Working-age households hit hardest by recession

Working-age households without children have seen their incomes hit harder by the recession than any other group, according to a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Young single adults have also suffered compared with others.

The study (the first in an annual series) examined changes in the adequacy of household incomes in the early part of the latest recession, and identified the risk for different groups of being below the minimum income standard (MIS) – defined as the income people need in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK today, based on what members of the public think.     

Key findings

  • The risk of falling below the MIS has risen fastest for people in working-age households without children, from 16 to 19 per cent.
  • For those living in families with children, the risk has stayed stable, but at a higher level than for most other groups, at 31 per cent.
  • For pensioners, the risk of being below the MIS has remained low, rising from 7 to 8 per cent.
  • The greatest change recorded was for young single adults: the risk of a single-person household (age under 35) being below the MIS, already high at 29 per cent in 2008-09, rose sharply to 38 per cent in 2010-11.
  • For people in lone-parent families, a very high risk of being below the MIS fell, from 65 to 60 per cent.
  • Nearly half of all households with less than half the MIS income level in 2010-11 were private tenants.

Source: Matt Padley and Donald Hirsch, Households Below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/9 to 2010/11, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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