UK poverty 2017: a comprehensive analysis of poverty trends and figures

Publication type



- -

Publication date


This report, which has been produced in-house by the JRF Analysis Unit for the first time, examines poverty rates in the UK, and looks at how figures have changed over the past two decades.
UK Poverty 2017 highlights that overall, 14 million people live in poverty in the UK – over one in five of the population. This is made up of eight million working-age adults, four million children and 1.9 million pensioners. 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work.
Over the last 20 years, the UK has dramatically reduced poverty among people who had traditionally been most at risk – pensioners and certain types of families with children. But that progress is beginning to unravel; poverty rates for both groups have started to rise again.
The analysis highlights that the three factors which have led to a fall in poverty and are now under question; state support for many of those on low incomes is falling in real terms, rents are increasing, and rising employment is no longer reducing poverty. As a result, JRF is calling for a national mission to transform the prospects of millions of people living in poverty in the UK.
This is the first report to assess the progress the UK is making in reducing poverty rates and tackling the underlying drivers of poverty since the publication of JRF’s We Can Solve Poverty in the UK in 2016.


Demography, Households, Poverty, Public Policy and Social Policy



Received extensive media coverage (Dec.2017); Understanding Society used to provide information on Health and Relationships - physical health, children’s mental health, adult experience of social isolation and support networks, and aspects of relationships.; Referenced by: Understanding Society (2018) ‘Written evidence from Understanding Society the UK Household Longitudinal Study (WSN0051) [Work and Pensions Select Committee. Welfare safety net inquiry]’. London: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Related Publications

  1. Millions on the breadline in broke Britain
  2. Joseph Rowntree Foundation research finds that 30% of children and 16% of pensioners live in poverty
  3. Poverty hits more children and pensioners, says charity
  4. UK's progress on fighting child poverty 'in peril'
  5. Britain’s record on fighting poverty ‘at risk’