Work and poverty

What does this chart show?

This graph looks at poverty by age and family work status. In the three years to 2015/16, the largest single group in poverty were adults in working families, at 830,000, followed by 540,000 adults in workless families in poverty. There were also 480,000 children in working families in poverty, compared with 220,000 in workless families.

These numbers have changed dramatically over time. Compared with a decade earlier, there are 270,000 more adults in working families in poverty, and 180,000 more children in working families in poverty. Their workless counterparts have fallen by 20,000 and 110,000 respectively. Some changes were more drastic in the preceding decade: the number of pensioners and adults in workless families in poverty fell considerably to 2005–06, but has fallen less since. If we look over just the last five years, there are 180,000 more adults and children in working families in poverty, and 160,000 fewer in workless families in poverty.

A lot more families are in work, however. The number of people in working families has increased by roughly one million every decade, from 4.3 million in 1994–97, to 5.2 million in 2003–06, to 6.3 million in 2013–16. The proportion of Londoners in a working family has increased from 64% to 71% to 75% over these years.

The fall in children in workless families in poverty is almost exactly counterbalanced by an increase in the number of children in working families in poverty.

In 1994–97, 28% of people in poverty in London were either adults or children in working families. This rose to 44% in 2003–06, and is now at 58% of all those in poverty. This figure is even higher for children in poverty, 69% of whom in London are in a working family. Despite this, those in working families are still less likely to be in poverty. 18% of adults and 30% of children in working families are in poverty, compared with 55% of adults and 70% of children in workless families.


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