The Appalling Truth That 38% Of Private Tenants Are Low Income


We’re clearly being urged to think of this as an outrage. That 38% of people renting in the private sector are on low incomes. How could this be so? What malfeasance of the capitalist plutocrats causes such a disaster?

The answer being that we’re not in Lake Wobegon where all our children are above average. We are, in fact, in the real world.

The statistic is proffered in this Guardian piece:

Furthermore, a 2018 study by the Centre for Housing Policy found that 38% of private renters are on low incomes.

An outrage I tell ya!

Checking the source of the statistic we find that:

A significant proportion of private renters are living on a low income – 38% are in the bottom one third of incomes.

Hmm. The bottom one third of incomes is, by definition, 33% of the people. So, shave a bit for the idea that home ownership is probably higher in the upper income bands and the idea that 38% of private renters are low income looks a little less bad, doesn’t it? Actually, it looks goddamn normal.

But then, you know, The Guardian. Written by arts graduates who never have met a number they can’t misunderstand.

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The Mole
The Mole

I’m amazed it is that low to be honest, but then I guess it is excluding those low income families who are public/council renters rather than private renters?


I suspect that about 33% or so of grocery shoppers are also in that bottom third of incomes.


Presumably that includes all the students who have no incomes and are living on Grants/loans. Seems a bit low.
Could the comparison be distorted by pensioner home-owners who are *now* low-income because their occupational pensions are not inflation-proofed and have halved, or worse, in value?