The report summarises information on the incomes and circumstances of 26,435 private households in Great Britain. It is arranged into eight chapters covering the characteristics of the sample; income including the receipt of social security benefits; tenure and housing costs; assets and savings; informal care; background information and methodological details of the survey.
Many of the items are available on other large government surveys, but in some cases the FRS brings them together for the first time.
The principal results show:
-- Three quarters of households were in receipt of at least one benefit. The most commonly received benefits were child benefit (32 percent) and retirement pension (30 percent)
-- 18 percent of average gross weekly household income came from social security benefits; this was the second highest source of income after wages and salaries (61 percent)
Assets and savings
-- 91 percent of households held at least one type of saving or investment, the most commonly held account being a current account, recorded by four fifths of households. Only 82 percent of households including one or more person who was unemployed had at least one account
-- Around a third of all households had no financial assets (ie excluding house ownership,pensions and life insurance); 14 percent had financial assets of£20,000 or more
-- Couples with children had higher levels of financial assets than couples without. 31 percent of pensioner couples had financial assets of£20,000 or more, compared to 15 percent of single pensioners
-- 9 percent of adults provided informal care to a friend or relative
-- 47 percent of carers provided care for 10 or more hours per week
-- 65 percent of carers provided care to someone outside their own household
Occupation and employment
-- For three quarters of adults commuting to work, travel costs account for less than 10 percent of gross income; 30 percent had no costs
-- 12 percent of benefit units with children had child care costs during term time. For most (73 percent) these costs accounted for less than 10 percent of gross income
It is not possible to present all the data collected by the survey in the report, but a copy of the full data has been placed in the data archive at Essex University.
The FRS is a voluntary survey: in 1995-96 the overall response rate was 70 percent. Participating households are given an undertaking of confidentiality. No names or addresses are ever passed to the department.