New report: An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales
A landmark report published this week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in collaboration with the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) looks at the facts about economic inequality in Wales in a new and challenging way.
WISERD is a collaborative venture between the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Swansea, and in An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales, evidence is brought together for the very first time which paints a powerful picture of a country with deeply entrenched inequalities.
The report can be downloaded here.
Seen through the lens of people’s characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age and disability, the report shows the impact of family background on life chances.
And for some people, disadvantage begins at birth and continues right through into education, employment and retirement – often carrying on into the next generation.
The picture that emerges is of a Wales where there is a narrower gap between the rich and the poor than the rest of the UK.
But there are serious and persistent inequalities, with uneven gaps opening up and also narrowing between those who have the opportunity to succeed and those who don’t.
The report, which looks at outcomes in education, employment, earnings, income, poverty and wealth was launched at Cardiff University on Thursday, May 12.
Evidence from An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in Wales reveals that:
- Pupils eligible for free school meals are 2.5 times less likely to get A*-C grades in core subjects than their peers.
- Median wealth in Wales is £205,000 but 10% of people in Wales have total household wealth (savings and worldly possessions) of £8,393 or less – and 10% have wealth of over £751,693.
- 20% of people in Wales live in poverty. Almost 50% of single parents live in poverty and so do 13% of in-work households.
- 74% of disabled people and 46% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are not in employment or full-time education. For Bangladeshi and Pakistani women this rises to 72%.
- Employment rates vary more by religion than they do by ethnicity. Muslim men are 50% less likely to be in work than Christian men and Muslim women 76% less likely than Christian women.
- The median hourly earnings of men in Wales is £9.88 and median female earnings are £8.04 – giving Wales a gender pay gap of 19% in hourly earnings.
- Male graduates have median hourly earnings of £15.40 and male non-graduates £9.10. Women graduates earn £13.53 and non-graduates £7.33.
Kate Bennett, National Director for Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The evidence in this report is vitally important – if you think you know Wales, then think again. I challenge anyone looking at this report not to find at least one surprising fact about how we live in today’s 21st century Wales.
“We want you to read the report and put yourself in the shoes of the people experiencing the corrosive, persistent inequalities that are so evident in education, employment and earnings.
“This report doesn’t claim to have the solutions but the evidence will help in decisions about how and where resources can have the most positive benefit to people's lives.
“We all know that feelings of being valued, respected and trusted are lower in societies with a big gap between the rich and poor. Unhappiness, crime and violence are often higher. Good relations between people in society can be seriously damaged.
“If we are to realise a strong and confident Wales for the future poverty and disadvantage cannot be something that is handed down by parents to the next generation.”
Professor Teresa Rees CBE AcSS, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, said: “This thought-provoking report should play a major role in evidence-based policy in Wales designed to tackle both long running and newly discovered forms of inequality. Crucially, poverty should not be something parents pass on to their children.”