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Statistical bulletin: Working and Workless Households, 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 01 September 2011 Download PDF

For the three months to June 2011:

  • The percentage of households where no adults work was 18.8 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier.
  • The percentage of households where all adults work was 53.5 per cent, up 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier.
  • Of the regions in England and countries of the UK, the North East had the highest percentage of workless households.
  • The number of households in which no adult has ever worked was 370,000, up 18,000 from a year earlier.
  • There were 1.8 million children living in workless households, down 26,000 from a year earlier.

Summary

A video explaining this story is available on the ONS YouTube channel.

In April to June 2011 there were 3.88 million UK households with at least one member aged 16 to 64 where no-one was currently working. This represented 18.8 per cent of households and was a fall of 0.3 percentage points, or 38,000 households, on a year earlier. In all, 1.84 million children lived in these households and 5.41 million people aged 16 to 64.

The overall fall in workless households was driven by a reduction in those where everyone is in the inactive category. There were 2.92 million such households in April to June 2011, down 82,000 on the previous year. This is around three-quarters of all workless households in the UK. However there was a rise in the number of households where everyone was classed as unemployed rather than inactive, up 37,000, to stand at 583,000 households across the UK in April to June 2011. These movements broadly mirrored changes in the numbers of individuals out of work over the same period.

There were falls in the percentage of workless households across many of the different types of households but the largest fall was for ‘one-person’ households where there is just one adult member with no children. In April to June 2011 34.7 per cent of one-person households were not in work, down 2.1 percentage points on a year earlier as more of these households moved into work.

Over the same period there was a rise in the number of households in which no member aged 16 and over had ever had a paid job, up 18,000 to stand at 370,000 in April to June 2011. Excluding student households, the number where no-one has ever worked stood at 297,000, up 27,000.

Also the employment rate for people with dependent children fell by 0.2 percentage points to 76.8 per cent, driven by a reduction in working mothers living with a partner. The employment rate for people without dependent children increased by 0.3 percentage points to 67.7 per cent.

Households

Households by combined economic activity status of members (Table A)

For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of households in which no one was in work was 18.8 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Around three-quarters of all workless households are where all members are inactive. For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of households where all people were inactive was 14.2 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier. The percentage of households where all people were unemployed rose by 0.2 percentage points to 2.8 per cent.

Over the same period, the percentage of households in which everyone was in work was 53.5 per cent, up 0.5 percentage points and the percentage of mixed households was 27.7 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points.

Percentage point change on year for working, mixed and workless households, April to June 2010 compared to April to June 2011

This chart shows the percentage point change on year for working, mixed and workless households

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Households with and without dependent children by type of household and combined economic activity status of household members (Table B)

For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of workless households with dependent children was 13.7 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points. For those without dependent children, the percentage of workless households was 21.8 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points. Looking at the type of household in more detail, 39.4 per cent of lone parent households were workless, 5.2 per cent of couple households while for other household types 8.7 per cent were workless. Of those without dependent children, 14.0 per cent of couple households were workless, 20.6 per cent for lone parents with non-dependent children and 20.7 per cent for other households without dependent children. The percentage of one person workless households was 34.7 per cent, down 2.1 percentage points, the largest fall in workless households across the different household types.

Households by region and combined economic activity status of members (Table C)

For the three months to June 2011, of the regions in England and countries of the UK, the North East had the highest percentage of workless households at 24.9 per cent, while the South East had the lowest at 14.1 per cent. The East of England had the highest percentage of working households at 58.5 per cent, while Northern Ireland had the lowest at 47.6 per cent.

Percentage of workless households by region, April to June 2011

This is a map showing the percentage of workless households by region

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Households by housing tenure by combined economic activity status of household members (Table D)

In the three months to June 2011, for the two main categories in housing tenure, the percentage of workless households for those owner-occupied was 10.7 per cent compared with 33.0 per cent for those rented or rent-free. For owner-occupied households, a much higher percentage of workless households own their home outright, 24.4 per cent, compared with those buying their home with a mortgage, 3.9 per cent. For those rented households, the percentage of workless households for those renting from a social landlord was 47.5 per cent and 20.6 per cent of those privately renting. Privately rented households also saw the largest fall in workless households over the year, down 1.5 percentage points.

