Poverty rates before and after housing costs by tenure

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Housing costs are a major factor in determining whether people are pulled into poverty, with the cost of housing a key driver of poverty for renters in particular. A third (32% or 3.9 million people) of private renters are in poverty, driven by a combination of high housing costs and low-incomes; over half (51%, 2 million people) of private renters in poverty are pulled into poverty by their housing costs, compared to just under four in ten (38%, 1.7m people) of social renters pulled into poverty by housing costs.

The rate of poverty was highest among social renters at 42% (4.4 million people). This reflects the comparatively lower incomes of many people in social renting households (70% are in the bottom 40% of incomes) and the higher costs of paying rent compared to the housing costs for owner occupiers while interest rates were low. The higher rate of poverty in the social rented sector reflects the role of this tenure in housing those in greatest need.

Poverty rates are lowest for those who own outright (14%) and are buying with a mortgage (10%). The vast majority of these households in poverty are in poverty before housing costs, rather than being pulled into poverty by their housing costs.

The data presented here is from our 2023 UK Poverty report, setting out the trends and impacts of poverty across the UK. Read the full report UK Poverty 2023.