Being poor and being brown


by Sunny
30th April, 2007 at 1:54 pm    

The poverty rate for Britain’s minority ethnic groups stands at 40%, double the 20% found amongst white British people, according to new research published today (30 April) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). Minority ethnic groups are also being overlooked for jobs and are being paid lower wages, despite improvements in education and qualifications.

The research highlights the differences between minority ethnic groups with 65% of Bangladeshis living in poverty compared to 55% of Pakistanis, 45% of Black Africans and 30% of Indians and Black Caribbeans. Over half of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black African children in the UK are growing up in poverty with a staggering 70% of Bangladeshi children growing up poor.

The research shows that people from minority ethnic groups who have higher educational achievements do not receive the same rewards as those from white British backgrounds with similar qualifications. A wide range of factors are shown to affect different groups and the research highlights how the Government needs to consider and implement more targeted policies.

The reports show that:

  • only 20% of Bangladeshis, 30% of Pakistanis and 40% of Black Africans of working age are in full time work (compared to over 50% of white British people of working age);
  • even with a degree, Pakistani and Bangladeshi men are less likely to be employed than someone white with the same qualifications;
  • despite a rapid growth in Pakistani and Bangladeshi women going to university, they suffer high unemployment and are much less likely than Indian or white British women to be in professional or managerial jobs;
  • the problem is not confined to first generation immigrants: British born people from minority ethnic backgrounds, especially Indian, Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups are less likely to get jobs than their white equivalents;
  • while poverty levels among white British people are the same whether they live in London or elsewhere, rates among minority ethnic groups are far worse for those living in London.

    Part of a major new programme of JRF research looking into the links between poverty and ethnicity, these first five reports look at education, employment and how ill health affects work opportunities and access to ‘sickness’ benefits. Providing an overview of the situations for different minority ethnic groups, the research also suggests possible solutions to address some of the problems.

    From: JRF report out today.


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    1. Bapey — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

      Does this take into account the number of peeps earning good money ‘off the record’. I know its rife in Bengali communities particularly. Also expectations of the women by families often means they will go to uni and then get married and not work.
      It would skew the whole thing if they arent taking any of that into account.
      How many peeps scam the system ?

    2. Kismet Hardy — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

      Well if they will spend their days learning text speak and dwelling on bollywood and bhangra in favour of kafka and steinbeck and ltj hooker. I say it’s all about education. These brown people have been obsessed with making rotis and riots for too long

    3. Kismet Hardy — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:08 pm  

      Bapey, cash in hand indiant waitery is indeed rife. I know some restaurants get their entire rent covered by the waiters upstairs that cream off housing benefits. I blame the polish

    4. umm — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      meanwhile, did anyone read the Times’ “rich list” out yesterday?astoundingly large number of “ethnic” names in it.

    5. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      Finally Sunny – the issue which trumps and interconnects all the issues PP have been going on about.

    6. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

      “How many peeps scam the system ?” I think to have a fair debate you should not dismiss what is a serious problem, by throwing in conjectures.

    7. Leon — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

      Doesn’t this give more weight to the idea of introducing positive action to ‘level the playing field’?

    8. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

      You know I think it might be worth putting up a poll on here to see what is the ethnic and social breakdown of contributors. Specifically I would be interested to hear about educational background – public, private, comprehensive, none. And perhaps get a rough idea of how people have fared based on their education and aspirations.

    9. Inders — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      check the title

      Those in working households …………

      Gonna skew the figures. Single income families for example high in asian community on the whole.

    10. Leon — on 30th April, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      You know I think it might be worth putting up a poll on here to see what is the ethnic and social breakdown of contributors. Specifically I would be interested to hear about educational background – public, private, comprehensive, none. And perhaps get a rough idea of how people have fared based on their education and aspirations.

      I’m not sure I see the value tbh, wouldn’t PP be heavily skewered in terms of its results?

    11. sonia — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

      “only 20% of Bangladeshis, 30% of Pakistanis and 40% of Black Africans of working age are in full time work”

      so what are the 80% of bangladeshis doing then? presumably not rioting. staying at home? working in restaurants but saying they’re not working?

    12. Kulvinder — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

      What inders said.

    13. sonia — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

      8. refresh – that’s an interesting idea.

      yeah Bapey’s got a good point up there.

      dunno – it’s all confusing. me i can’t really speak about this – i know very little about asians in council estates : most of the asians i’ve met here in the UK went to univ are all very well paid professionals now ( much more so than me i might add – muggins working in a charity) so i can’t comment. having been brown didn’t seem to make much of a difference for that lot, what with degrees from LSE and the like. what kind of jobs are we talking about anyway? given the hoo-ha nowadays about diversity, everyone i know seems to be better off being ‘brown’.

    14. Kismet Hardy — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

      My table surfaces aren’t very clean. No matter how much I scrub, the rings remain. I blame the polish

    15. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:22 pm  

      “I’m not sure I see the value tbh, wouldn’t PP be heavily skewered in terms of its results?”

      That is something I have been long concerned about – and Sonia in 13 points to it too.

      Lets put it this way – most posters on here may not have enough knowledge about how the other half lives or survives.

    16. Rumbold — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      Refresh:

      “Lets put it this way – most posters on here may not have enough knowledge about how the other half lives or survives.”

