Poverty and Inequality


National Statistics produce an annual report on poverty in Scotland entitled 'Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland'. The latest report for 2014/15 (published June 2016) is available to view and download from the Scottish Government website.

Key statistics from the 2014/15 report: 

  • 15% of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty, before housing costs (BHC), in 2014/15, an increase from 14% the previous year. In 2014/15, 800 thousand people were living in relative poverty BHC, 70 thousand more than the previous year.
  • After housing costs (AHC), 18% of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty, the same as the previous year. In 2014/15, 940,000 people were living in relative poverty AHC, the same as the previous year.

Income Inequality:

  • Median income in Scotland in 2014/15 was £24,900, equivalent to £478 per week. Median income in Scotland has increased in 2014/15 and has returned to the previous peak in 2009/10.
  • Income inequality increased in 2014/15. The top 10% of the population had 15% more income in 2014/15 than the bottom 40 per cent combined. This is an increase from 12% more income in 2013/14.

United Kingdom

National Statistics also produce annual reports on poverty in the UK entitled Households Below Average Income (HBAI). The reports look at estimated standards of living as determined by the level of disposable income available in that household. Households are considered to be in relative poverty if they have less than 60% of the median household income.

Income is measured and adjusted to take account of household size and composition – to reflect the fact that a family of several people will need a higher income than a single person to enjoy a comparable living standard.

The reports are available on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website and cover the period from 1994-1995 to 2012/13. The latest report available was published on 28 June 2016.

A report is also published which considers the persistence of low income - that is if a household remains in the lowest income decile for three or more years out of four. The report is titled Low Income Dynamics 1991-2008 and is also available on the DWP website