Inequality, poverty and living standards

The distribution of income, consumption and wealth continues to be a central area of IFS research. Amongst the many aspects of our work in this area, we seek to chart, explain, and understand changes in inequality in wages, earnings, incomes and consumption, in the UK and other countries; we also seek to examine the effectiveness of a wide range of policies aimed at reducing poverty - including taxes and benefits, and other types of policy interventions

Our research is also concerned with the welfare implications of changes both to inequality and poverty. These depend on how far they are caused by permanent changes in the relative standings of individuals in the income distribution (e.g. a change in the return to certain skills caused by technical progress) or by changes in the frequency of short-lived events (e.g. temporary layoffs), as well as the availability to individuals of specific insurance and other mechanisms to mitigate unexpected events.

To get an idea of where you fit into the income distribution, try our Where do you fit in?, which will plot your position on the distributional graph. You can also download a spreadsheet containing some key figures about inequality.

Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2017

| Report

This report examines changes in the distribution of household incomes in the UK, and the determinants and consequences of recent trends. This includes analysing not only changes in average living standards, but also inequality in household incomes and measures of income poverty and deprivation.

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Living standards, poverty and inequality: 2017 - summary

| Report Summaries

This report summary relates to the report, Living standards, poverty and inequality: 2017.

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In-work poverty among families with children

| Book Chapters

The majority of children in poverty are in working families. One reason for this is that worklessness in families with children, while an important cause of poverty, has fallen significantly over the last 20 years. In addition, the relative poverty rates for children living in working families have risen over that period. As a result, the risk of poverty is more similar for children in working and non-working households now than it was 20 years ago. Earnings are still well below their levels seen prior to the 2008 recession, increasing the risk that simply having someone in work is not enough to take families out of poverty.

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