Although the number of people in poverty has hardly changed in the last decade, shifts in tenure and work patterns mean that the largest group in poverty is no longer people in workless social renting families, but working private renting ones.

In 2013/14 there were 12.9 million people in poverty in Great Britain with each of the tenure types shown in the graph housing about a third of the total: 4.4 million were in social rented, 4.3 million were in private rented and 4.1 million in owner-occupied accommodation.

Ten years earlier, although the number of people in poverty was only slightly lower at 12.1 million, the distribution of poverty by tenure was very different. In 2003/04 there were as many people in poverty in social rented housing as owner-occupiers, at 4.9 million, accounting for 81 per cent of all people in poverty. Meanwhile, there were only 2.3 million private renters in poverty. So in the last ten years the number of owner-occupiers in poverty has fallen by 800,000, double the fall in the number of social renters in poverty (400,00), while the number of private renters in poverty has risen by 2 million.

Within this shift in poverty by tenure there have also been changes by work status. The fall in the number of owner-occupiers in poverty was consistent across those in working, workless and pension-age families. For private renters the shift was in the opposite direction with the number in poverty rising regardless of work status. The biggest increase here has been in the number in working families, rising by 1.4 million (accounting for 72 per cent of the increase in poverty among private renters).

Among social renters the number in pension-age families in poverty fell by 290,000 and the biggest fall was among those in workless families of 640,000, but this was largely countered by a rise of 500,000 in the number of people in poverty in working families.

Taking these work, tenure and poverty shifts together, the picture in 2003/04 was markedly different to 2013/14. Ten years ago the largest work tenure group in poverty was the 2.9 million people in workless social renting families, followed by the 2.6 million in working owner-occupied ones. Now the largest work tenure group in poverty is the 2.54 million people in working private renting families, with working owner-occupied ones still the second largest group at 2.5 million. The number of workless social renting families, previously the largest tenure/work group in poverty, is now the third largest at 2.3 million.

Indicator: 41A

Indicator: 41B

about the indicator

The first graph shows the number of people in poverty in each year by their tenure group: owner-occupied, social rented and private rented.

The second graph shows the number of people in poverty in 2003/04 and 2013/14 by tenure. The data is split by family work status: where no one is of working age, where someone is of working age and someone is in work, where someone is of working age and no one is in work.

People are said to be in poverty if their income is below 60 per cent of the median income. Income is disposable household income after housing costs. All data is equivalised (adjusted) to account for household composition.

Reliability rating: high. The data is based on a government published survey with a large sample size.

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