Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Wales 2007 - technical notes

Important note:

The 2009 Welsh Findings pdf erroneously included a link to this web page.  If you came here as a result of that link, please ignore all the material below. This page is the technical notes for the 2007 Findings, not the 2009 Findings.

Figure 1: Rates of child, working-age and pensioner poverty; shares by depth, work status and family type

Figure 1 shows the risk of a person being in a low-income household, with the data shown separately for children, working-age adults and pensioners.

The data source is Households Below Average Income, based on the Family Resources Survey.  Income is disposable household income after deducting housing costs and the low-income threshold is 60% of median household income.  All the data is equivalised (adjusted) to account for differences in household size and composition.  The self-employed are included in the statistics.  Note that in 2007 the Department of Work and Pensions made some technical changes to how it adjusted household income for household composition (including retrospective changes) and, as a result, the data is slightly different than previously published figures.

For each pair of bars, the left hand bar (labelled '1998/99') is the average for 1997/98 to 1999/00 and the right hand bar (labelled 'now') is the average for 2003/04 to 2005/06.  The reason for choosing 1998/99 as the date for the left hand bar is that it is the year from which the UK Government monitors progress on its child poverty targets.

Whilst the total height of each bar is the risk of the relevant age group being in low income, the division of each bar shows the mix of people in the group.  So, for example, around 20% of all working-age adults are in low-income households.  Of these 350,000 people, around a tenth (40,000 people) are lone parents, two-fifths (130,000 people) are either disabled or living with a partner who is disabled, and the remaining half (180,000 people) are neither lone parents, nor disabled, nor living with a partner who is disabled.  The graph should certainly not be taken to imply that the risk of lone parents being in low income is less than 5%!

The reason for having two sets of bars for children is that we wanted to show the divisions by both depth of low income and family work status.  "<50%" is the group where the household income is less than 50% of median household income after deducting housing costs, whilst "50-60%" is the group where their household income is between 50% and 60% of median household income.  "In working families" is the group where at least one of the parents with whom the child is living is in paid work.

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Figure 2: Young adult unemployment and 'wanting work' rates for lone parents, disabled working-age and non-disabled working age adults; and by sub-region

The first two bars in Figure 2 show the proportion of economically active 19- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed, whilst all the other bars show the proportion of the stated working-age population who lack but want paid work.  The reason why the bars for the 19- to 24-year-olds are restricted to the economically active population only (i.e. they exclude those who are economically inactive) is because, otherwise, the prevalence of students (who are considered to be economically inactive) in this age group would unduly distort the figures.

The work status of any particular individual can be one of four types:

  1. Working: this is self-explanatory.

  2. Unemployed: not working but considered to be both actively looking for work and available to start work at short notice.  'Unemployment' is the ILO definition, which is used for the official government unemployment numbers.  It comprises all those with no paid work in the survey week who were available to start work in the next fortnight and who either looked for work in the last month or were waiting to start a job already obtained.

  3. Economically inactive but wanting paid work: not working and wanting work but failing to meet at least one of the criteria above required to be considered 'unemployed'.  It therefore includes people who not available to start work for some time and those not actively seeking work.

  4. Economically inactive and not wanting paid work: this is self-explanatory.

In this context:

For the two young adult bars, the numerator is those who are unemployed and the denominator is the economically active population.  The left hand bar is the average for 1998 to 2000 and the right hand bar is the average for 2004 to 2006.  This averaging over three-year periods has been done to improve statistical reliability.  The data source is the Labour Force Survey.

For all the other bars, the numerator is the number of working-age people in the stated group (lone parents, disabled, etc) who are either unemployed or economically inactive but wanting paid work, and the denominator is the total number of working-age people in the group.

For lone parents, disabled and not disabled, the left hand bar is for 1999 and the right hand bar is for 2006.  The data source is the Labour Force Survey.  Disability is the Labour Force Survey definition of 'work-limiting disability' and comprises those people who stated that they have had health problems for more than a year and that these problems affect either the kind or amount of work that they can do.

For the Welsh 'sub-regions', the bars are the average for 2004 and 2005 and each bar is split between those who are unemployed and those who are economically inactive but want paid work.  The data source is the Annual Population Survey, which is effectively the Labour Force Survey with selected booster samples to compensate for small sample sizes in some authorities.  The 'sub-regions' are aggregations of local authority areas, namely:

Note that the Labour Force Survey figures are the average for the four quarters of the relevant year but that, prior to 2006, these four quarters ran from December to November.

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Figure 3: Proportions of part-time and full-time workers who are low-paid, Wales and England; and by sub-region

Each bar in Figure 3 shows the proportion of the stated group of employees who were being paid less than 6.50 per hour in 2006.  6.50 per hour is roughly two-thirds of the UK median hourly earnings and is commonly used as a threshold when analysing low pay.

