We have a new website go to gov.scot

Summary: Ethnicity and Income and Poverty

MoneySummary: Ethnicity and Income and Poverty

  • People from Asian and ‘Mixed, Black and Other' ethnic groups were more likely to be living in relative poverty, both before and after housing costs, compared to those from the 'White – British’ group.

  • The poverty rate amongst the ‘White – Other’ group is similar to that of the ‘White – British’ group before housing costs but rises well above it after housing costs.

Source: Family Resources Survey, 2012-17 (Last updated: July 2018)

Useful Links

Ethnicity Page

Income and Poverty Page

Relative Poverty

Relative Poverty Before Housing Costs, by Ethnic Group

relative poverty ahc ethnicity

  • In 2012-17, 28% of people from an Asian and 32% from ‘Black, Mixed and Other’ ethnic backgrounds are in relative poverty before housing costs. People from both White-British and White-Other backgrounds have a similar relative poverty rate before housing costs.

Source: Family Resources Survey, 2012-17 (Last updated: July 2018) 


Relative Poverty After Housing Costs, by Ethnic Group

relative poverty ahc ethnicity

  • In 2012-17, one third of people from an Asian background were living in relative poverty after housing costs. A similarly high proportion of ‘Mixed, Black and Other ethnicity’ people were living in relative poverty after housing costs. ‘White – other’ people are more likely to be living in relative poverty after housing costs than 'White - British' people (25% compared to 18%).

Source: Family Resources Survey, 2012-17 (Last updated: July 2018)


  • People from minority ethnic groups were less likely to be coping financially and more likely to have no savings. In 2016, 14% of those in minority ethnic groups were ‘not coping’ financially compared with around 8% for the White groups. In 2015-16, 36% of minority ethnicity households had no savings, and a further 13% had savings of less than £1,000. ‘White – other’ households were less likely than ‘White – British’ households to have savings of £1,000 or more (45% and 55% respectively).

Source: Scottish Household Survey (Last updated: July 2018)

  • At Great Britain level: "Bangladeshi and Black African groups are positioned very low in the wealth distribution, as are the Pakistani, Black Caribbean and Chinese groups. When contrasted with their educational outcomes the Chinese population’s wealth levels are strikingly low, given that they perform extremely well in education compared to other ethnic minority groups. The Indian and White British groups are ranked close to the middle of the wealth distribution indicating no significant disadvantage relative to the wider population"

  • At Great Britain level: "Some ethnic minorities are particularly likely to lack access to standard financial products, especially Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who are three times less likely than White men and women to have a bank account. The majority of Pakistani and Bangladeshi households do not have contents insurance. Some religious and ethnic groups may be excluded from credit by a lack of the availability of loans on terms that conform to their beliefs."

External Source: How Fair is Britain?: Report of EHRC first triennial review (Chapter 12: Standard of Living. Published: 2011, EHRC)

This research has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government, the results are hosted on an external website and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers


Area-based Deprivation

Proportion of people in each ethnic group who lived in Scotland's most deprived areas in 2011

A chart showing ethnic groups in Scotland by Deprivation

  • The 'White: British' group was slightly under-represented (14%) in deprived areas, as was the 'White: Irish' group (13%).
  • The 'White: Polish' group, however, was considerably over-represented, with almost a third of people from this group living in Scotland's most deprived areas.
  • The three most populous 'Asian' groups: 'Pakistani', 'Indian' and 'Chinese', were all under-represented, with people of Indian ethnicity the least likely to live in a deprived area (11%) compared to the population as a whole (15%).
  • The most over-represented ethnic group by some distance was 'African' - over one third of people with African ethnicity lived in a deprived area. Almost a quarter of people of 'Caribbean or Black' ethnicity lived in a deprived area.

Source: Overview of Equality Results from 2011 Census Release 2 (Published: March 2014)


Proportion of each ethnic group living in each of the SIMD deciles. Each decile contains 10% of the data zones in Scotland, with Decile 1 containing the 10% most deprived areas and Decile 10 containing the least deprived areas.

A chart showing ethnic group by deprivation decile in Scotland, 2011

  • The 'White: Irish' group was under-represented in deprived deciles and recorded its highest proportion in the least deprived decile (13.4%).
  • The 'White: Other', 'Mixed or multiple' and 'Indian' groups had similar distributions - people of these ethnic groups were least likely to live in a deprived area. As the deciles become less deprived these groups became relatively more represented.
  • The 'Chinese' group had high representation in both the most and least deprived deciles. Over a quarter of the 'African' ethnic group lived in the most deprived decile and this group was over-represented in the three most deprived deciles. The 'Caribbean or Black' group was also over-represented in the most deprived deciles.

Source: Overview of Equality Results from 2011 Census Release 2 (Published: March 2014)

Asylum Seekers

In quartile three of 2016, 3,350 asylum seekers were claiming Section 95 support due to risk of destitution. The majority of these asylum seekers resided in Glasgow (98.8%). 

Source: Quarterly Immigration Statistics (Last updated: July 2018)

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.

National Indicator number 35: Reduce the proportion of individuals living in poverty, data table

- progress against this National Indicator, broken down by Ethnicity, can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading.

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

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

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: Ethnicity Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to ethnicity.

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

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 ethnic 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.

Intersecting Inequalities: The impact of austerity on BME women in the UK (Women's Budget Group, October 2017) A report by the Women's Budget Group and Runnymede Trust with RECLAIM and Coventry Women's Voices. It contains the findings of an impact assessment looking at the impact that changes to public spending since 2010 have had for minority ethnic women

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.

Poverty and ethnicity in Scotland. Review of the literature and datasets (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2011) A review of the links between poverty and ethnicity in Scotland.

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 evidence then please contact us at:




0131 244 3004

We welcome any comments on both the format and content of the website, including any problems you may encounter.

 Top of page.