Pensioners in poverty
Chart 10. Relative poverty rate for pensioners rising
Relative poverty after housing costs for pensioners was 15% in 2015-18 (150,000 pensioners each year). Before housing costs, 18% of pensioners (180,000 pensioners) were in relative poverty in 2015-18.
Relative pensioner poverty had been stable for years after a long decline, but started to rise again in 2013-16 (before housing costs) and 2014-17 (after housing costs).
The majority of pensioners own their home. Examining pensioners’ income after deducting housing costs allows for more meaningful comparisons of income between working-age adults and pensioners, or for pensioners over time.
Chart 11. Absolute poverty rate for pensioners stable
Absolute poverty after housing costs for pensioners was 12% (130,000 pensioners each year) in 2015-18. Before housing costs, it was 14% (150,000 pensioners).
Absolute poverty has remained broadly stable since 2008-11 following a continuous decrease since reporting began.
Pensioners are defined as all those adults above state pension age. State pension age for men is 65, state pension age for women increased from 60 in 2010 to 65 in November 2018.
Chart 12. Pensioners in material deprivation broadly stable
In 2015-18, 6% of pensioners (60,000 pensioners each year) were in material deprivation, the same proportion as in the previous period.
This data has been collected since 2009.
Pensioner material deprivation is different to other measures of poverty, including the child low income and material deprivation measure, in that is not associated with an income threshold. It captures issues such as whether poor health, disability and social isolation prevent access to goods and services, rather than solely low income. More information about pensioner material deprivation can be found in the Annex.
Pensioner material deprivation is included for those aged 65 and over only and therefore is not the same pensioner population as relative and absolute poverty measures.