Skip to main content
Social security

Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09 - 2019/20

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.

Written by:
Matt Padley and Juliet Stone
Date published:

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) is a benchmark of income adequacy based on what the public think people need for a minimum socially acceptable living standard in the UK. This analysis tracks changes in the number of people in households with incomes below MIS.

Key messages

  • In 2019/20, more than a quarter (27.7%) of all individuals in the UK were living in households with incomes below MIS, compared to 26.7% in 2008/09. The proportion of individuals below MIS has fallen in the latest year and is at its lowest since 2009/10.
  • The proportion of individuals with incomes below 75% of MIS in 2019/20 remains slightly above the level reported in 2008/09 (17.1% compared with 16.6%). Individuals with incomes below this level – falling well short of being able to meet their minimum needs – face a greater risk of being materially deprived.
  • One quarter (25.7%) of children are living in households with very low incomes (below 75% of MIS).
  • Around two in five (43.3%) lone parents working full-time are below MIS, while more than three quarters (80%) working either part-time or self-employed are below this level.