The Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin 2017/18 is released

Date published: 17 April 2019

A publication entitled “The Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin 2017/18” was published today by DfC.

Statistical graphic

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 2019.

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

  • 16% of individuals were in poverty, approximately 292,000 individuals; 2pps lower than the 2016/17 estimate of 18%.
  • 19% of children were in poverty, approximately 85,000 children; 3pps lower than the 2016/17 estimate of 22%.
  • 15% of working-age adults were in poverty, approximately 162,000 working-age adults; 1pp lower than the 2016/17 estimate of 16%.
  • 15% of pensioners were in poverty, approximately 45,000 pensioners; 4pps lower the 2016/17 estimate of 19%.
  • While there appears to be large changes in poverty estimates among some of the population sub-groups (e.g. Pensioners), none of the above changes are statistically significant. This is due to the higher levels of uncertainty surrounding estimates for groups with small sample sizes.

The analysis has also been produced on an After Housing Costs (AHC) basis and there were no significant changes in the poverty estimates for any of the population sub-groups.

Notes to editors: 


  1. This is the sixth publication of the Northern Ireland Poverty Bulletin and the data published in this bulletin are for the financial year April 2017 to March 2018. 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 at Gov.UK website.
  4. Poverty figures quoted in this press release 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 2017/18 the threshold was £304 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 £304 per week would be considered to be in relative poverty.
  6. All monetary amounts quoted in the key findings are in 2017/18 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 will be available at Communities NI.
  9. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Communities Press Office on 028 9082 9215 or email Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.


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