Poverty: Ethnic Groups

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children from an (a) Black Caribbean, (b) Black African, (c) Black other, (d) Indian, (e) Pakistani, (f) Bangladeshi, (g) other Asian, (h) Chinese, (i) other ethnic minority and (j) mixed race background resident in (i) the East Midlands, (ii) Leicester and (iii) England are living in severe poverty.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

Between 1998-99 and 2007-08, some 500,000 children were lifted out of relative poverty as measured using the European Union standard definition based on 60 per cent. of median income. Measures announced in and since Budget 2007 are expected to lift around a further 550,000 children out of poverty. Absolute poverty has been halved.

Child poverty statistics, published in the households below average income series, only allow a breakdown at country level of the overall number of children in relative poverty by ethnic group. This means information for (i) East Midlands and (ii) Leicester is not available.

The ethnic groupings used in the table are the lowest level of breakdown available for the groups requested. This is because some of the groups asked for in the question have sample sizes which are too small to be reliable. Data are presented as three-year averages, due to variability in single-year estimates.

There is no official or agreed definition of severe poverty. The households below average income series presents a range of low-income thresholds (based on 50, 60 and 70 per cent. of median income). Figures for England looking at the number of children in households below 60 per cent. of median are given in the table. Statistics based on other thresholds are given in the Households Below Average Income publication, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Numbers of children living in Black Caribbean, Black Non-Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, Chinese and other groups, and mixed race background households with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income before housing costs, England, 2005-06 to 2007-08
Ethnic group Number of children (millions)
Black Caribbean (1)-
Black Non-Caribbean 0.1
Indian 0.1
Pakistani and Bangladeshi 0.3
Chinese and other groups 0.1
Mixed race background (1)-
(1) Indicates less than 50,000 children.


1. These statistics are based on households below average income, sourced from the Family Resources Survey. Both the households below average income series and the Family Resources Survey are available in the Library.

2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for households below average income figures are single financial years. Three survey year averages are given for ethnic group statistics as single year estimates are subject to volatility.

4. Household ethnic group has been classified according to the ethnic group of the household reference person. The household reference person is classified as the highest income householder without regard to gender. This is consistent with the households below average income publication.

5. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication "Households Below Average Income" series, which uses net disposable household income, adjusted (or 'equivalised') for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

6. For the households below average income series, incomes have been equivalised using organisation for economic co-operation and development equivalisation factors.

7. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand children.


Households Below Average Income, 2005-06 to 2007-08.

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