The Welsh Government published a report last week on: The dynamics of low income. The report considers the extent to which individuals move in and out of poverty, the characteristics of those who remain in poverty and the types of events that can lead people to move in or out of poverty.
This report provides a Welsh perspective on the usability of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and its successor, Understanding Society (USoc), for analysis at the Wales level. The properties of the BHPS sample are examined via an illustrative analysis of poverty dynamics in Wales. The BHPS was a panel survey that tracked individuals and households over time. At its inception in 1991, the BHPS approximately 5,500 households and interviewed 10,300 adults in Great Britain. The corresponding sample sizes inWaleswere approximately 280 and 530 respectively. The Welsh sample increased to over 3,000 individuals in 1999 following a boost to the survey. The BHPS sample was integrated into USoc during Wave 2 of the new study in 2010, resulting in a combined sample of more than 4,100 respondents inWales.
One important application of the BHPS is the availability of measures for net household income that have been derived by researchers to provide a longitudinal perspective on poverty. By using appropriate analytical techniques and where appropriate the pooling of data over year, the Wales sample of the BHPS is able to provide a range of results specific to Wales. For example, within Wales, approximately 40% of those who were in poverty during one year are no longer in poverty during the following year. Job loss and partnership dissolution are both demonstrated to be associated with an increased risk of entering poverty.
The analysis of poverty also provided some guidance to the issues to consider when determining the feasibility of conducting certain types of analysis using the BHPS. Consideration must be given the size of the population of interest, the incidence of the phenomena being investigated, the ability and applicability of pooling multiple years of data about the same individuals together, possible trade-offs between the timeliness of analysis versus sample sizes and whether UK level analysis that includes Wales specific parameters is a more appropriate way of identify differences between the different parts of the UK.
Click here to download the report.