What explains the rise in 'never-worked' households?: summary
- Document type
- Rosso, Anna; Gaffney, Declan; Portes, Jonathan
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Date of publication
- 1 September 2015
- Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
- Social welfare
- Material type
Download (102KB )
“The number of homes where no one has ever worked has doubled in little more than a decade.” Government ministers and the press have often cited this statistic as evidence of a growing problem of welfare dependency in the 2000s. This research investigates what drove the substantial increase in ‘never-worked’ households between 1996 and 2005.
It finds that most never-worked households comprise lone parents and younger single people; this has not changed significantly since 1996. The phenomenon largely reflects life stages rather than being a persistent state. A substantial majority of never-worked households were white, UK-born and Christian/no religion. Never-worked households were highly concentrated in London and disproportionately likely to be of (non-EU) immigrant origin, non-white and/or Muslim. These were all highly correlated factors.
More recent falls in never-worked households may have been partly driven by a drop in the number of single-person households comprising people who have never worked. This could reflect in part slower rates of formation of single-person households, combined with greater labour market participation among single parents.
Explanations of the growth (or more recent falls) in the number of never-worked households which refer to a ‘culture of worklessness’ or ‘intergenerational worklessness’ are not consistent with the data.
Related to Employment
Working Paper on wage cyclicality across education groups
Charity sector bulletin on trust within organisations and the impact on recruiting good trustees
Report on working conditions and workers rights in the UK