Poverty and Inequality

Scotland

National Statistics produce an annual report on poverty in Scotland entitled 'Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland'. The latest report for 2015/16 (published March 2017) is available to view and download from the Scottish Government website.

Key statistics from the 2014/15 report:

  • 17 per cent of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty before housing costs (BHC) in 2015/16, approximately 880 thousand people. This compares to 15 per cent in 2014/15.
  • After housing costs (AHC), 20 per cent of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty in 2015/16 representing 1.05 million people. This compares to 18 per cent in 2014/15.
  • The rates of relative poverty both BHC and AHC have fluctuated over recent years making it difficult to establish the underlying trend.

Income Inequality:

  • Median income in Scotland in 2015/16 was £24,400, equivalent to £468 per week. Median income in Scotland decreased in 2015/16 by £600, equivalent to £11 per week.
  • Income inequality The top 10 per cent of the population had 38 per cent more income in 2015/16 than the bottom 40 per cent combined. This compares to 15 per cent more income in 2014/15.

Persistent Poverty

New statistics on Persistent Poverty in Scotland were published in March 2017. Persistent poverty identifies the number of individuals living in relative poverty for 3 or more of the last 4 years. This report is available for download from the Scottish Government website.

Key statistics from the 2010 – 2015 report:

  • Between 2011 and 2015, 8 per cent of people in Scotland were in persistent poverty before housing costs. This compares to 9 per cent in 2010 to 2014.
  • After housing costs 9 per cent of people in Scotland were in persistent poverty in 2011 to 2015, the same as in the previous period.

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 2015-2016. The latest report available was published on 16 March 2017.

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