The most commonly used threshold of low income is a household income that is 60% or less of the average (median) household income in that year. The latest year for which data is available is 2004/05. In that year, the 60% threshold was worth £183 per week for a two adult household, £100 per week for a single adult, £268 per week for two adults living with two children, and £186 per week for a single adult living with two children. This sum of money is after income tax and national insurance have been deducted from earnings and after council tax, rent, mortgage and water charges have been paid. It is therefore what a household has available to spend on everything else it needs.
In 2004/05, 11.4 million people in Great Britain were living in households below this income threshold. This represents a drop of 2½ million since 1996/97. It is, however, still much higher than in the early 1980s.
The proportion of children and pensioners who live in low income households has been falling. In contrast, the proportion for working-age adults without dependent children has remained broadly unchanged. A third of all people in low income households are now working-age adults without dependent children (3.5 million people).
Disabled adults are twice as likely to live in low income households as non-disabled adults, and the gap has grown over the last decade.
The level of Income Support for both pensioners and families with two or more children has gone up much faster than average earnings in recent years, but that for working-age adults without children has fallen considerably behind.
Half of all people in social housing are on low incomes compared to one in seven of those in other housing tenures.
Inner London is deeply divided: it has by far the highest proportion of people on a low income but also a high proportion of people on a high income.
The number of children living in low income households was 3.4 million in 2004/05. This represents a drop of 0.8 million since 1996/97.
Children are one and a third times more likely to live in a low income household as adults.
A half of all lone parents are in low income, two-and-a-half times the rate for couples with children.
The government's short term target was to reduce the number of children in low income households by a quarter by 2004/05 compared with 1998/99. This implied a maximum of 3.1 million children living in low income households by 2004/05. Given that the actual number was 3.4 million, the government missed its target by 0.3 million.
Almost 2 million children live in workless households.
In 2005, there were 2.3 million people who wanted to be in paid work but were not. This compares with 3.4 million a decade previously. This rate of reduction is much less than the rate of reduction in ILO unemployment because the numbers who are 'economically inactive but would like work' have reduced at a much slower rate than unemployment.
One in five adults with a work-limiting disability are not working but want to. This compares with one in fifteen of those with no work-limiting disability. At all levels of qualification, the proportion of people with a work-limiting disability who lack but want paid work is much greater than for those without a work-limiting disability.
Around ½ million young adults aged 16 to 24 were unemployed in 2005 (around 10%). Numbers have reduced by a quarter over the last decade but young adult unemployment rates are now three times as high as those for older workers.
Two-fifths of those getting work are out-of-work again within six months. More than a quarter of temporary employees would like a permanent job.
People without qualifications are three times less likely to receive job-related training compared with those with some qualifications.
4½ million adults aged 22 to retirement were paid less than £6.50 per hour in 2005. Two thirds of these were women and a half were part-time workers.
Almost a third of all employees aged 25 to retirement earning less than £6.50 per hour work in the public sector.
The lower a person's qualifications, the more likely they are to be low paid. For example, more than half of those with no qualifications earn less than £6.50 per hour.
15% of workers earning less than £6.50 an hour belong to a trade union compared with 40% of those earning £9 to £21 an hour.
Around 14% of working-age households are now in receipt of tax credits. In total, more than three times as many people are now in receipt of tax credits as were in receipt of Family Credit a decade ago.
11-year-olds: The proportions failing to achieve level 4 or above at key stage 2 in English and Maths have fallen substantially in recent years but children in schools with relatively high numbers on free school meals continue to do much worse than other schools.
16-year olds: In 2004/05, 12% of pupils obtained less than 5 GCSEs, the same as in 1998/99. 4% got no grades at all, down by a third since 1998/99.
Most 17-year-olds with 5 or more good GCSEs go on to achieve further qualifications, but most 17-year-olds without such qualifications still lack NVQ2 or equivalent at age 25
One in four 19-year-olds still fail to achieve a basic level of qualification (NVQ2 or above).
10,000 pupils were permanently excluded from school in 2003/04. This represents a fall of a fifth since the peak in 1996/97.
Scotland has by far the highest proportion of premature deaths for both men and women.
Adults in the poorest fifth of the income distribution are twice as likely to be at risk of developing a mental illness as those on average incomes.
Two-fifths of adults aged 45-64 in the poorest fifth of the population have a limiting long-standing illness or disability, almost twice the rate for those on average incomes.
Children from manual social backgrounds are 1½ times more likely to die as infants than children from non-manual social backgrounds.
Babies from manual social backgrounds are 1¼ times more likely to be of low birthweight than those from non-manual social backgrounds.
Teenage motherhood is eight times as common amongst those from manual social backgrounds as for those from professional backgrounds.
5-year-olds in Wales and Scotland have, on average, more than twice as many missing, decayed or filled teeth as 5-year-olds in the West Midlands and South East.
Both burglaries and violent crimes have halved over the last decade.
Households with no household insurance are around three times as likely to be burgled as those with insurance. Half of those on low income do not have any household insurance compared with one in five households on average incomes.
5% of people live in overcrowded conditions. Overcrowding is four times as prevalent in social rented housing as in owner-occupation
150,000 to 200,000 households are accepted by their local authority as homeless each year. Two-thirds of these do not have dependent children. Although most prevalent London, homelessness is to be found throughout the country.
Although poorer households remain more likely to lack central heating, the proportion who do so is now actually less than that for households on average incomes in 1999/00.
A third of homes in England were classified as non-decent in 2004 compared to almost a half in 1996.
1.3 million households in England were classified as being in fuel poverty in 2003 compared to 5 million in 1996
The number of mortgage holders in serious arrears is at its lowest level for fifteen years.
Two-fifths of people from ethnic minorities live in low income households, twice the rate for White people.
More than half of people in Pakistani and Bangladeshi households are in low income households.
People of African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean and Pakistani descent are all twice as likely as White people to be out of work but wanting work.
Black Caribbean pupils are three times as likely to be excluded from school as White pupils.
Black young adults are three times as likely as white young adults to be in prison.
Black adults are twice as likely not to have a bank or building society account as the population as a whole.
The proportion of pensioners in low income has fallen from 27% in 1994/95 to 17% in 2004/05. Most of the fall has been among single pensioners rather than pensioner couples. Pensioners are now less likely to live in low income households than non-pensioners.
In 2002/03, around two-fifths of pensioner households entitled to Pension Credit were not claiming it.
The proportion of people aged 75 and over who receive support from social services to help them live at home has almost halved over the last decade. County councils and unitary authorities support far fewer households than either urban or Welsh authorities.