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Video Summary: Workless Households in the UK in 2012

Released: 29 August 2012

This is a short video looking at the latest on workless households in the UK in 2012.

Firstly we will look at the changes since 1996 using this chart. On the left hand scale we have the number of workless households in the UK and here is the line showing this number over the past 16 years. The right hand scale shows the percentage of households in the UK that are workless and here is the line.  Note we are only looking at households with at least one person aged 16 to 64.

You can see that both lines follow each other but they have diverged over time. The percentage has changed more than the number as over the past 16 years there has been an increase in the number of households in the UK.

In 2012 there were 3.7 million households in the UK where none of the people living within them were in work. This represented 17.9 per cent of all households with at least one person aged 16 to 64.

If we bring up the bar here we can look at the 2008/09 recession and we see the two lines increase at the onset of this recession as people starting losing jobs and workless households rose.

Now we will look at the number of people aged 16 to 64 and children aged 0 to 15 living within the workless households in 2012. Starting first with people, there were 5.02 million living in workless households and for children, there were 1.75 million.

Looking at working, mixed and workless households, using this pie chart, we can see that in 2012, the majority of households in the UK were working households, at 53 per cent. These are households in which everyone was in work. There were 29.1 per cent of mixed households, which are those that contain people in work and not in work, and as mentioned earlier 17.9 per cent of households were workless.

So we have shown there are around five million people in workless households and now we will look at the main reasons people give for not being in work.

The top reason for being workless is disabled or temporary or long term sick. Around 1.45 million people gave this reason in 2012, accounting for 29 per cent of those in workless households. The second most common reason was unemployed, accounting for 1.03 million, or around 1 in every 5. The other reasons given are appearing in the video now. Note these are the reasons for those not working in workless households and some workless people live in mixed households.

The percentage of workless households varies depending on a number of factors. Here will look at housing tenure, which measures the financial arrangement under which people live within their household. Using this chart and starting with owner occupied households, we see a much greater percentage of households that are owned outright are workless compared to those being bought by a mortgage. Someone living in a house with a mortgage may be more likely to seek employment for fear of losing their home, compared with someone who does not have the same financial burden.

Now looking at households that are being rented or are rent free, we see that 45 per cent of council or housing association households are workless, the highest across all the different groups.

Moving on to look at differences for couples and lone parents we will see how workless households vary depending on the age of the youngest child in the household. Bringing up this chart and firstly plotting the bars for lone parents we can see that as the age of the youngest child increases the percentage of lone parent households that are workless decreases. This would reflect an increased opportunity to go out to work as children start school and grow up.

If we look at the bars for couple households we can see the percentage that are workless is much lower, reflecting the ability for couple households to share childcare responsibilities.

If we now concentrate on lone parent households using this chart since 1996 and the percentage that are workless, we see that it has generally fallen. In 1996, 52 per cent of all lone parent households were workless, falling to 37 per cent in 2012.

Finally we will look at children aged 0 to 15. In total there were around 11.64 million children aged 0 to 15 in 2012 and using this chart we see that of these, 8.75 million were in couple households, 2.56 million in lone parent households and a small number in other household types, for example households with multiple families.

Focusing on the children who live in workless households, there were 1.75 million in 2012 and if we use this chart we see that around 32 per cent lived in couple households and 66 per cent were in lone parent households, with the remainder in other household types.

So the majority of children in the UK live with couples but the majority of those in workless households live with lone parents.

  • The number of households with at least one person aged 16 to 64 in which no-one was in work was 3.7 million in 2012, down 153,000 on a year earlier

  • There were 5.02 million people aged 16 to 64 living in workless households and a further 1.75 million children aged 0 to 15

  • The main reason for worklessness was being disabled or sick. Around 1.45 million people gave this reason, accounting for 29 per cent of those in workless households. The second most common reason was unemployment, accounting for 1.03 million, or around 1 in every 5.

  • Around 45 per cent of council/housing association households were workless, compared with 4 per cent of households buying their home through a mortgage

  • The majority of children aged 0 to 15 in the UK lived with couples, 8.75 million of the estimated total of 11.64 million. However the majority of the 1.75 million children living in workless households lived with lone parents, 1.16 million, or 2 in every 3 children.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. 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.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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