Press release

Children living in workless households at lowest level since records began

There has been a rise in the number of working households, with around 9 in 10 children living with at least one working adult.


The number of households where no one works has fallen by 828,000 since 2010 and is now at its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new independent figures released today.

Over 17.6 million households now have at least one working adult, meaning that around 9 in every 10 children live with a working adult.

Less than 15% of households are classed as workless, with the number having fallen by 72,000 since last year.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green said:

More parents now have the opportunity to find work and enjoy the dignity and security of having a regular wage.

We will continue to build on this success as we roll-out Universal Credit to all parts of the country – ensuring that it always pays to be in work.

The latest employment figures show that there are 31.84 million people in work, and the unemployment rate (4.8%) is at the lowest in over a decade.

The proportion of lone parents working rose to 67.9% in 2016, an increase of over 10% since 2010.

The government’s welfare reforms are returning fairness to the benefit system and encouraging people who are able to work to do just that. They include:

  • the benefit cap, which ensures that families don’t receive more in benefits than the average family earns
  • Universal Credit, the biggest change to the welfare system in a generation
  • the Claimant Commitment, which spells out what we expect from jobseekers when they search for work
  • the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which helps people on benefits to become their own boss

Read the latest statistics on working and workless households from the Office of National Statistics.

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Published 1 March 2017