The data source is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).  The proportions have been calculated from the hourly rates at each decile using interpolation to estimate the consequent proportion earning less than 6.50 per hour.

In the first three sets of bars, the data is shown separately for each of part-timers (men and women combined), full-time women and full-time men.  The reason for combining male and female part-timers is that their risk of low pay is similar.  For comparison purposes, the equivalent data for England is also shown.

For the Welsh 'sub-regions', the data is based on where people live rather than where they work.  The division of each bar shows the mix of people who were paid less than 6.50 per hour in terms of whether they were full-time or part-time.  So, for example, around 30% of employees in the West 'sub-region' were paid less than 6.50 per hour, or whom around half were full-time and the other half were part-time.  The 'sub-regions' are aggregations of local authority areas, namely:

Note that the male full-time estimate for the Valleys does not include Merthyr Tydfil and the part-time estimate for the North West does not include either Denbighshire or Gwynedd.  In both cases, this is because the sample size was insufficient to derive a reliable estimate.

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Figure 4: Proportions of 11-, 16- and 19-year-olds falling short of minimum levels of attainment; and proportions of 16- to 18-year-olds not in employment, education, or training ('NEETs')

The first set of bars in Figure 4 show the proportion of children assessed by their teachers as failing to reach level 4 at key stage 2 (11 year-olds).  The proportions are the average for English and Maths (Welsh is only taught in some schools).  The first bar is for the 1999/00 academic year and the second bar is for 2005/06.  Note that teacher assessments, rather than actual tests, are shown as the tests now no longer take place.  The data source is benchmarking information from the Local Government Data Unit.

The second sets of bars show the proportion of students (defined as pupils aged 15 at 31 August in the calendar year prior to sitting the exams) failing to obtain any GCSE grades or vocational equivalent (either because they do not enter for exams or achieve no passes).  The third set of bars show the proportion of students failing to obtain 5 or more GCSEs or vocational equivalent and comprises those failing to obtain any GCSEs plus those obtaining 1-4.  In each case, the first bar is for the 1999/00 academic year and the second bar is for 2005/06.  The data source is the National Assembly for Wales Education Statistics.

The fourth set of bars shows the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (sometimes referred to as NEETs).  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is based on three-year averages, namely 1998 to 2000 for the first bar and 2004 to 2006 for the second bar.  The data source is the Labour Force Survey.  The figures for each year are the average for the four quarters of the relevant year noting that, prior to 2006, these four quarters ran from December to November.  Also note that the figures are not precisely the same as those in official government publications, mainly because those publications are based on analysis of the fourth quarter data for each year only.

The final set of bars shows the proportion of 19-year-olds without a basic qualification, with the data shown separately for those without NVQ2 or equivalent and those without any GCSEs at grade G or above.  Department for Education equivalence scales have been used to translate academic qualifications into their vocational equivalents.  So, for example, 'NVQ2 or equivalent' includes those with five GCSEs at grade C or above, GNVQ level 2, two AS levels or one A level.  In line with these equivalence scales, 45% of those with an 'other qualification' are considered to have NVQ2 or equivalent.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is based on three-year averages, namely 1998 to 2000 for the first bar and 2004 to 2006 for the second bar.  The data source is the Labour Force Survey.  The figures for each year are the average for the four quarters of the relevant year noting that, prior to 2006, these four quarters ran from December to November.

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Figure 5: Proportion of children who may be vulnerable in various ways

The first set of bars show the proportion of all children where at least one of the parents that they were living with was disabled.  The data source is Households Below Average Income, based on the Family Resources Survey.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is based on three-year averages, namely 1998/99 to 2000/01 for the first bar and 2003/04 to 2005/06 for the second bar.

The second set of bars show the proportion of all children who were living in households in which none of the working-age adults is in paid work.  The data source is the Labour Force Survey.  The data for each year is the average for the 2nd and 4th quarters, analysis by household type not being available for the 1st and 3rd quarters (noting that prior to 2006, the four quarters ran from December to November).  Working-age households are those with at least one person of working age.

The third set of bars shows the proportion of all children who are living in households that were newly accepted by their local authority as newly homeless in the stated year.  A household is accepted by their local authority as homeless if they both meet the legal definition of homelessness and if they apply to their local authority to be classified as such.  The first bar is for the year 2002/03 and the second bar is for 2006.  The data source is the quarterly homelessness bulletins published as part of housing statistics by the National Assembly for Wales.

The fourth set of bars show the proportion of all births in the stated year where the female conceived under the age of 16.  The data source is the Office of National Statistics.

The final set of bars show the proportion of all children who were being looked after by their local authority in the stated year.  The data source is personal social services statistics from the Local Government Data Unit.  Note that short-term placements have been excluded from the figures.

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