Overall UK Poverty rates

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More than one in five of the UK population (22%) are in poverty– 14.5 million people.

Of these, 8.1 million are working-age adults, 4.3 million are children and 2.1 million are pensioners.

When we use the term poverty we are using the relative poverty rate (after housing costs) to measure poverty.

Child poverty continues to rise. The latest data tells us that almost one in three children in the UK are living in poverty (31%). Nearly half of children in lone parent families live in poverty, compared with one in four of those in couple families.

Of the working-age adults, lone parents are by far the most likely of any family type to be struggling with poverty. When we look at pensioners, the poverty rate for single pensioners is double that of couple pensioners and almost one in five pensioners overall are living in poverty.

Children have had the highest poverty rates throughout the last 25 years. Twenty five years ago, a third of children lived in poverty. This fell to 28% by 2004/05 and reached its lowest level of 27% in 2010/11 to 2013/14. Since then, child poverty has been rising, reaching 31% in 2019/20. Families with children are more likely to be receiving benefits than families without children, so this pattern reflects changes in employment levels, earnings and benefits.

After the pensioner poverty rate fell dramatically from around 28% and 29% in the mid to late 1990s to 13% in 2012/13 (driven by increasing income from private pensions and increases in benefits), it has edged up ever since and now stands at 18% in the latest data.

The data presented here is from our 2022 UK Poverty report, setting out the trends and impacts of poverty across the UK. Read the full report at UK Poverty 2022.