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Work, benefits and ethnicity

Mark Easton | 06:30 UK time, Friday, 12 November 2010

As the government looks to squeeze the welfare bill, some interesting data published this week looks at the relationship between ethnicity and welfare.

While those of Indian origin, for instance, get 8% of their income from the state in the form of benefits, state pension and tax credits, those describing their ethnicity as Pakistani or Bangladeshi receive 29% of their income in various forms of state aid.

White citizens receive 15% of their income from social security, tax credits and the state pension. People of Chinese ethnicity get 10%. Those of mixed ethnicity get 13%, while those from black ethnic groups receive between 17% and 18%.

The variation partly reflects the fact that immigrant populations tend to be younger than the white population and are therefore less likely to receive a state pension or disability benefits.


Turning the concept on its head, it is interesting to note that while white citizens receive 73% of their income from wages, salaries and self-employed income, the figure is higher among every other ethnic group with the exception of Pakistani/Bangladeshi.

People of mixed ethnicity and Asian British get 79% of their income from work. The figure for those of Indian ethnicity is 83%, black/black British 76%, black Caribbean 75%, black non-Caribbean 77% and Chinese 78%.

Again, the relative youth of immigrant communities is a factor here. A lower proportion of non-white citizens will be over the retirement age.


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