults aged 52 to 60 in low-income households, 600,000 have a disabled adult in the family and most of these are workless.  At 35%, workless families with someone who is disabled are a much greater proportion of the adults aged 52-60 in low-income households than that for any of the other age groups.

Why this indicator was originally chosen

The mix of adults in low-income households by such factors as family type, work status and disability status varies by age.

Definitions and data sources

The first, third and fourth graphs show the number of adults aged 16 to 60 who are living in low-income households, with the data broken down into five equal age groups, namely 16-24, 25-33, 34-42, 43-51 and 52-60.

In the first graph, the data is further broken down by family type (i.e. whether the family is a couple or single and whether or not there are dependent children).

In the third graph, the data is further broken down by family work status (i.e. whether or not anyone is working) and family type.

In the fourth graph, the data is further broken down by family disability status (i.e. whether or not any of the adults is disabled) and family work status.

The second graph shows the proportions of lone parents who are living in low-income households by age group.  For comparison purposes, the equivalent data for mothers in couples is also shown.

The data source for all the graphs is Households Below Average Income, based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS) and the data related to the United Kingdom.  All data is the average for the years 2004/05 to 2006/07.  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.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: high.  The FRS is a well-established government survey, designed to be representative of the population as a whole.

Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements

None directly relevant.

The numbers

Graph 1

Family typeMillions
16-24 25-33 34-42 43-51 52-60
Singles without children1.1M 0.4M 0.3M 0.4M 0.5M
Singles with children0.2M 0.2M 0.3M 0.2M 0.0M
In couples without children0.2M 0.2M 0.1M 0.3M 0.6M
In couples with children0.2M 0.6M 0.9M 0.5M 0.1M

Graph 2

Year Proportions in low-income households
16-24 25-40 41-59
Single mothers 21% 51% 28%
Mothers in couples 13% 58% 29%

Graph 3

Year Proportions in low-income households
16-24 25-33 34-42 43-51 52-60
Someone working - couples with children0.2M 0.5M 0.7M 0.4M 0.1M
Someone working - other family types0.5M 0.4M 0.3M 0.4M 0.5M
No one working - couples with children0.1M 0.1M 0.2M 0.1M 0.0M
No one working - other family types1.0M 0.4M 0.4M 0.4M 0.6M

Graph 4

Year Proportions in low-income households
16-24 25-33 34-42 43-51 52-60
Someone disabled - no one working0.2M 0.2M 0.3M 0.3M 0.5M
Someone disabled - someone working0.0M 0.1M 0.1M 0.2M 0.2M
No one disabled - no one working0.9M 0.4M 0.3M 0.2M 0.2M
No one disabled - someone working0.6M 0.7M 0.9M 0.6M 0.4M