Households where all members have never worked (Table E)

For the three months to June 2011, there were 370,000 households in which no adult has ever worked, up 18,000 from a year earlier. In relation to all households in the UK, the percentage of households who have never worked is 1.8 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier. Excluding student households, where everyone was aged 16 to 24 and in full-time education, leaves 297,000 households that have never worked, up 27,000 from a year earlier.

People

People in households by combined economic activity status of household members (Table F)

For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of people, aged 16 to 64, living in workless households was 13.5 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier. Over the same period, the percentage of people living in working households was 50.2 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points and the percentage of people in mixed households was 36.3 per cent, down 0.1 percentage points.

Looking at people living in workless households by age group, the percentage fell across all groups apart for those aged 16 to 24 which rose by 0.6 percentage points to 14.2 per cent. The largest fall in the percentage of people living in workless households was for those aged 50 to 64, down 0.4 percentage points to 21.1 per cent.

Percentage point change on year for people living in workless households by age group, April to June 2010 compared to April to June 2011

This chart shows the percentage point change on year for people living in workless households by age group

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People in households by type and combined economic activity status of household members (Table G)

For the three months to June 2011, the largest fall in percentage of people living in workless households was for those in one person households, down 2.1 percentage points to 34.7 per cent. The largest rise was for those living in lone parent households with dependent children, up 0.9 percentage points to 34.2 per cent.

Children

Children in households by combined economic activity status of household members (Table K)

For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of children in workless households was 15.8 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Over the same period, the percentage of children in working households was 51.4 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points and the percentage of children in mixed households was 32.7 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points.

Children in households by type of household and combined economic activity status of household members (Table L)

Children living in lone parent households consistently have the highest percentage of workless households, 48.1 per cent in the three months to June 2011, down 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier.  For children living in couple households, the percentage of workless households was 6.3 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier.

 

Percentage of children in working, mixed and workless households by type, April to June 2011

This chart shows the percentage of children in working, mixed and workless households by type

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Children in households that have never worked (Table O)

For the three months to June 2011, the percentage of children living in households where none of the adults has ever worked was 2.6 per cent (307,000 children), up 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier. 

People by parental status

Employment rates of people by parental status (Table P)

Married or cohabiting fathers with dependent children consistently have the highest employment rates. For the three months to June 2011 the employment rate for this group was 89.5 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier.

Lone parents with dependent children have the lowest employment rates, for the three months to June 2011 the rate was 57.3 per cent, up 0.1 percentage points from a year earlier,
Over the year, all groups saw a rise in employment rates except married or cohabiting mothers where the rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to stand at 70.9 per cent for the three months to June 2011.

Percentage point change on year for people with and without dependent children, April to June 2010 compared to April to June 2011

This chart shows the percentage point change on year for people with and without dependent children

Download chart

Index of tables

All 2011 working and workless statistical bulletin tables (300 Kb Excel sheet)

Table A - Households by combined economic activity status of household members (33 Kb Excel sheet)

Table B - Households with and without dependent children by type of household and combined economic activity status of household members (38.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Table C - Households by region and combined economic activity status of household members (319.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Table D - Households by housing tenure and combined economic activity status of household members (43 Kb Excel sheet)

Table E - Households where all members have never worked (30 Kb Excel sheet)

Table F - People by age and combined economic activity status of household members (40.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Table G - People in households by type of household and combined economic activity status of household members (48 Kb Excel sheet)

Table H - People by region and combined economic activity status of household members (169.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Table I - People in households by housing tenure and combined economic activity status of household members (43 Kb Excel sheet)

Table J - People in households where all members have never worked (30 Kb Excel sheet)

