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Equality, Poverty & Welfare Analysis Team
Communities Analytical Services
Scottish Government
1F North Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Summary: Income and Poverty

MoneySummary: Income and Poverty


  • In 2015-16, before housing costs are accounted for, 19% of children, 16% of working age adults and 16% of pensioners in Scotland were living in relative poverty.
  • After housing costs, 26% of children, 20% of working age adults and 13% of pensioners in Scotland were living in relative poverty.

Age Infographic


Source: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/03/2213/4  


  • In 2015/16, two thirds (66 per cent) of children living in poverty BHC were in working households.

Source: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/03/2213/4  


  • More than half (53%) of employees aged 18-24 earned less than the living wage (£7.85 per hour) in 2015. This compares to much lower proportions (less than 20%) amongst the other, older age groups.

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)


  • There were marked age differences in how well people manage financially in 2015: adults aged 16-24 were the least likely to be coping financially and least likely to have savings.  Conversely, with increasing age, people were generally more likely to be coping financially and more likely to have savings.

Source: Scottish Household Survey

More Information

Age and Income and Poverty Page

Age Page


  • Poverty rates remained higher for households with a disabled adult. 
  • In 2015-16, 19% of people in families containing a disabled adult were in relative poverty before housing costs. For families with no disabled adults the figure was 15%.


Disability Infograhic 1

  • After housing costs, 23% of people in families containing a disabled adult were in poverty, compared with 18% for those without.

Disability Infographic 2

  • Despite the longer term decreasing trend for both groups, the gap between them has not decreased and households with a disabled adult are still more likely to live in poverty.
  • Due to a change in the way information on people with disabilities was collected, it is not possible to compare the most recent years with years before 2012-13 but before that, the trend had been decreasing poverty for both groups.

Source: Income and Poverty – Equality Analysis


More Information

Disability and Income and Poverty Page

Disability Page


  • People from minority ethnic (non-white) groups were more likely to be in poverty, both before and after housing costs, compared to those from the 'White - British' group (combined data for 2013/14 to 2015/16).
  • Before housing costs, 30% of people from minority ethnic (non-white) groups were in poverty, compared with 15% of ‘White – British’ people.
  • After housing costs, 35% of people from minority ethnic (non-white) groups were in poverty, compared with 18% of ‘White – British’ people.
  • Those in the Mixed, Black/Black-British, Chinese and other group had the highest risk of poverty after housing costs, at 39%. This compares with 32% for Asian/Asian – British; 25% for White – other; and 18% for White British.

Ethnicity Infographic

Source: Income and Poverty – Equality Analysis


More Information

Ethnicity and Income and Poverty Page

Ethnicity Page


  • There has been little difference in the rates for men and women over the last decade although the percentage of women in poverty before housing costs has generally been slightly higher than that for men for much of this period. The percentage of women in poverty before housing costs had been higher than that for men for much of the last ten years but decreased up until 2011-12 to the point where the rates for men and women were equal. In 2015-16, the rate of poverty before housing costs for women (at 17%) was higher than for men (at 16%).
  • After housing costs, the rates of poverty for men and women have been similar over the last 10 years. In 2015-16  19% of women and 18% of men were in poverty AHC.

               A more helpful way of analysing poverty rates by gender is by comparing single adult household compositions.

  • The rates of poverty are higher for single working age adults than the population as a whole, though there has generally been little difference between men and women. In 2015-16, 27% of single working age women without children were in poverty after housing costs, compared with 27% of single working age men.

Gender Infographic 1

  • Poverty rates after housing costs for female lone parents fell sharply in 2010-11. They have been creeping back up since, reaching 45% in 2015-16, and are now close to but remain well below the 2009/10 level of 47%. Poverty before housing costs for lone parents rose to 31% in 2015-16.

Gender Infographic 2

  • The poverty rate before housing costs for single female pensioners has been higher than that for single male pensioners for each of the last ten years.The gap has narrowed in 2015/16 due to an increase in the male pensioner poverty rate and a decrease in the female pensioner poverty rate.

