Grouped into six categories – income, children, young adults, adults, older people and communities – the indicators consider both trends over time and differences within the population. This year’s report finds that:
- The number of people living in households below half-average income in 1998/99 (after housing costs) is at a historic high of 14 million.
- There were 4½ million children in such households - a third of all children.
- Housing continues to improve, with overall levels of overcrowding almost halved over the last ten years.
- Health inequalities persist, with the general improvements in premature deaths being less pronounced in those areas with the poorest health.
- The proportion of 11-year-olds achieving key stage 2 in English and maths has improved across all types of school. Commentaries in each chapter now include a discussion of the key issues and provide a succinct list of the current government initiatives that should have an impact on the indicators.