NEWS19 December 2019

Stat of the year highlights in-work poverty

News Trends UK

UK – The Royal Statistical Society’s UK Statistic of the Year is 58% – the proportion of those in relative poverty who live in a working household. 


The figure from the Institute for Fiscal Studies was selected as the winning statistic because it highlights the growth of in-work poverty and the need to address the country’s welfare challenges, the RSS said.

Kelly Beaver, managing director of the Social Research Institute at Ipsos Mori and member of the judging panel, said: “This stark statistic really highlights one of the biggest issues facing the UK – in-work poverty. While it could be seen as positive that more people are in work, this figure shows that employment doesn't necessarily mean an escape from poverty. Far from it, in fact."

The initiative aims to spotlight figures that capture the overall spirit of the previous 12 months or which have not received the attention they deserve.

The winner of the International Statistic of the Year is 72.6 years – a new record high for the estimated global average for life expectancy at birth in 2019. Life expectancy has risen from 45.7 years in 1950 to 72.6 years today, according to statistics from Our World in Data.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, statistician and member of the judging panel, said: “This statistic is powerful in that it paints the bigger picture – while much focus has been on life expectancy in specific countries, many may have missed the more positive news that life expectancy across the world has steadily improved to reach a record high.”

Professor Jennifer Rogers, chair of the judging panel and RSS vice-president for external affairs, added: “Statistics have a remarkable power in their ability to help us understand the key issues of the day. This year’s winning and commended statistics capture some of the zeitgeist of 2019 and demonstrate just how enlightening statistics can be.”