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Summary: Chapter 13: Pension Trends, 2012 Edition

Released: 24 October 2012 Download PDF

Percentage of pensioners falling below thresholds of equivalised contemporary median household income (AHC)

Great Britain/United Kingdom, Percentages

Percentage of pensioners falling below thresholds of equivalised contemporary median household income (AHC)
Source: Work and Pensions


  1. Pensioners are defined as individuals above state pension age and results for couples exclude partners of working age.
  2. Data is for Great Britain until 1997/98 and the United Kingdom thereafter.

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The figure shows the proportion of pensioners falling below 50, 60 and 70 per cent of equivalised contemporary median income After Housing Costs (AHC). The concepts of AHC and equivalised contemporary median income are defined within Pension Trends chapter 13 in the Definitions section.

There has been a decrease in the number of pensioners falling below equivalised income thresholds. In 1994/95, when contemporary median income for a couple with no children was £277 per week in 2010/11-equivalent money values, 40 per cent of pensioners fell below the 70 per cent threshold.

By 2010/11, when equivalised contemporary median income AHC was £359 per week, this proportion had fallen to 24 per cent. In 1994/95, 28 per cent of pensioners fell below the 60 per cent threshold; by 2010/11 this had fallen to 14 per cent. The proportion of pensioner households falling below 50 per cent of contemporary median income has varied between 8 and 13 per cent since 1994/95.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

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

Further information

Pension Trends - Chapter 13: Inequalities and Poverty in Retirement, 2012 Edition - Inequalities and poverty in retirement. Looks at average incomes and income inequalities of retired and non-retired households over the last three decades. Then the effect that different sources of income have on a pensioner household’s position within the income distribution. The discussion of income inequality concludes with an exploration of other characteristics associated with a household’s position in the income distribution, such as the type of household, age, ethnicity, employment status and housing tenure. The second part of the chapter investigates alternative measures of pensioner poverty.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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