Adults claiming key benefits or pension credits

Northern Ireland, the Welsh valleys, the west of Scotland and the former industrial parts of north west and north east England have the highest rates of adult benefit receipt.

The map shows the proportion of adults who receive one of the following benefits – Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Disability Living Allowance and the guarantee part of pension credit. This is a good proxy of income poverty, as it covers both working-age and pensioner incomes. Some of these benefits are means-tested, meaning most people claiming them will be out of work. However some may be in work; people working low numbers of hours can still claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and Disability Living Allowance is based on need rather than means so is paid to people in and out of work.

The local area with the highest rate of receipt of these benefits is Derry in Northern Ireland, where 32.3 per cent of adults claim one of these benefits. In fact, every district in Northern Ireland is above the UK average of 12.5 per cent, and in 11 of the 22 districts, more than one in five adults claims one of these benefits.

There are other parts of the country where levels of claims are high – the Welsh valleys, the east of Scotland and the northern former industrial parts of England. Outside Northern Ireland, the highest levels of receipt of benefits are found in Knowsley, Blackpool, Glasgow, Blaenau Gwent and Middlesbrough.

There are areas with high rates of receipt along the east coast of England, from Durham through Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Kent. Generally the areas on the coast have higher levels of receipt than the rural areas they border inland.

But south of Birmingham there is not one area where the rate of receipt is above 20 per cent. This includes the East End of London which was traditionally seen as a poor area. The highest rate in London is in Barking and Dagenham, in the outer east of the city, where 18 per cent of adults claim one of the benefits listed above.

Proportion of adults receiving an out-of-work benefit or income related pension benefit

about the indicator

The data for this map comes from Nomis for Great Britain and DSDNI and Nisra for Northern Ireland. The benefits data is for February 2015, and the population data is the mid-year estimate for 2014.

Reliability rating: medium. The data is robust at the local level, but as a measure of low income, the lack of an in-work poverty benefit measure is a shortcoming.

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