Poverty and ethnicity in Wales

Schemes to reduce poverty among particular ethnic groups in Wales need to form part of population-wide anti-poverty strategies, a new study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has concluded.

The qualitative study focused on the experiences of people from five ethnic groups – Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Polish, Somali and white British/Welsh – living in a range of different areas including a large city, the north Wales coast, the south Wales valleys and the countryside. The 47 respondents were all experiencing relatively high levels of poverty.

Key findings

  • Marked differences were found in the levels and experiences of poverty among those participating in the study. These differences were not caused by ethnicity, but rather by other factors such as differences in where people lived.
  • The importance of these multiple factors emphasises the importance of looking beyond outcomes, which may be associated with ethnicity (such as higher levels of poverty among some ethnic groups) to focus on the underlying causes. Schemes to reduce poverty within particular ethnic groups need to form part of population-wide anti-poverty strategies.
  • Policies to strengthen social and human capital and extend access to entitlements are vital – for example, investing in early years provision and in public spaces.
  • These policies need to be matched by interventions to support changes in people’s attitudes, thinking and behaviour in relation to employment.
  • There also needs to be more analysis of the impact of general policies on specific ethnic groups.

Source: Duncan Holtom, Ian Bottrill and Jack Watkins, Poverty and Ethnicity in Wales, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
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Publication date: 
Oct 3 2013