Is 40% of Glasgow living in poverty?

12 May 2017
What was claimed

40% of people in Glasgow live below the poverty line.

Our verdict

We haven’t found this specific figure. We do know that 48% of areas in Glasgow were among the 20% most deprived in Scotland in 2016. That’s not the same as 48% of people though.

“It's worth remembering Glasgow was once the second city of the empire, now 40% of people live below the poverty line there.”

BBC Question Time audience member, 11 May 2017

We haven’t found the figures the audience member was referring to, but we have found similar figures on deprivation in Scotland.

Around 48% of areas in Glasgow were found to among the most deprived in the whole of Scotland in 2016. That’s more than any other council area in Scotland.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation splits the country into nearly 7,000 small areas with about 760 people living in each. It then works out the deprivation in each area by looking at a wide range of things from pupils’ performance at school and travel time to a GP, to unemployment levels or crime in the area.

In this case, it’s telling us what proportion of areas falling within Glasgow City Council are part of the most deprived fifth of areas in Scotland.

That’s not the same as saying that 48% of people in Glasgow are living in deprivation. The Scottish government points out that people who are income deprived do not necessarily live in deprived areas. Likewise people who are not income deprived may live in a deprived area.

The Scottish government also says that “people who live in areas up to 40% most deprived may also experience difficulties.” Including these, 65% of areas in Glasgow were in the 40% most deprived in the country.

On the flipside, around 9% of areas in Glasgow were in the 20% least deprived in the country.

This is a different measure of poverty than Full Fact normally looks at which is based solely on household income.

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