Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2015-18

Estimates of the number and proportion of people living in poverty in Scotland in 2015-18.

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Income distribution and poverty thresholds

Chart 21. Distribution of weekly household income

Equivalised weekly household income distribution before housing costs

This chart shows the distribution of weekly income before housing costs across Scotland in 2015-18 with relative poverty threshold, Scottish and UK median incomes, and income decile groups. Incomes below £0 and above £1,000 are excluded from this chart.

Many people have household incomes near the poverty threshold. This means that small movements in the overall distribution can sometimes lead to sizeable movements in poverty rates.

Decile groups are groups of the population defined by the decile points. The first decile group is the ten percent of the population with the lowest incomes. The second decile group contains individuals with incomes above the lowest decile point but below the second decile point.

Most of the income figures in this publication are based on equivalised income. This means that household income is adjusted to reflect different household sizes and compositions. There are different poverty thresholds for different household sizes. The table below presents some commonly used income thresholds, before equivalisation and after tax and transfers, for households of different sizes.

The incomes presented elsewhere in this report use the value for “Couple with no children” as the standard, and all other household types are adjusted to reflect their different household composition. An after housing costs table is available in the associated tables.

Table 1. Income and poverty thresholds for different household types before housing costs 2015-18

Single person with no children

Couple with no children

Single person with children aged 5 and 14

Couple with children aged 5 and 14

Before housing costs incomes









UK median income









Scottish median income









Relative poverty threshold: 60% of UK median income









Absolute poverty threshold: 60% of inflation-adjusted 2010/11 UK median income











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