JRF reports on how ethnicity and poverty are linked in the current economic climate

30 March 2015

The latest report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), conducts a timely analysis of the economic impacts of the recession and austerity on different ethnic groups.
The research draws upon large datasets collected from surveys carried out between the years 2004 – 2013. It reveals that the groups that have been most affected by the recession and austerity are: Chinese, Other White, Indian and White majority groups, with increasing numbers falling below a fixed poverty line of £246 per week.
However, it also shows that amongst the least well off groups: Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African, there was a higher rate of persistent poverty and material deprivation, despite them being less affected by recession and austerity.
The general increase in youth unemployment amongst BAME groups was reported by Inclusion, with Simon Wooley commenting on ‘the race penalty’ faced by young people from BAME communities.
The JRF research highlights that economic conditions vary widely across different ethnic groups, but points out that, in general employees’ earnings fell, driving a subsequent fall in overall household incomes. Amongst Pakistanis and Bangladeshis however, household incomes rose slightly, alongside an increasing number of women in paid employment within these two groups.
Helen Barnard, of JRF comments that ‘it’s vital to understand the role of ethnicity and gender if we want to reduce poverty in the UK’.
The report concludes that ‘it is difficult to predict how the most vulnerable groups will fare under a regime of continued austerity measures’.