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Summary: Age and Income and Poverty


Summary: Age and Income and Poverty

  • In 2014-17, before housing costs are accounted for, 19% of children, 16% of working age adults and 17% of pensioners in Scotland were living in relative poverty.

  • After housing costs, 24% of children, 19% of working age adults and 13% of pensioners in Scotland were living in relative poverty.

Source: Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2014-17 (Last updated: March 2018)


Useful Links

Age page

Income and Poverty

  • Around 13% of children in Scotland lived in workless households in 2016. 

Source: Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland: Statistics from the Annual Population Survey 2016 (Last updated: May 2017)

  • Almost half (48%) of employees aged 18-24 earned less than the living wage (£8.45 per hour) in 2016. This compares to much lower proportions (less than 20%) amongst the other, older age groups.

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2017 (Last updated: November 2017)


  • There were marked age differences in how well people manage financially in 2016: adults aged 16-24 were the least likely to be managing well financially and least likely to have savings.  Conversely, with increasing age, people were generally more likely to be coping financially and more likely to have savings.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Finance (Last updated: September 2017)

national Performance Framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes. Equality breakdowns illustrate how protected groups are progressing towards achievement of the National Outcomes, particularly ‘we have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society’.

Where available, equality breakdowns of progress against this National Indicator can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading. The national indicator with the most relevance to the income and poverty topic is:

Reduce the proportion of individuals living in poverty

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Persistent Poverty in Scotland: 2010-2016 (March 2018) Estimates of the proportion of people living in persistent poverty in Scotland between 2010 and 2016. Includes analysis by age including children, working-age people and pensioners.

Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2014-17 (March 2018) This publication presents annual estimates of the percentage and number of people, children, working age adults and pensioners living in low income households in Scotland. Covers age, disability, ethnicity and gender

Children in families with limited resources across Scotland 2014-2016 (November 2017) This experimental statistics publication provides estimates of the proportion of children in combined low income and material deprivation by council area and household characteristics. It covers age, deprivation and disability

Overview of Equality Results from 2011 Census Release 2 (March 2014) This paper provides further analysis of equality data originally released from the Census by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). It pulls this together into a user friendly format providing new analysis and insight, particularly around deprivation. The main equality strands included in the paper are ethnicity, religion and disability.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.

Fuel Poverty: Evidence Review (2012) This report examines issues around the nature and measurement of fuel poverty in Scotland. It draws on data from the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS). It covers age, disability, ethnicity and gender

The potential impacts of an online delivery of Universal Credit - Welfare Analysis (2012) This paper includes a section on socio-economic characteristics of those who are less likely to use the internet. It covers age, disability, ethnicity, and gender

Differences in decline: Relative child poverty in Scotland and England 1998-99 to 2008-09 (2011) This report summarises the results of an investigation into the differing trends in child poverty across the UK between 1998-99 and 2008-09, focusing on the difference between Scotland and England. It explores the extent to which this difference can be attributed to government policy.

Tackling child poverty in Scotland: Analysis of focus group consultation findings (2011) This report presents findings from focus groups commissioned by the Scottish Government between November 2010 and January 2011 to inform the development of the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland.

Tackling Poverty Board: A Summary of Evidence (2011) Research paper produced by the Tackling Poverty board. Looks at finances, geography and employment prospects. Includes age, disability, ethnicity and gender

The Experience of Rural Poverty in Scotland (2009) Qualitative research with single pensioners, single parents, disabled people, people with mental ill health, and migrant workers to examine whether and how the experience of poverty is distinctive in rural Scotland.

Financial Inclusion: A topic report from the Scottish Household Survey (2007) A summary of evidence about financial inclusion in Scotland using analysis from the Scottish Household Survey and other sources. Covers age, disability, ethnicity, gender and religion



Scottish Government Survey Data

UK Data Archive - Family Resources Survey and Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive

Official Statistics

statistics.gov.scot - Explore, visualise and download over 200 datasets from a range of producers. Start browsing by theme, organisation, or geography. Or access programmatically using our APIs. A range of datasets are available that can be broken down by age group


External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Progress on socio-economic rights in Great Britain (EHRC, March 2018) An Equality and Humans Rights Commission report on the progress on socio-economic rights focusing on domestic law and policy; standard of living and social security; employment; and access to justice. This report includes analysis of child poverty, and the equality characteristics disability, ethnicity and gender. Note that this report focuses on England and Wales, and only includes Scotland for policy areas that are not devolved to the Scottish Government.

UK Poverty 2017 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, December 2017) An analysis of poverty rates in the UK and how these have changed over the past twenty years. Some of the analysis is presented for Scotland separately. This report covers age, disability, ethnicity and gender.

Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey (2014) an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded UK survey of the dimensions of relative poverty. The Scottish Government has funded a rural boost of the Scottish sample to enable better analysis of this rich data source. Analysis of the Scottish results by the Heriot-Watt and Glasgow University partners in the project were published in 2013.

How Fair is Britain?: Report of EHRC first triennial review (EHRC, 2011) This Equality and Human Rights review aims to provide an authoritative compilation of the available evidence about equalities in England, Scotland and Wales against 40 indicators agreed by the Commission, the government and other key agencies. It brings together the facts about the experiences and outcomes in life of different individuals and groups. It draws on a range of sources including censuses, government surveys, academic work, and secondary analysis carried out especially for this Review.

External Research Organisations

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - Carries out research and analysis of poverty in Scotland and the UK

Poverty Alliance - Works to combat poverty, focusing on low incomes, services, participation and attitudes


Contact Details

If you have any enquiries relating to Equality and Poverty Statistics then please contact us at:




0131 244 3004


Equality and Poverty Analysis Team

Communities Analytical Services

Scottish Government

1F North

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ


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