The Pensioners' incomes series: United Kingdom 2012/13

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Department for Work and Pensions
Date of publication
1 July 2014
Older Adults, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report contains estimates of the levels and trends of pensioners’ incomes based on two household surveys: since 1994-95 information is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS), while historical trends are examined using the Family Expenditure Survey (FES). Pensioners’ mean net income has grown faster than incomes for the whole population over the last fourteen years. Net income After Housing Costs for pensioner units has grown by 37 per cent between 1998/99 and 2012/13 in real terms, whereas mean incomes for the whole population have risen by 12 per cent in real terms over the same period. In 2012/13 state benefits accounted for 44 per cent of pensioners’ incomes, occupational pensions made up 27 per cent, earnings 17 per cent, investment income 7 per cent, and personal pensions 4 per cent.

Pensioner couples, on average, have over two times the level of occupational pensions and approximately three times the amount of investment income as single pensioners. Pensioner couples also have almost seven times the level of earnings as single pensioners, though if limited to those in receipt of earnings, couples have less than double that of singles. These earnings discrepancies between couple and singles are partly explained by fact that pensioner couples are more likely to contain a younger partner in the workplace. On average, older pensioners have lower incomes. In 2012/13, pensioner couples where the head was aged 75 or over had a (mean) net income of £429 a week After Housing Costs, compared with £536 for those aged under 75.