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Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Wales 2013

Key points

• Over the three years to 2011/12, 690,000 people (23%) were living in low-income households in Wales. Although the total has changed little since the early 2000s, the proportion in working families has risen steadily.
• The pattern of in-work poverty across Wales differed from that of out-of-work poverty. As a proportion of their working-age populations, the West, North-West and East (predominantly rural) had high numbers receiving in-work benefits, while Cardiff had a low number. By contrast, the six South Wales Valleys had high numbers claiming out-of-work benefits.
• Some 29% of people in ‘part-working’ families had low household incomes, but only 7% of those in ‘full-working’ families. For some, working more hours is part of the answer to in-work poverty.
• Some 23% of employees earning less than the UK ‘Living Wage’ had low household incomes, but only 3% of those earning more. As well as working more hours, higher pay is part of the answer to in-work poverty. Both matter; neither is a magic bullet.
• Around 235,000 working-age adults in Wales were disabled and not in work; just over a third of them wanted paid work. Overall, 217,000 people in Wales lacked but wanted work in 2012.
• In Wales, 26.5% of the working-age population was economically inactive in 2012 – higher than in Scotland or any English region. Wales exceeded the British average by almost 3.5 percentage points, an ‘excess’ of 65,000 people. Of this ‘excess’, around 45,000 was due to the below-average employment rate in Wales.
• The extent of inactivity, disability and in-work poverty in Wales reflects weak demand for labour. Wales needs job creation to defeat poverty.