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Video Summary: Workless Households in the UK in 2013

Released: 28 August 2013

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Welcome to this short video on Working and Workless Households in the UK in April to June 2013.

Beginning with some definitions,

Considering households where at least one member is aged 16 to 64, A working household is a household where all members aged 16 to 64 are in work. A mixed household is a household where some members are in work and some are not. A workless household is a household where no – one is in work.

Moving down to look at the headline figures for 2013, 54.0% of households containing at least one person aged 16 to 64 were working households, 28.8% were mixed households and 17.1% were workless households.

In terms of the number of households this was 11.0 million working households, 5.9 million mixed households and 3.5 million workless households. Considering people aged 16 to 64 there were 20.2 million people in working households, 15.1 million in mixed households and 4.9 million in workless households. Finally looking at the number of children there were 6.3 million in working households, 3.8 million in mixed households and 1.6 million in workless households. 

Moving on now to focus on workless households. The percentage of workless households stood at 20.9% when comparable records began in April to June 1996. Ten years later it had fallen to 17.3%. It rose to 19.2% in the recent economic downturn but in 2013 it was 17.1%, the lowest since 1996.

Looking more closely at workless households over the past year, in 2012 17.9% of households were workless but in 2013 17.1% were. The number of workless households fell by 182,000 on the year but some of this fall is due to a fall in the total number of households containing at least one person aged 16 to 64.  

Considering now a specific section of workless households, households where no one has ever worked. This chart shows the number of households where no one has ever worked from 1996 to 2013. The top line shows the number including student households and the bottom one shows the number excluding student households. Although the number is still above what it was in 1996, both series have fallen since their peak in 2011.

Returning to people now, and considering the 4.9 million people aged 16 to 64 in workless households in 2013 by their reason for not working. This bar shows that 28% were not working due to sickness or disability, 21% were unemployed, 17% had retired early, 15% were looking after the family or home, 13% were studying and the rest gave various other reasons.

Finally looking at the 1.6 million children in workless households in April to June 2013. This bar shows that 33% of them lived with a couple, 65% lived with a lone parent and 2% lived in various other household types.  

That was Working and Workless households 2013.

In April to June 2013:

  • 17.1% of all households with at least one person aged 16-64 were workless, down from 17.9% in the same period last year. This is the lowest percentage since comparable records began in 1996. The total number of workless households was 3.5 million.

  • The number of people aged 16-64 in workless households fell to 4.9 million, the first time it has been below 5 million since 2008.

  • The number of children in workless households was 1.6 million, or 14% of all children. Of these, 65% were living in single-parent households.

  • There were 297,000 households where no-one had ever worked, down 43,000 on the year. Excluding student households there were 224,000 households containing only people who have never worked, down 41,000 on the year.

  • The North East remained the area with the highest percentage of its households workless, at 23%, with the South East having the lowest at 13%.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

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

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