  • In 2015-16 23% of single women pensioners were in poverty before housing costs, compared with 21% of men. After housing costs, 19% of single women pensioners were in poverty, compared with 14% of men.

Gender Infographic 3

Source: Income and Poverty – Equality Analysis


More Information

Gender and Income and Poverty Page

Gender Page


  • Of the other religions, Jewish people were the least likely to live in a deprived area (6%) and Muslim people the most likely (18%). Lower proportions of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs lived in deprived areas than the Scotland average.

Source: Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 Census Release 2


More Information

Religion and Income and Poverty Page

Religion Page

Sexual Orientation

Reliable research on the incomes of lesbian, gay and bisexual people relative to heterosexual people is limited. More data should be available in future as new questions are included in national surveys.  In the meantime, the Scottish Government does not have sufficiently robust evidence to draw conclusions on the association between income, poverty and sexual orientation.


The Scottish Government does not currently have information on the experiences and position of transgender people in relation to income and poverty.

National Performance Framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes. Equality breakdowns illustrate how protected groups are progressing towards achievement of the National Outcomes, particularly ‘we have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society’.

Where available, equality breakdowns of progress against this National Indicator can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading. The national indicator with the most relevance to the income and poverty topic is:

Reduce the proportion of individuals living in poverty

Publications and Output

Publications and Outputs

Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 Census Release 2 (2014) - this paper presents analysis of Census (Release 2) data and focuses on ethnicity, religion and disability.

The potential impacts of an online delivery of Universal Credit - Welfare Analysis (2012) - this paper includes a section on socio-economic characteristics of those who are less likely to use the internet.

Fuel Poverty in Scotland: Evidence Review (2012)

The Social Fund: A Review of Selected Literature (2011)

Differences in decline - Relative child poverty in Scotland and England 1998-99 to 2008-09 - Research Findings (2011) - This report summarises the results of an investigation into the differing trends in child poverty across the UK between 1998-99 and 2008-09, focusing on the difference between Scotland and England. It explores the extent to which this difference can be attributed to government policy.

Tackling child poverty in Scotland: Analysis of focus group consultation findings (2011) - This report presents findings from focus groups commissioned by the Scottish Government between November 2010 and January 2011 to inform the development of the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland.

Tackling Poverty Board: A Summary of Evidence (2011)

Evaluation of the Working for Families Fund (2004-2008) (2009)

The Experience of Rural Poverty in Scotland (2009)

Financial Inclusion: A topic report from the Scottish Household Survey (2007)



Scottish Household Survey and Family Resources Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive.

Future Developments

Future Developments

Joseph Rowntree Foundation poverty and ethnicity work programme: http://www.jrf.org.uk/work/workarea/poverty-and-ethnicity

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - research by JRF, 'Poverty and ethnicity in Scotland. Review of the literature and datasets' (2011) reviews the links between poverty and ethnicity in Scotland.

Poverty Alliance

The Poverty Site

The Poverty Site, links to further analyses

Poverty and Social Exclusion survey - an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded UK survey of the dimensions of relative poverty. The Scottish Government has funded a rural boost of the Scottish sample to enable better analysis of this rich data source. Analysis of the Scottish results by the Heriot-Watt and Glasgow University partners in the project were published in 2013.

The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

This paper, produced by Save the Children, gives a statistical snapshot of child poverty in different cities across Scotland, with a specific focus on Income and Education.

Save the Children - Child Povery in Scotland: a local snapshot

Save the Children - Severe Child Poverty in Scotland (2011)

Welsh Government 'An analysis on the impact of the UK Government's welfare reforms in Wales' (2013) - this paper focuses on those with protected equality characteristics.

Statistics in more details


Income and Poverty

If you have any enquiries relating to Income and Poverty evidence then please contact us at:




0131 244 3004


Equality and Poverty Analysis Team

Communities Analytical Services

Scottish Government

1F North

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ


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