In-work poverty in the UK

In 2016-17, I led a study on in-work poverty in the UK, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The aims of this project were to provide a robust analysis of the nature of in-work poverty in the UK, the events which explain why people enter and exit in-work poverty, and the contribution which policy can and does make to alleviating poverty amongst working households.

Research Questions

The project sought to generate new evidence about in-work poverty in the UK by answering three research questions:

1) What is the extent of in-work poverty, and who experiences it?

2) What is the relationship between social security & tax credits and in-work poverty, and how has this changed over time?

3) How common are entries to and exits from in-work poverty, and what events are associated with such transitions?

Method and Research Design

The project comprised quantitative analysis of the Family Resources Survey/Households Below Average Income and Understanding Society surveys. It sought to introduce innovations in terms of the analysis of in-work poverty by moving beyond an exclusive focus on the 60% median income poverty measure to assess the extent and nature of in-work poverty using a range of poverty measures; by providing a more in-depth assessment of the relationship between social security and tax credits and in-work poverty than appears in existing studies; and by contributing to the sparse literature on in-work poverty transitions.

Final report: released 22 May

This project has now been completed and you can access the final research report here.