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Poverty and Inequality - Work
Life on a Low Income

Life on a Low Income

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has long conducted studies of poverty in Britain . In 1995 it published an Inquiry into Income and Wealth which revealed growing wealth and income inequalities in Britain . However as Sir Peter Barclay, one of the authors of the report, pointed out,

'…statistics barely lift the lid on the day to day reality of life for the millions of individuals and families at the bottom of the economic pile'
Barclay in Kempson E (1996) Life on Low Income Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York

As a consequence Elaine Kempson was commissioned to review the findings of previous studies and examine the subjective elements of poverty.

Kempson found that despite the wide range of studies, the different reports gave a remarkably consistent picture of life on a low income. They tended to corroborate rather than contradict one another.

Kempson found that the research pointed to a wide range of negative consequences for those on low income. She summarised her findings, saying

‘…the struggle to make ends meet not only affects family life but can result in poor diet, lack of fuel and water, poor housing and homelessness, debt, poor physical health, and stress and mental health problems. The poorer people are the more likely they are to face these problems.
Kempson E (1996) Life on Low Income Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York quoted in Haralmabos and Holborn (2000), Sociology Themes and Perspectives, London : Collins

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