Poverty and Inequality

Scotland

National Statistics produce an annual report on poverty in Scotland entitled 'Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland'. This publication now presents three year averaged estimates of the percentage of people, children, working age adults and pensioners living in low income households in Scotland, and other statistics on household income and income inequality. The most recent report was published in March 2018 and is available to download and view from the Scottish Government website.

Key statistics from the 2014 - 2017 report:

  • 19% of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2014-17.

Key Trends

  • Poverty rates appear to be rising slowly.
  • Income inequality appears to be rising after a decline following the recession.
  • Median income has reached highest level since reporting began.

Income Inequality:

  • Median income before housing costs in Scotland in 2014-17 was £485 a week. Compared to 2013-17, this is an increase by 2%, equivalent to £10 a week.
  • Income inequality The Palma coefficient measures income inequality. The top 10% of the population in Scotland had 24% more income in 2014-17 than the bottom 40% combined. This compares to 21% more income in 2013-16.

Persistent Poverty

Statistics on Persistent Poverty in Scotland were published in March 2018. 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 2011 – 2016 report:

  • Between 2012 and 2016, 8% of people in Scotland were in persistent poverty before housing costs, the same as in 2011-15.
  • After housing costs, 8% of people in Scotland were in persistent poverty in 2012-16. This compares to 10% 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 low income if their equivalised income is below 60 per cent of median income, while they are said to be in absolute low income if their equivalised income is below 60 per cent of the 2010/11 median income adjusted for inflation.

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