Headlines: May 2nd, 2007



Over half of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black African children are growing up in poverty. This finding comes from a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on ‘Poverty and Ethnicity in the UK’.

Researchers found that child poverty rates were greater than adult poverty rates across groups, so that children from minority groups were poorer than both white children and adults from their own ethnic groups. Around 70 per cent of Bangladeshi children were poor.

The overall picture of poverty in ethnic groups showed that risks of poverty are highest for Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Black Africans, but are also above average for Caribbean, Indian and Chinese people.

It was clear from the research that low income from employment was a central issue in causing poverty, impacting on all ages. Analysis of employment disadvantage found that it could partly be explained by characteristics such as education, but that an ‘ethnic penalty’ tended to remain. This was the case both for chances of being in a job and for rates of pay, though the ethnic penalty when in employment was more important. Ethnic penalties varied across groups.

Despite high levels of qualifications, Black Africans did not achieve the employment outcomes that might be expected. Indians also faced a penalty relative to their employable characteristics. Taking account of characteristics reduced the employment gap for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, but a substantial ethnic penalty was still found. This was particularly the case for Pakistanis, although they did not appear as poor as the Bangladeshis, the ethnic penalties they faced were often more intractable.