Minimum Income Standard

Overview

The Minimum Income Standard measures the level of income needed for what the public regard as a minimum socially acceptable standard of living. This latest Minimum Income Standard London (MIS) research shows that 4 in 10 Londoners can’t afford a minimally decent standard of living. This is 3.6 million Londoners.

What's the issue?

Many Londoners do not have what they need to get by. 28% of Londoners live in poverty. But even people who are not living in poverty, according to the definition used in London’s Poverty Profile, can still be struggling to afford a decent, basic lifestyle.

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) series looks at what the public consider to be a minimum socially acceptable standard of living. The 2019 report found that 4 in 10 Londoners (41%) cannot reach that level.

Do you earn enough for a minimum decent standard of living in London? Find out with our Interactive MIS Calculator.

What are we doing?

We fund the Minimum Income Standard London research series with Loughborough University. The first edition of which was published in 2016.

MIS is based on detailed discussions with members of the public about the goods and services needed for households to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living, which covers essentials and enables participation in society.

The research incorporates the public’s views of how much is needed to meet costs such as food, housing, fuel costs, household goods, childcare and transport. It also looks at basic social and cultural participation, which is an important part of what the public consider a minimum living standard. This includes the opportunity to take part in activities, to have one low-cost one week holiday in the UK per year, to give presents, and to have some modest meals out. 

What have we learnt?

Here are some key findings from the 2019 Minimum Income Standard Report. 

41% of Londoners have an income below the MIS

This means that 3.57 million Londoners are living in households with inadequate income.

Higher living costs such as housing and childcare make reaching an MIS more expensive in London

While some costs in London are similar to other urban areas in the UK, others such as housing and childcare are much more expensive. Consequently, it costs between 15% and 58% more to reach a minimum decent standard of living in London than in the rest of the UK.

Over a million children in London are growing up in households below MIS

Children in lone parent households are far more likely to be living below the level.

A key source of additional costs, the cost of renting in London, has increased substantially in the past five years

While rents at the cheaper end of the rental market in the UK increased by around 10% between 2014 and 2019, in Inner London private rents increased by around 15% and in Outer London by around 20%.

Single working-age adults face the largest difference in cost between living in London and living outside London

Much of this is related to the higher cost of renting privately in London. Rent accounts for 44% of the total minimum household budget in Inner London, 40% in Outer London and 29% outside London.

Around a third of pensioners living in London have incomes below MIS

This is up from a quarter in 2011.

Where can I find out more about the Minimum Income Standard?