Industry Facts

Five facts about income and health

  1. As of 2019/20, 31% of adults under the age of 55 in the UK on the lowest tiers of income report ‘less than good’ health, including 10% reporting ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ health, compared to 22% in those with middle incomes and 12% of those with high incomes.1
  2. The percentage of people in poverty who report having ‘less than good’ health is higher in all age groups than those not in poverty; in the 16-24 age group, the gap is 10%; this widens to 15% in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups and 19% in the 45-54 age group.2This gap remains even if unemployed people are not included, indicating that the gap does not stem from those in poor health being in poverty, as they cannot work due to their health.2
  3. In 2019, deaths in the most deprived 10% of local areas were 1.76 times higher for men and 1.77 times higher for women than in least deprived 10% of areas.3In 2020, this disparity widened, with men in the most deprived areas 1.92 times more likely to die and women 1.83 times more likely to die than in the least deprived areas.3
  4. Higher life expectancy is linked with higher average income; an increase in household income of £1,000 per annum is associated with a 0.7-year increase in female healthy life expectancy and a 0.5-year increase in male healthy life expectancy.4,5
  5. As of 2020/21, 20.3% of people in the UK live in poverty, equating to approximately 13.6 million people.6 This has a clear impact on health as those living on lower incomes struggle to afford basic necessities, especially in the winter, such as heating, nutritious food and warm clothing.6