A publication entitled “The Northern Ireland Poverty and Income Inequality report (2021/22)” was published today by the Department for Communities.
The Poverty and Income Inequality report will be produced annually by the Department for Communities and contains statistics on income, income inequality and poverty.
This publication combines information that was previously published in the NI Poverty Bulletin and NI Households Below Average Income report. It provides estimates of the proportion and number of individuals, children, working age adults and pensioners living in poverty, and other statistics relating to household income and income inequality.
The publication uses data from the Family Resources Survey, which is based on an annual sample of approximately 2,000 households. Due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, only 700 households were interviewed in 2020/21, recovering to 1,700 households in 2021/22. As such, only figures relating to the whole population were published for 2020/21, with full reporting restored for 2021/22.
Key findings of the report are summarised below. None of the annual changes presented in the report are statistically significant. Caution should be exercised when interpreting year-on-year fluctuations, with longer term trends often giving a clearer picture.
Whole population – Poverty (Before Housing Costs):
- In 2021/22, 16% of individuals (approx. 300,000 people) were estimated to be living in relative poverty; compared to 17% in 2020/21. The percentage of individuals in absolute poverty in 2021/22 stood at 13% (approx. 249,000 people); compared to 12% in 2020/21.
- Over the last decade, relative poverty has shown a general downward trend, falling from a high of 22% in 2014/15. Over the same period, absolute poverty has fallen by 10 percentage points, from a high of 23% in 2011/12.
Children – Poverty (Before Housing Costs):
- The long-term trend shows that children have a higher risk of living in poverty than the other population groups (all individuals, working-age adults and pensioners).
- The percentage of children living in relative poverty in 2021/22 was 18%; compared to 22% in 2019/20. Children living in absolute poverty fell from 17% to 15% over the same period.
Working-age adults – Poverty (Before Housing Costs):
- In 2021/22 the proportion of working age adults in relative poverty was 14%; the same as in 2019/20. The absolute poverty rate for working age adults changed from 11% in 2019/20 to 12% in 2021/22.
- The risk of being in relative poverty is much higher for households where no one is in work (53%); compared to households where at least one adult is in work (8%). However, because there are a greater number of working households in general, it is estimated that of all working age adults living in poverty, over half (53%) live in a working household.
Pensioners – Poverty (After Housing Costs):
- In 2021/22 the proportion of pensioners in relative poverty was 16%; compared to 13% in 2019/20. Over the same period, absolute poverty for pensioners increased from 10% to 12%.
- Over the last decade, the proportion of pensioners in relative poverty has fluctuated from a high of 16% (in 2013/14 and 2021/22) to a low of 10% in 2018/19. Over the same period, absolute poverty has shown a downward trend, from a high of 17% in 2013/14.
- In 2021/22 most individuals lived in households that are food secure (96%), with 4% (approximately 74,000 individuals) in households said to be food insecure.
Income (Before Housing Costs):
- In 2021/22 the median household income in NI was £555 per week or £28,939 per year, representing a 1% increase from the previous year.
- In 2021/22 households in the top 20% of the income distribution had a weekly income 3.4 times higher than households in the bottom 20%.
- The majority of household income in NI is made up of Earnings (72%) and State Support (16%). This varies significantly depending on level of income, with households in the bottom income quintile deriving 35% of their income from earnings and 54% from state support.
Notes to editors:
- This publication presents annual estimates of the percentage and number of people, children, working age adults and pensioners living in poverty households in Northern Ireland (NI). The data published in this report are for the financial year April 2021 to March 2022.
- Figures presented in this publication are taken from the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) dataset, which is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS has been running in Great Britain since 1992 and was subsequently introduced to Northern Ireland in April 2002.
- An infographic on how poverty is measured in the Poverty and Income Inequality Report is available
- An individual is considered to be in relative poverty if they are living in a household with an income below 60% of UK median income in the year in question. In 2021/22 the threshold was £339 per week (BHC) for a couple with no children (the benchmark for HBAI). Therefore, a couple with no children that have a combined income below £339 per week would be considered to be in relative poverty.
- An individual is considered to be in absolute poverty if they are living in a household with an income below 60% of the inflation-adjusted 2010/11 UK median income. In 2021/22 the threshold was £314 per week (BHC) for a couple with no children. Therefore, a couple with no children that have a combined income below £314 per week would be considered to be in absolute poverty.
- All monetary amounts quoted in the key findings are in 2021/22 prices and any changes presented are in real terms i.e. after adjusting for inflation.
- Unless specifically stated, annual changes in the numbers and percentages of individuals in poverty presented in the body of this report are not statistically significant. Caution should be exercised when looking at year on year comparisons, with longer term trends often giving a clearer picture.
- This publication is available at: Communities NI
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