Table K - Children in households by combined economic activity status of household members (33 Kb Excel sheet)

Table L - Children in households by type of household and combined economic activity status of household members (45 Kb Excel sheet)

Table M - Children in households by region and combined economic activity status of household members (171 Kb Excel sheet)

Table N - Children in households by housing tenure and combined economic activity status of household members (43 Kb Excel sheet)

Table O - Children in households where all members have never worked (30 Kb Excel sheet)

Table P - Employment rates of people by parental status (34.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Background notes

  1. Household datasets

    The figures in this statistical bulletin come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Each month ONS issues many estimates of the labour market using the LFS person datasets, designed to provide estimates of people. The estimates within this statistical bulletin differ as they combine responses of all people within households. This is to provide estimates involving all the labour market characteristics of the people within the household.

    Household datasets are weighted differently to person datasets, in that each person in a household is given the same weight. This ensures that weighted estimates at the household level are consistent. When using the household datasets to give estimates of the total number of people the different weighting procedure will give marginally different estimates to those from the person datasets.

    Estimates in this statistical bulletin go back to 1996, which is the first year a consistent time series, on a calendar quarter basis is available. ONS is currently investigating calendar quarter household datasets for the period 1992 to 1995, to allow for a longer consistent time series.

  2. Sampling variability

    The LFS is the source for each estimate within this statistical bulletin. As a sample survey, it is subject to a margin of uncertainty, as different samples give different results. For example, the estimate for the percentage of children in workless households is 15.8 per cent, with a sampling variability of ±0.4 per cent. This variability gives a confidence interval, which is such that there is 95 per cent certainty that the percentage of children in workless households lies between 15.4 per cent and 16.2 per cent.

    Sampling variability tables for other estimates in this statistical bulletin are available in the supporting spreadsheet (207.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

  3. Seasonal adjustment

    The data in this statistical bulletin cannot be seasonally adjusted because the LFS Household datasets are produced for Q2 and Q4 only. In order to carry out seasonal adjustment data would have to be available for each quarter.

  4. Revisions

    There have been revisions to all estimates in this statistical bulletin, back to April-June 2002, resulting from taking on board the latest population estimates. More information on the impact of these revisions are available in the supporting spreadsheet (29.5 Kb Excel sheet)

  5. Concepts and definitions

    • Estimates within this statistical bulletin only cover households that contain at least one person aged 16 to 64.

    • A household is defined as a single person, or a group of people living at the same address who have the address as their only or main residence and either share one main meal a day or share living accommodation (or both).

    • A working household is a household that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where all individuals aged 16 and over are in employment.

    • A mixed household is a household that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where at least one person aged 16 and over is in employment and at least one other is either unemployed or inactive.

    • A workless household is a household that contains at least one person aged 16 to 64, where no-one aged 16 or over is in employment.

    • Children refer to all children under 16.

    • Dependent children are children aged under 16 and those aged 16 to 18 who have never married and are in full-time education.

    • The other household types columns in tables B, G and L refer to households which contain two or more family units, or two or more people belonging to separate family units.

    • The household reference person is the householder who: a) owns the household accommodation, or b) is legally responsible for the rent of the accommodation, or c) has the household accommodation as part of their job, or d) has the household accommodation by virtue of some relationship to the owner who is not a member of the household. If there are joint householders the household reference person will be the one with the higher income. If the incomes are the same, then the eldest householder is taken.

    • Parental status refers to three groups of parents; married/cohabiting mothers, married/cohabiting fathers and lone parents, defined as people with dependent children who are resident in their household.  Those whose children live in another household are not included.

    • Mother/father includes biological mothers/fathers, step-mothers/fathers and adoptive mothers/fathers with dependent children that live in the same household as them. Foster mothers/fathers, women/men with non-dependent children and those whose children live in a separate household are not included.

  6. Publication policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

    © Crown Copyright 2011.

    You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

  7. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Jamie Jenkins +44 (0)1633 455840 Household and Labour Market Division jamie.jenkins@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.