About this publication
This publication presents estimates of the proportion of people, children, working-age adults and pensioners living in persistent poverty in Scotland and in the other countries in the UK. The estimates are used to monitor progress in reducing poverty. The figures have been published as 'experimental statistics' which means that they are in the testing phase and not yet fully developed. This reflects the fact that improvements are being made to the derivation of key variables for future releases.
Poverty can be measured in a number of different ways, each of which can tell us something different about poverty. One of the most common measures is relative (income) poverty which identifies people living in households with an equivalised income below 60% of the UK median household income. It therefore measures whether those in the lowest income households are keeping pace with the growth of incomes in the economy as a whole. Statistics on relative poverty in Scotland can be found on the Scottish Government website: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePoverty.
Persistent poverty identifies individuals who live in relative poverty for three or more of the last four years. It therefore identifies people who have been living in poverty for a significant period of time, which is more damaging than brief periods spent with a low income. The impacts can affect an individual throughout their lifetime.
This publication presents persistent poverty estimates for four overlapping periods from 2010-14 to 2013-17. More information can be found in Annex 2.
Background Notes and Methodology
The estimates in this report come from the Understanding Society survey, a longitudinal survey with longitudinal information about just under 2,800 individuals in Scotland in 2016-2017. The survey is conducted by the University of Essex, and persistent poverty estimates are calculated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for the annual Income Dynamics publication. Information on the method used to calculate persistent poverty estimates can be found in Annex 2, and in more detail here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/income-dynamics-statistics
Surveys gather information from a sample rather than from the whole population. Results from sample surveys are always estimates, not precise figures. This means that they are subject to a margin of error which can affect how changes in the numbers should be interpreted, especially in the short-term. Year-on-year movements should be treated with caution. We are unable to calculate sampling uncertainties for these statistics, but please note that small changes are unlikely to be statistically significant.
Revisions to the Statistics
These are experimental statistics. Work to improve the derivation of key variables such as housing costs has now been concluded, and therefore these statistics have been subject to revisions beyond those that occur routinely in longitudinal data analysis. Further work is ongoing to improve the income estimates and impute missing data, and therefore the estimates presented here will continue to be subject to routine revisions, as with figures based on longitudinal data in general.
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