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Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09–2017/18

We all want to live in a society where everyone can thrive and contribute; it’s not right that low-income households are being held back from participating fully in our society.

Written by:
Matt Padley and Juliet Stone
Date published:

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) reflects what members of the public think is needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK today.

This report looks at the proportion of people who fall below this level, and those with incomes below 75% of MIS.

It focuses on three groups: children, working-age adults and pensioners. Children continue to be the most likely of these three groups to be living in a household with an income below that needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

What you need to know

  • Some 18.7 million individuals in the UK are living in households below MIS.
  • Lone parent households, the group with the greatest risk of being below MIS, have seen no significant drop in this risk in recent years, and a small increase in the latest reported year. Nearly three in every four children (72.2%) with lone parents are below the MIS level.
  • Pensioners have seen an increase in the likelihood of being below MIS, but single pensioners have seen the biggest increase. The proportion below this level has increased from 15.8% in 2008/09 to 28.9% in 2017/18.
  • A growing proportion of all households below MIS are those where there is full employment. Of all working-age households below MIS in 2017/18, 17.8% are households where all adults are in work; this compares to 11.8% in 2008/09. At the same time, non-working households represent a declining share of households below MIS, falling from 60.3% in 2008/09 to 48.6% in 2017/18.