Poverty rates by ethnicity

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Poverty rates for the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups are higher than other ethnic groups.

In 2019/20, the poverty rate for the Bangladeshi ethnic group is 53% while it is 48% for the Pakistani ethnic group. This is in sharp contrast to the white group, where it is 19%.

Poverty rates for ethnic minority groups have been higher than the white ethnic group for a long time, although there has been change over time. For a period between 1996/7–2013/14, poverty rates were declining for Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups, while the rates for the white ethnic group have consistently stayed around 20%.

Poverty rates for the Black/African/Caribbean/Black British ethnic group have largely stayed just over 40% for the last 25 years.

The decrease in the poverty rate for people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities is due to rising employment, in particular for women of those ethnic groups. This work will have enabled many families to increase their household income above the poverty line.

However, the highest in-work poverty rates are still found for people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds. More than three times the rate than found for white people. In-work poverty rates are also higher for people from an Other Asian, Black/African/Caribbean/Black British and Other ethnic groups.

Pay has also contributed to higher poverty rates for minority ethnic groups in the UK with many workers from a minority ethnic background having lower wages than white British workers. This is particularly the case for workers who are women.

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.