Some facts on poverty in the UK

FYI, here are some hard data on UK poverty, with links to the original sources (unfiltered by pro/anti-Tory newspapers, think tanks, or UN rapporteurs…).

First, trends in inequality and child poverty in the UK (before the pandemic, obviously, but also before the surge in government spending on job subsidies and welfare payments). (Source)

Second, a bit more from the ONS on different measures of income inequality. (Source)

Third, the same again for wealth inequality (a small increase overall, with rising property wealth inequality and a smaller increase in financial wealth inequality largely offset by a reduction in pension wealth inequality). (Source)

Fourth, an international comparison of income inequality, using the OECD’s definition of ‘child poverty rates’ (the ratio of the number of people in a given age group whose household income is less than half the median income of the total population). (Source)

Fifth, another international comparison, this time the EU’s measure of ‘severe material deprivation’ (a gauge of absolute poverty, explained further in the link). (Source)

Finally, an ONS comparison of the UK and EU data on ‘persistent poverty’. (Source)

Obviously, please make up your own minds, but my main takeaways are that i) UK inequality has been little changed for many years, while absolute poverty has been falling, and ii) while both are still higher than in many other countries, notably in Scandinavia, the UK is not the international outlier that many seem to think.

PS. it’s harder to find comparable international data on the use of food banks, but here’s something I wrote on this in a blog last year…

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