The risk of young singles having less than 50% of the income required for an adequate standard of living has nearly doubled, a new study has shown.

In recent years, the percentage of single under-35s surviving on under half of what they need has increased from 9 to 17 per cent. This was also the group that saw the fastest increase in worklessness during the period, suggesting the general economic context is a major driver of this trend.

The study – by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – looked at the early part of the recession, from 2008–2010. It found that the living standards of families with children — both couples and lone parents — were holding up pretty well, despite this group having the highest risk of a less than adequate standard of living.

The report states:

“The group that emerged from this analysis as the one to be worried about is single people without children, living alone — especially those below the age of 35. This is a very diverse group, but it is one that saw a big downward shift in living standards and some serious increases in people experiencing hardship.

“These are people likely to face severe hardship, relying mainly on benefits which provide only about 40 per cent of the income needed to meet an adequate standard of living.”

The study also highlighted the fact that those on low incomes – including young singles – are feeling the pinch disproportionately. Inflation is being felt most strongly by this group because the prices of items most prominent in a basic household budget, such as food and heating costs, have been rising faster than average. For this reason, low-income groups started to feel the effects of stagnant wages and rising prices earlier than others, and could go on feeling it for longer into the future.

*Are you single and struggling?
Is your income enough to survive on? What do you think of this report’s findings? Are single under-35s being forgotten amidst the politicians’ rhetoric about ‘hardworking families’?

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