Number of workless households fall below 5 million

The percentage of children in workless households has fallen to the lowest since 1996, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In 1996 when comparable records began, 20% of children were living in workless households. This fell to 14% in 2013, in part due to the recession.

However, the ONS says there are still 1.6 million children growing up in households where nobody was in work and most of these children, or 65%, were living in households with just one parent.

Just over one third or 36% of households that contained lone parents with dependent children were workless in April to June 2013, which contrasts with 5% of households that contained couples with dependent children.

The number of people in workless households who are aged between 16 and 64 fell to 4.9 million in April to June 2013. This is a fall of 132,000 on the year and means that the number of 16 to 64 year olds living in workless households was below 5 million for the first time since April to June 2008.

These 4.9 million people were largely aged 50 to 64 and the fall of 132,000 on the year was mainly down to a fall of 124,000 in the number of 50 to 64 year olds who were living in workless households. In contrast there was a 15,000 increase in the number of 16 to 24 year olds who were living in workless households.

The most common reason people aged 16 to 64 in workless households gave for not being in work was being sick or disabled, with 28% of them stating this in April to June 2013. This was followed by unemployment (21%) early retirement (17%) looking after the family or home (15%) and study (13%). The remainder stated various other reasons.

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