Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2020

This report examines how living standards – most commonly measured by households'incomes – were changing in the UK up to approximately the eve of the current COVID-19 crisis, using the latest official household income data covering years up to 2018–19. We particularly focus on how this differed for different groups, and what this meant for poverty and inequality. It gives us a compr ehensive account of where we stood before the current crisis, including for groups who we now know have subsequently had their economic lives turned upside down. The analysis in this report is chiefly based on data from two UK household surveys. The first is the Family Resources Survey (FRS), a su rvey of around 20,000 households a year, which contains detailed information on different sources of household incomes. We use household income variables derived from the FRS by the UK government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). These measures of incomes underlie the DWP's annual statistics on the distribution of income, known as'Households Below Average Income'(HBAI). The FRS/HBAI data are available for the years from 1994 –95 to 2018–19. They are supplemented by HBAI data derived from the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) for the years from 1961 to 1993–94. In addition, we draw on data from Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to hone in on what was happening to poverty amongst group s who are likely to be particularly vulnerable ...
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