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% 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.
Working-age adults are asked whether they have access to 9 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. Working-age adults are considered to be in material deprivation and low income if they have a material deprivation score of 25 or more out of 100 and a household income below 50/60/70% of the UK average (median) before housing costs were paid. The combined low income and material deprivation measure for working age adults is considered experimental statistics.
More information on how material deprivation is measured is available in the households below average income technical report (Department for Work & Pensions).
What should I keep in mind on material deprivation?
Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic analysis of the HBAI data below UK level is not recommended using the financial year ending (FYE) 2021 data as the combination of smaller sample sizes and additional bias means it is not possible to make meaningful statistical assessments of trends and changes in FYE 2021 compared to the pre-coronavirus level.
Data points that span FYE 2021 period do not include the FYE 2021 survey data in calculations, as it is judged to be of low quality.. This means that some real changes that happened to incomes, such as the furlough scheme or the temporary increase of Universal Credit are only partially captured in the time series.
Data collected for FYE 2022 was also affected by the coronavirus pandemic however following extensive analysis the DWP are content that levels of bias in the data resulting from the mode change are lower than FYE 2021 and have less influence on the statistics. We judge the FYE 2022 HBAI data quality to be robust however caution is advised when making comparisons with previous years and interpreting larger changes.
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 or working age adults in material deprivation is then combined with information about the income of their household (before housing costs) and figures on children or working age adults 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 (figures for adults are not comparable because the FRS deprivation scores are combined with income but NSW scores are not). 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.