Rates of deprivation for different types of household, UK 2012

Which adults and children are most at risk of deprivation?

This table shows the percentage of adults for various household types and personal characteristics who cannot afford three or more items and activities seen by the majority as necessities for adults, and the percentages of children for various household types and characteristics who lack (because the household cannot afford it) two or more of the child necessities and five or more of the child necessities.

Overall, 30% of adults cannot afford three or more adults necessities, 31% of children lack two or more child necessities and 11% lack 5 or more child necessities. Those in groups that have a higher percentage are more at risk of deprivation.

The list of necessities for adults and children included in these counts can be found at the bottom of the page under Deprivation tables.

% of adults in each group who cannot afford 3 or more necessities for adults % of children in each group in households that cannot afford 2 or more necessities for children % of children in each group in households that cannot afford 5 or more necessities for children
All 30% 31% 11%
Employment status
Respondent in full time work 26%
Respondant in part-time work 33%
Respondant unemployed 61%
Respondent retired 14%
Two adults in household - one or more unemployed 69% 32%
One adult in household - unemployed 74% 44%
Household income*
Household income bottom 20% 61% 56% 24%
Household income top 20% 8% 5% 1%
Family type
Couple with children 41% 26% 8%
Lone parent 67% 55% 24%
White 24% 30% 10%
Non-white 40% 41% 17%
Respondent permanently sick/disabled 69%
Child with limiting illness in household 52% 23%
Source: PSE UK 2012


The groups most at risk of depivation are:

  • Adults and children in lone parent households.
  • Unemployed adults and children in households where there is unemployment.
  • Adults with a long term sickness or disability and children in households where adults have a limiting illness.
  • Adults and children in low income households.
  • Adults with children.
  • Non-white adults and children.

Though those who are in lone parent households, unemployed and sick and disabled have a higher risk of deprivation, they do not - because they are a relatively small proportion of the population as a whole - constitute the majority of those who are deprived. Most deprived adults are in work and most children who are deprived are in households that work and with two adults – see Composition of the deprived.

Among non-white households and children, the risk of deprivation varies greatly with those in Black Caribbean, Black African and Pakistani households having a higher risk than the population at large and those from Indian households a lower risk. See the PSE final conference presentation on Ethnicity and Poverty.

Adults in households with children are more likely to be deprived than children. This is because adults prioritise their children’s living standards, cutting back on their own before that of their children. For discussion the risk of child deprivation and the extent to which adults 'sacrifice' their own living standards see: PSE:UK final report on ‘Child poverty and Social exclusion’ by Gill Main and Jonathan Bradshaw.

Further information

For further discussion on the risk of deprivation of adults see: 'Breadline Britain – the rise in mass poverty', by Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack (Oneworld, 2015, £9.99).

Survey details
See PSE survey details for the survey size and sampling frame of the PSE UK 2012 Living Standards survey and the PSE UK 2012 Necessities of Life survey.

First posted:  1 June, 2016

Author: Joanna Mack