The Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin 2016/17 is released

Date published: 22 May 2018

A publication entitled “The Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin 2016/17” was published today by DfC

The Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin is produced annually by the Department for Communities and contains statistics on income and poverty for various population groups.

The bulletin provides analysis on two measures of poverty:

  1. Relative Poverty - the proportion of individuals who have incomes below 60% of the UK median
  2. Absolute Poverty - the proportion of individuals who have incomes below 60% of the UK (inflation adjusted) median income in 2010/11

A more detailed report ‘The Households Below Average Income’, is due to be published in Summer 2018.

Key findings with regard to Relative Poverty Before Housing Costs (BHC) are summarised below:

  • In 2016/17 the average (median) income before housing costs in Northern Ireland increased by 3% from £440 in 2015/16 to £452 in 2016/17
  • 18% of individuals were in poverty, approximately 336,000 individuals. This is comparable to the 2015/16 estimate of 17%
  • 22% of children were in poverty, approximately 99,000 children. This is comparable to the 2015/16 estimate of 21%
  • 16% of working-age adults were in poverty, approximately 181,000 working-age adults. This remains the same as 2015/16
  • 19% of pensioners were in poverty, approximately 57,000 pensioners. This is comparable to the 2015/16 estimate of 17%

The analysis has also been produced on an After Housing Costs (AHC) basis and the only statistically significant change for any of the relative poverty estimates was seen in the After Housing Costs measure for all individuals. 20% of individuals were in poverty, approximately 360,000 individuals, compared to 18% in 2015/16.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the fifth publication of the Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin and the data published in this bulletin are for the financial year April 2016 to March 2017. The estimates are used to monitor poverty levels in Northern Ireland 
  2. Figures presented in this bulletin 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
  3. An infographic on how low income is measured in HBAI is available
  4. Poverty figures quoted in this submission are for relative poverty
  5. 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 2016/17 the threshold was £296 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 £296 per week would be considered to be in relative poverty
  6. All monetary amounts quoted in the key findings are in 2016/17 prices and any changes presented are in real terms i.e. after adjusting for inflation
  7. 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
  8. This publication is available on the DfC website
  9. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Communities Press Office on 028 9082 9215 or email press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 0769 9715440 and your call will be returned.

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