Plumbing the Depths: The Changing (Socio-Demographic) Profile of UK Poverty

The SSP Research Seminar welcomes Dr Daniel Edmiston to present - Plumbing the Depths: The Changing (Socio-Demographic) Profile of UK Poverty.

Official statistics tend to rely on a headcount approach to poverty measurement, distinguishing ‘the poor’ from the ‘non-poor’ on the basis of an anchored threshold. Invariably, this does little to engage with the gradations of material hardship affecting those living, to varying degrees, below the poverty line. In response, this paper interrogates an apparent flatlining in UK poverty in recent years to establish the changing profile of poverty, as well as those most affected by it. 

Drawing on the Family Resources survey, this paper reveals an increasing depth of poverty in the UK since 2010, with bifurcation observable in the living standards of different interval groups below the poverty line. In addition, this paper demonstrates substantial compositional changes in the socio-demographic profile of (deep) poverty. Since 2010, the likelihood of falling into deep poverty has increased for women, children, Black people, larger families and those in full-time work. 

Within the context of COVID-19, I argue there is a need to re-think how we currently conceptualise poverty by examining internal heterogeneity within the broader analytical and methodological category of ‘the poor’. Doing so, raises important questions about the prevailing modes of poverty measurement that tend to frame and delimit the social scientific analysis of poverty, as well as the policies deemed appropriate in tackling it.

The Zoom details to join on Wednesday 28 October can be found here:

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Meeting ID: 884 4729 9600
Passcode: 980690

If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact Sarah McLauglin (

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