      That may or may not be true Refresh, but what would be the purpose of such a survey? Should we not comment on such issues unless we have direct experience of them?

      (Off topic, with apologies, Pakistan has called for the banning of Hizb ul-Tahir in the UK:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/30/wpak30.xml )

    17. Leon — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      Lets put it this way – most posters on here may not have enough knowledge about how the other half lives or survives.

      I think I see what you’re getting at and wouldn’t like comment about others but I reckon I’ve a fair bit of knowledge and experience of it…

    18. Refresh — on 30th April, 2007 at 3:59 pm  

      “Should we not comment on such issues unless we have direct experience of them?”

      Not at all. For a start I am limited in my own experience, as everyone is.

    19. Rumbold — on 30th April, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

      Then what use would the survey serve?

    20. Kismet Hardy — on 30th April, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

      Survey are about as useful as polls. If you don’t like them, it may be fair to see you’re anti-poll, which means you blame the pollish

    21. brachyury — on 30th April, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

      Quoting Waspy on CIF

      “One of the reasons for that high level of poverty is the low level of economic activity of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who choose to stay at home rather than work.

      46% of Pakistani women and 57% of Bangladeshi women are homemakers vs only 11% of white British women [1]. That deprives them of a great deal of income.

      The little income there is also has to be shared among more people because Pakistanis (4.0) and Bangladeshis (4.7) have about twice as many children, on average, as white British women (1.8) and Indian women (2.3) [2]. So even if the incomes were the same the children of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis would be worse off economically than those of whites and Indians.

      You mention that even when there is ‘at least’ one breadwinner in the family poverty is higher than among whites but that is not a fair comparison as white households are much more likely to have more than one breadwinner.

      If you look at the numbers for Net equivalised disposable household income by employment status you’ll see that couples which only have one person in full time employment are 6 times as likely to be in the bottom quintle of Net equivalised disposable household income when compared to households with both adults in full time employment [3].

      Women are not the only ones with low levels of economic activity although their numbers are high.

      There is also a high level of economic inactivity among Pakistani and Bangladeshi men due to long term illness or disability. 14.6% of Pakistani men were economically inactive because of illness or disability. It was even higher among Bangladeshis with 16.6%. For white males it was only 6.5% [4]. Why is there such a big difference there? Are they scamming the system or are they really that much more likely to have illnesses or disabilities?

      The unemployment rates are also very high among Pakistani and Bangladeshis men. In fact it was even higher in the 1990s than it was in the 1970s when it could be argued that there was a greater level of discrimination against ethnic minorities.

      In the period of 1973-1982 the unemployment level of Pakistani/Bangladeshi men was 9.5% compared to 11.1% for Indians and 5.5$ for whites.

      In the period of 1993-2001 the unemployment level of Pakistani/Bangladeshi men had risen to 23.7% while the rate for Indians had gone down to 9.8% and whites were at 8.0% [5].

      I’m not sure why the situation is getting worse instead of better when it comes to unemployment among Pakistani/Bangladeshi men.

      I’m not sure what the British Government can do to correct the poverty problems among Pakistanis and Bangladeshis unless they can convince the women to go to work and have fewer children and get the men to go to school and earn some qualifications.

      [1] http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/rrep341.pdf (page 92 of 124)

      [2]
      http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/PT104_v3.pdf
      (pages 14 and 15 of 78)

      [3] http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2006/pdf_files/chapters/chapter_3_hbai07.pdf
      (page 6 of 15)

      [4] http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/rrep341.pdf (page 92 of 124)

      [5]
      http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/rrep341.pdf (page 36 of 124)”

    22. Ms_Xtreme — on 30th April, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

      There’s too many factors that could skew the results. I don’t believe studies like this accurately measure across all races and different living situations. For example, did it include squatters?

    23. soru — on 30th April, 2007 at 9:27 pm  

      It’s based on census data, which if you believe literally will tell you there are more Jedi than Sikhs.

      I think the report itself is as accurate as you are going to get (with the proviso it is from 2001, 6 years ago), though I am not particularly impressed with their use of raw, un-age-adjusted figures to generate bigger headline numbers.

      And what happened to the Chinese? They are talked about a lot in the report, but are not mentioned in the summaries, graphs or statistical soundbites.

    24. lithcol — on 30th April, 2007 at 11:54 pm  

      The influx of cheap EU labour has probably worsened the prospects for all unskilled and semi skilled.

      As many have stated the interpretation of the figures is not easy and there are a host of variables which may not even have been considered.

      Still accepting them as given they present a depressing picture.

    25. Anas — on 1st May, 2007 at 12:41 am  

      man, being poor and brown sure does suck.

    26. Sunny — on 1st May, 2007 at 1:13 am  

      Interesting post brachury, that makes sense too. Watch out for Zia Haider Rahman’s article on CIF tomorrow about this too.

    27. Bijna — on 3rd May, 2007 at 8:25 pm  

      Strike out the brown people that:
      - dont speak English
      - want to wear a burqa to work
      - are in prison
      - think unemployment benefits are enough
      - need to take care of their 20 children
      - are bussy crossing around on scooters
      - are burglars
      - are in training for blowing up subways
      and things are equal again.

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