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Research confirms link between poverty and ethnicity in the UK

A report released recently by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows there is a clear link between poverty and ethnicity in the UK. The review, Poverty and Ethnicity: A Review of Evidence, found that in areas such as employment, care, and where you live, people from many ethnic minority groups do proportionally worse than White British people.

The research identified three areas of particular concern:

  • Employment: People from many ethnic minorities are proportionately less likely to enter employment, be paid equal salaries, and be promoted, than their White British counterparts, meaning it is harder for them to escape poverty. For example, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black people are paid less than White British or Indian people with the same qualifications.
  • Location: Where you live has a huge impact on how likely you are to escape poverty. The likelihood of living in a deprived neighbourhood can vary greatly across different ethnic groups in the same place. For example Peterborough has one of the heaviest concentrations of Asian people in deprived areas, but Black people are least likely to live in deprived areas of the city. Where you live also has an effect on your likelihood of being employed. For example, there are very different employment rates for the same ethnic group in different areas: a Pakistani woman is three times more likely to be employed in Camden than in Newcastle.
  • Care: Changing demographics mean that caring responsibilities are going to alter in the near future. A study in Birmingham suggested that by 2026, 1 in 4 people over 65 will be from minority ethnic groups (the current figure is 1 in 8). Having caring responsibilities affects the type of work you can do. Demographic changes could increase the pressure on people from some ethnic groups to take low-paid work. They could also have big implications for care services providers.
  • Following the findings of this review, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is today launching a £1.3 million programme on poverty and ethnicity in the UK. Over the next five years it will investigate the reasons for the links between poverty and ethnicity in the areas identified above.

    Helen Barnard, Programme Manager for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "We know that poverty and ethnicity are linked. But the links cross many areas, such as income, employment, and networks. Finding out more about how ethnicity affects each of these areas should help us to develop better ways of tackling poverty across all ethnic groups."



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