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Asian pensioners receive £160 less each week than white households

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

White British pensioner families receive an average £157 more income per week compared to Asian people, with lower retirement savings and incomes “sadly reflecting a lifetime of lower earnings”, analysis reveals.

Total income for Asian pensioner households stands at £415 a week, compared to £572 for white British families.

Black, mixed ethnicity and white ‘other’ pensioner households have £67, £65 and £14 less each week compared to white British people.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis by Interactive Investor, twice as many white British pensioner householders receive an occupational pension than Asian retirees (64% vs 31%).

This also compares to 46% for black pensioner households and 48% in the white ‘other’ category.

The investment platform also revealed that black pensioner households are least likely to draw income from investments, with just a third receiving income from this source compared to 64% in the white British group.

Elsewhere, 98% of white British individuals receive a state pension, but a lower 85% of white ‘other’ people get this income.

Meanwhile, when it comes to benefit income, black pensioner families are twice as likely as white British pensioners to receive these funds (40% compared to 21%).

The table below shows the average weekly income received by pensioner households, by ethnicity, from select sources (before tax and other deductions) between April 2018 and March 2021:

The findings come ahead of Black History Month in October, and as latest estimates suggest 850,000 eligible households are missing out on Pension Credit – worth up to £3,500 a year – with ethnic minorities more likely not to claim.

At the same time, black, Asian, mixed ethnicity and white ‘other’  pensioners are more likely than white groups to earn money from working in their later years.

‘Some households working hard just to stand still’

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: “The figures reveal the extent of the chasm when it comes to income at retirement across the different ethnic groups. Given a disparity in pay, it is unsurprising that Asian and Black ethnic groups are more likely to have a lower income, lower provisions from pensions at retirement and are more likely to be claiming means-tested benefits when compared to their White British counterparts.

“As income inequality in later life is intrinsically linked to income generating opportunities before retirement, concerted effort must be made to address the ethnicity pay gap during working life and to bolster pension awareness.

Alice Guy, head of pensions & savings at Interactive Investor, added: “Lower pension savings and incomes sadly reflect a lifetime of lower earnings, as many from ethnic minorities historically earned less than White British workers, with the Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers still earn a shocking 20% less on average. The income gap hints at a worrying pattern of ethnic minority households not claiming all the benefits they are entitled to.

“It’s also concerning that some from ethnic minorities are working more in retirement, perhaps battling through old age and ill health, to earn enough to keep food on the table. Some households are working hard just to stand still, with black households earning nearly twice as much as White British households from working, but still having less income as a whole.”