Destitution in the UK 2023

Suzanne Fitzpatrick*, Glen Bramley, Morag Treanor, Janice Blenkinsopp, Jill McIntyre, Sarah Johnsen, Lynne McMordie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


There has been a shameful increase in the level of destitution in the UK, with a growing number of people struggling to afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. This has deep and profound impacts on people’s health, mental health and prospects; it also puts strain on already overstretched services. This study, the fourth in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals that approximately 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022, including around one million children. This is almost two-and-a-half times the number of people in 2017 and nearly triple the number of children. Such high
and increasing levels of destitution have no place in a country like ours.
Nearly three-quarters of people experiencing destitution are in receipt of social security payments – further evidence of benefit inadequacy. Ad-hoc support from the Government, first during the Covid-19 pandemic and now to help with the cost of living, has not halted the rising level of destitution. There is an urgent need for action to tackle destitution in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationYork
PublisherJoseph Rowntree Foundation
Commissioning bodyJoseph Rowntree Foundation
Number of pages116
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2023


  • poverty
  • destitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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