In the United Kingdom, someone is deemed low income if their household income is 60% of the median wage.  The government uses the median income over the mean, whereas the median is not affected by a few large numbers.

Based on the low income data, information is generated on low income households but there are many other ways to measure low-income households. This measurement is also the one that’s used to deem whether or not someone is classed as living in poverty. It is known as relative income poverty.

Many working class people in the United Kingdom may also be located as “low-income” communities because of their economic experiences. Unlike other characteristics such as race or gender, people from low income backgrounds weren’t afforded the same protection under the law. Therefore there has been less discussion on lower-income groups in strands of work looking to engage disenfranchised groups.

  • 21% of households are low-income communities. [1]
  • Black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to have a lower income background than people who do not have a black and minority ethnic background. [2]
  • Women are slightly more likely to have a lower income background than men. [3]
  • Of all religious groups, people with Muslim backgrounds are the most likely group to come from low-income backgrounds. [4]
  • 24% of people in Wales, 22% of people in England, 20% of people in Northern Ireland and 19% of people in Scotland have low income backgrounds. [5]
  • Low-income rates are higher in families where one person is disabled. [6]
  • One in 3 people in the UK feel that they are “too poor” to join in with society by taking part in activities such as going to the cinema. [7]

[1] GOV.UK – Households below average income
[2] Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Poverty and ethnicity in the UK
[3] Dept. of Social Policy & Intervention – Poverty through a Gender Lens
[4] Centre for Social Investigation – Review of the relationship between religion and poverty
[5] Joseph Rowntree Foundation – UK Poverty Statistics
[6] Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Poverty rates in families with a disabled person
[7] Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Poverty, Participation and Choice


Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an independent organisation working to inspire social change through research, policy and practice.

End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition was set up in 2003 to leverage the work of a wide range of groups all of whom shared the objective of eradicating child poverty in the UK.

Child Poverty Action Group work to understand what causes poverty, the impact it has on children’s lives, and how it can be solved – for good.

Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. We provide financial support to help people get back on track.

Salvation Army support people on a journey towards a sustainable outcome…

Habitat for Humanity is an international charity fighting poverty housing in the UK and across the world