The Social Metrics Commission is an independent Commission formed to develop a new approach to poverty measurement that both better reflects the nature and experiences of poverty that different families in the UK have, and can be used to build a consensus around poverty measurement and action in the UK.

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Meet the commissioners

Social Metrics Report 2018

The Social Metrics Commission's Poverty Measure was published on 17th September 2018.

This report marks the culmination of two years of sustained work. It outlines a new approach to poverty measurement for the UK and provides original analysis that demonstrates the fundamental changes to our understanding of poverty it creates. Most importantly, the approach, results and recommendations in this report are supported by every Commissioner. They truly represent a consensus view of how we should measure and understand the incidence of poverty in the UK and the experiences of those who are in poverty.

Press Release

This briefing provides unique insight into the extent and nature of poverty in the UK. It uses the approach to measurement launched by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) in September 2018.

For the first time, as well as looking at incomes, this approach allows us to account for a range of inescapable costs that reduce people’s spending power, and the positive impact of people’s liquid assets on alleviating immediate poverty. These inescapable costs include rent or mortgage payments, childcare and the extra costs of disability. Liquid assets include savings, stocks and shares. The measure also takes account of overcrowding in accommodation.

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Key statistics

14.2 million people in poverty in the UK (2016/17), comprised of:

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Notes: For certain sub-national samples (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), averages have been taken across three years to generate a sufficient sample size. Where the sample size was not large enough, these results are missing.

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About the Social Metrics Commission

The Social Metrics Commission was brought together to develop a new approach to poverty measurement that both better reflects the nature and experiences of poverty that different families in the UK have, and can be used to build a consensus around poverty measurement and action in the UK.

The Social Metrics Commission is an independent Commission formed and led by the Legatum Institute’s CEO Baroness Stroud.

The Social Metrics Commission is an independent and rigorously non-partisan organisation dedicated to helping policy makers and the public understand and take action to tackle poverty. Its ultimate goal has been to develop new poverty metrics for the UK which will have both long-term political support and effectively identify those who are in poverty. By doing so, we hope that Government and others will be better able to develop interventions that reduce the number of people experiencing poverty and improve outcomes for those people who do experience it.