Shocking figure on UK poverty dubbed 'stat of the year' in 2019

General view of the Wornington Green Estate in North Kensington, London. The estate is in the Golborne Ward, which ranks as the most deprived ward in the capital. The borough of Kensington and Chelsea is one of the most polarised in Great Britain, with some of the most expensive real estate in the UK just a short walk from several of the most deprived wards in the country - including the area around the Grenfell Tower. Picture date: Tuesday July 11th, 2017. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

The UK's 'statistic of the year' in 2019 is a shocking one — over half of Brits in poverty are actually working.

The eye-catching figure is the finding that 58% of UK households in relative poverty have at least one adult in work, despite the widespread promotion of work as the route out of poverty.

The judging panel selected this figure as it showed the "growth of in-work poverty and the need to rise to fresh welfare challenges... one of the biggest issues" facing the country.

The statistic came out of an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), one of Britain's most respected think tanks.

An IFS report earlier this year highlighted the significance of in-work poverty. It found the number of deprived households with someone in work rose from 37% of all those below the breadline in the mid-1990s to 58% by 2017-18.

The IFS said the changes partly reflecting lower incomes, but also declining pensioner poverty and the recent boom in employment that has reduced the number of households with no-one in work.

The World Bank definition of poverty states: "A person is considered poor if their income level falls below a minimum level necessary to meet basic needs."

Relative poverty is where your income falls below the minimum amount needed for you to maintain the average standard of living within the society in which you live.

READ MORE: The richest workers in Britain - and it's not Londoners

Hetan Shan, executive director of the Royal Statistics Society which chose the top statistic, said: "Policymakers have focused on work as the best route out of poverty, but our winning statistic shows that this will not be enough to eradicate the scourge of poverty in the UK."

The society has also announced its international statistic of the year: 72.6 years, the new record high life expectancy at birth across the world.

One judge noted that many people "may have missed" the positive news of rising global average life expectancy.

Other 'highly commended' stats included 28.8% — the average decline in the amount of sugar in soft drinks in the UK since a government crackdown.

Another was 10.3%, the number of new car sales that were electric and hybrid models, which passed the 10% mark in November.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo UK
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