Press release

Lone parent employment rate highest on record

The number of households where no one works continues to fall and is at the lowest level on record.


The number of households where no one works continues to fall – down 954,000 since 2010 – and is at the lowest level on record, according to new independent figures released today (30 August 2017).

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 89,000 since last year.

Also rising is the proportion of lone parents finding work – 68% of lone parents are in work this year, an increase of nearly 11 points since 2010.

Over two-thirds of lone parents (68%) are in employment.

Work and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke said:

With record levels of employment, more people across the country now have the ability to support themselves and their families. That means more children growing up with a working adult and more children who can see first-hand the benefits of being in employment.

What’s particularly great news is that lone parents are more likely to be in work than ever before, and we’re going further by making sure parents have access to the right support, including more free childcare from September.

The government is committed to helping reduce the number of workless households, and is taking action through steps such as raising the rate of free childcare to 30 hours from next month. Also, working parents can receive help towards their childcare costs under Universal Credit and, since April this year can get up to 85% of eligible childcare costs back, regardless of the number of hours worked or how old their youngest child is.

Children who grow up in workless families are almost twice as likely as children in working families to not reach the expected attainment level at all stages of their education – research has shown that three-quarters of children in workless families fail to reach 5 full GCSEs at grade C or above. Compared to children from working families, those from workless families are also more likely to be workless in adult life.

Recent employment figures show that there are a record 32.07 million people in work, and the unemployment rate (4.4%) is the lowest level since 1975.

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Published 30 August 2017