Poverty and housing tenure

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 12 October 2017

Housing tenure and poverty

What does this chart show?

This graph looks at the number of people in poverty in each housing tenure over time. In the three years to 2015–16, 960,000 private renters, 810,000 social renters, and 490,000 owner-occupiers were in poverty. As a proportion of the total for each group, this means 39% of private renters, 46% of social renters, and 12% of owner-occupiers were in poverty.* This was a remarkable shift in poverty tenure in London, given that the private rented sector’s poverty numbers were still the lowest of the three in 2007–10.

These three tenures have followed different trends in the last few years. In the last five years, there has been a negligible change in the number of social renters in poverty, an increase of 160,000 private renters in poverty, and a fall of 130,000 owner-occupiers in poverty.

There was a large increase in private renters in poverty between 2005–08 and 2009–12, when the number in poverty rose by 370,000. This coincided not only with the tenure overall increasing, but also the proportion of people in the tenure in poverty, from around a third to 43%.

The number in poverty in social rent has declined over a longer period, but has been increasing since 2009–12.

If we look only at those in in-work poverty, 10 years ago, 42% were owner-occupiers. Now only around a fifth are in this tenure (22%), with half the in-work poor living in the private rented sector, 51% up from 28%. 

* Those in shared ownership are counted as owner-occupiers for the purposes of this analysis.