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Social security

Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09 to 2016/17

The seventh in a series of reports monitoring the number of people living below the Minimum Income Standard.

Written by:
Juliet Stone, Matt Padley and Donald Hirsch
Date published:

It’s not right that many low-income households are shut out of an acceptable standard of living.

This report looks in detail at the family and household characteristics of those below MIS, which is a benchmark for an adequate standard of living in the UK. It focuses in particular on three demographic groups – children, working-age adults and pensioners.

The study shows that:

  • nearly 19 million people are living below MIS, up from 16.5 million in 2008/09
  • nearly three in four children in lone-parent households are below the Minimum Income Standard, slightly above the number in 2008/09
  • while pensioners remain less likely than working-age adults and children to have low income, the number of single pensioners below MIS has risen from one in six to one in four since 2008/09.

JRF recommends that the Government should lift the freeze on working-age tax credits and Universal Credit, so that support keeps up with the rising cost of living.