The rise of in-work poverty and the changing nature of poverty and work in Scotland: what are the implications for population health

Document type
Harkins, Chris; Egan, James
Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Date of publication
1 October 2013
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Employment, Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

Download (1.1MB )

This paper represents an introductory overview of the changing nature of poverty and work, the rise of in-work poverty and the evidence-based implications for population health and wellbeing of these changes within Scotland. Key literature and analyses of important trends in these related areas are presented. In so doing, fundamental and well-established evidence and concepts in this field are covered as well as very recent literature, data and commentary.

The nature of poverty, work and social protection in Scotland is going through a period of rapid and significant change. The impact of these changes on the health and wellbeing of the nation is not fully known. A time for reflection is urgently needed to consider these matters and their consequences for the careers and futures of Scottish residents.

The composition of poverty in Scotland has also fundamentally changed, especially over the last two decades. While total levels of poverty have been reducing over this period, the proportion of families living in poverty where at least one family member works has actually increased. These families are described as experiencing ‘in-work poverty’ and represent an important subgroup of Scottish society for three pressing reasons. First, although in-work poverty is not a new occurrence it has received scarce research and policy focus. Second, the UK welfare system is going through a period of significant retrenchment. Many of the new welfare reforms will see significantly reduced levels of support for working age populations, including those experiencing in-work poverty. Third, very little consideration has been given to improving our understanding of the specific pathways between in-work poverty and health and wellbeing

Related to Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion

Labour's proposed income tax rises for high-income individuals

Briefing note on Labour's proposed income tax rises

Should generations differ in their wealth accumulation

Working paper on wealth accumulation across the generations

Employees earnings since the great recession: the latest picture

Briefing note on changes in earnings over time

More items related to this subject