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Working and Workless Households, 2011 - Summary of Key Findings This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 01 September 2011 Download PDF

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Working and workless households

Rise in households in which every member aged 16 and over is unemployed

Percentage point change in number of workless households, April to June 2010 compared to April to June 2011, United Kingdom

Percentage point change in number of workless households, April to June 2010 compared to April to June 2011, United Kingdom

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In April to June 2011 there was a fall in the percentage of workless households in the UK compared to April to June 2010.

In Q2 2011 of all households in the UK where there were at least one member aged 16 to 64, 18.8 per cent contained no one in work. This was a fall of 0.3 percentage points on a year earlier and represented 3.88 million households in the UK. Of these households there were 5.41 million people aged 16 to 64 living within them and a further 1.84 million children aged 0 to 15.

Around three-quarters of all the workless households in the UK are where all the members aged 16 and over are inactive and the overall fall was driven by a reduction in these households. Over the same period there was an increase in the percentage of households in which everyone was unemployed, up by 0.2 percentage points to stand at 2.8 per cent in April to June 2011. This represented 583,000 households across the UK that included at least one member aged 16 to 64.

Fall driven by a reduction in one-person households

There were falls in the percentage of workless households across many of the different types of households but the largest fall was for households where there is just one adult member with no children. In Q2 2011 around 34.7 per cent of one-person households were not in work, down 2.1 percentage points on a year earlier.

Overall households without dependent children had a larger percentage point fall in workless households than those with dependent children, 0.5 percentage points compared to 0.1 percentage points. Although households without dependent children are more likely to be workless, 21.8 per cent, compared to 13.7 per cent of households with dependent children. This is because those without dependent children are older households who are more likely to be inactive, with 69 per cent of them having a head of household aged 50 and over. For the households with dependent children, 85 per cent have the head of the household aged under 50.

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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North East highest percentage where no one is working

Across the countries of the UK and the regions within England, around 1 in 4 households in the North East had no-one in work, accounting for 24.9 per cent of households in that area. This was the largest percentage across the UK and the South East at 14.1 per cent had the lowest.

Of the four countries of the UK, Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of workless households, at 21.2 per cent with the lowest percentage in England at 18.6 per cent.

Rise in households where no-one has ever worked

Number of households that have never worked, 1996 to 2011, April to June each year, United Kingdom

Number of households that have never worked, 1996 to 2011, April to June each year, United Kingdom

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In April to June 2011 there were 370,000 households in which no member aged 16 and over had ever had a paid job. This was an increase of 18,000 on the previous year and represented 1.8 per cent of all households within the UK. The number and percentage has generally been increasing since 1996, the earliest point a consistent estimate is available, where it stood at 178,000 (0.9 per cent) households.

Excluding households where all adults are aged 16-24 and in education, known as student households, the number that have never worked stood at 297,000 thousand in April to June 2011, up 27,000 on a year earlier.

Background notes

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Background information

Email: Labour.market@ons.gov.uk 

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