A bulletin entitled “Pensioners’ Income Series Bulletin, Northern Ireland 2013/14” was published today by the Department for Social Development (DSD).
The Pensioners’ Income Series Bulletin, Northern Ireland is produced annually by DSD and contains estimates of the levels and trends of pensioners’ incomes in Northern Ireland.
Key facts include:
- Although there have been fluctuations in pensioners’ weekly income between 2003/04 and 2013/14, the overall change in income has been minimal in real terms. Median gross income (the central measure of all income received by the pensioner benefit unit) has increased by £6 in real terms over the time period (£405 to £411) while median income (After Housing Costs) has risen by £9 per week over the time period (£257 to £265).
- Pensioner couples median net income after housing costs have been deducted has increased since 2003/04. In 2013/14 median net weekly income (After Housing Costs) for pensioner couples in Northern Ireland was £383. In real terms this represents a 6% increase from 2003/04 levels. For single pensioners the median net weekly income (After Housing Costs) in Northern Ireland was £203. This is a similar level in real terms to the 2003/04 levels.
- Older pensioners had lower weekly incomes than younger pensioners. Pensioner units where the head is 75 years old or over had a median net income of £224 (After Housing Costs) in 2013/14. This was £74 (approximately one quarter) lower than that received by pensioner units where the head is under 75 years old (£298).
- Pensioner couples in Northern Ireland had the second lowest gross income of all regions in the United Kingdom, while single pensioners had the lowest gross income of all regions. A three year average of weekly gross income for pensioner couples showed that in 2011/14 Northern Ireland had a gross income of £583; this compared to Wales (£562), Scotland (£653), England (£678) and the United Kingdom average (£667). Single pensioners had a weekly income of £279; this compares to Wales (£291), Scotland (£299), England (£325) and the United Kingdom average (£319).
- Pensioner couples in Northern Ireland had the highest benefit income of all regions in the United Kingdom while single pensioners benefit income was comparable with the rest of the United Kingdom. In 2011/14, pensioner couples in Northern Ireland had weekly benefit income of £246, £10 per week higher than the United Kingdom average (£236). Single pensioners’ in Northern Ireland had benefit income of £187 equal to the United Kingdom average.
- More pensioners in 2011/14 were in receipt of State Pension than in 2003/06. Ninety-eight per cent of all Northern Ireland pensioner units for the three year period 2011/14 were in receipt of state pension (United Kingdom average was 97%), three percentage points higher than in 2003/06.
- Almost a third of all pensioner units during the period 2011/14 derived more than half of their gross income from private sources. Thirty-two per cent of pensioner units derived more than half their income from private sources in 2011/14 (40 per cent United Kingdom average); this is six percentage points higher than in 2003/06. Fifteen per cent of pensioner units were in receipt of income from earnings. Fifty-one per cent receive income from private pensions (occupational and/or personal pensions).
Distribution of pensioners’ incomes
- The highest growth rate for median net incomes (After Housing Costs) between 2003/06 and 2011/14 was observed for pensioner couples in the bottom fifth (i.e. quintile) of the income distribution. These pensioner couples had incomes approximately four times lower than those couples in the top fifth in 2011/14. In the United Kingdom as a whole pensioner couples with incomes in the bottom fifth of the United Kingdom income distribution experienced greater growth in income than those in the top fifth of the distribution.
- Older pensioner couples were more likely to have net incomes within the bottom two quintiles of the pensioners’ income distribution. Forty-six per cent of pensioner couples where the head is aged 75 or over are in the bottom two quintiles, compared to 38% of pensioners where the head is aged under 75 (After Housing Costs).
- In 2011/14, single males were more likely to be in the top quintile of the pensioners’ income distribution than single females. Twenty-six per cent of males had incomes in the top fifth while only 18% of females had incomes in the top fifth of the income distribution (After Housing Costs). The same pattern is true for the United Kingdom as a whole; 22% of single male pensioners are in the top fifth of the United Kingdom income distribution compared to 19% of single female pensioners.
Notes to editors:
- The statistics contained in the publication are derived from the Family Resources Survey in Northern Ireland. This survey collects detailed data on income levels, resources and financial circumstances of individuals and households for the period from April 2013 to the end of March 2014. The FRS has been carried out in Great Britain since 1992, but 2002/03 saw the introduction of Northern Ireland for the first time.
- Households interviewed in the survey are asked a wide range of questions about their circumstances. Although some of the information collected is available elsewhere, the FRS provides new or much more detailed information in a number of areas and brings some topics together on one survey.
- Although the FRS is specifically of interest to DSD, other government departments and outside researchers will benefit from the availability of such a data source. The database can be accessed through the UK Data Service.
- Reports for the UK are available on the DWP website and for Northern Ireland on the DfC website.
- Further enquiries should be addressed to:
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