Material deprivation and low income
Data on children in material deprivation and low income and pensioners in material deprivation in Wales, based on the Households Below Average Income data series.
How is material deprivation measured?
For children, material deprivation is measured by asking respondents to the survey if they have access to 21 goods and services. If they cannot afford a given item this gives them a score, with items more commonly owned given a higher weighted score.
A child is considered to be in material deprivation and low income if they live in a family that has a total score of 25 or more out of 100 and an equivalised household income below 70 per cent of the UK average (median) before housing costs were paid.
Respondents who are pensioners aged 65 or over are asked whether they have access to a list of 15 goods and services. If they don’t have a given item (because of cost, health or availability) they are given a score, with items more commonly owned given a higher weighted score. A pensioner is considered to be in material deprivation if they live in a family that has a final score of 20 or more out of 100.
What should I keep in mind on material deprivation?
For regional breakdowns the material deprivation figures are 3 year averages, but, even so, the data can still be volatile due to small sample sizes. This is particularly true for sub-groups, such as the group experiencing material deprivation.
The measure of material deprivation within this release is calculated by the Department for Work and Pensions, who use the Family Resources Survey (FRS). It refers to the self-reported inability of individuals or households to afford particular goods and activities that are typical in society at a given point in time, irrespective of whether they would choose to have these items, even if they could afford them.
Respondents are asked whether they have 21 goods and services, including child, adult and household items. If they do not have a good or service, they are asked whether this is because they do not want them or because they cannot afford them.
Information on children in material deprivation is then combined with information about the income of their household (before housing costs) and figures on children in material deprivation and low income households are reported.
Figures for pensioners in material deprivation are also reported but these are not combined with information on the income of the household. The other source of information on material deprivation in Wales is the National Survey for Wales.
The National Survey measure uses many of the same questions that are used in the FRS but the information on material deprivation is not combined with income for any of the age groups.
The National Survey reported figures for adults, parents and pensioners in material deprivation in Wales.
The only comparable figures from the two sources are for pensioners in material deprivation in Wales. Possible reasons for why the National Survey figures for pensioners differ from the FRS figures are:
- The pensioners in the National Survey are only asked about 15 goods or services, while the pensioners in the FRS are asked about 21 goods and services
- The figures refer to slightly different time periods
- Differences in the sample of pensioners selected for the two surveys
- The two surveys have different focus in terms of their content. The National Survey asks about a range of different topics such as people’s views on various services, their health and well-being and their activities, while the FRS is a survey which particularly focuses on income and what people can afford.