• Less than good health is most strongly associated with not being able to afford a holiday and not being able to make regular monthly savings of at least £10.

The chart shows the proportion of working-age adults (aged between 16 years and 64 years) who are able to afford different essential items and services. The data is divided into those who report ‘good’ health and those who report less than good health (on a scale of ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘fair’ and ‘poor’). Material deprivation is defined as a situation in which individuals lack a range of necessities because they cannot afford them. 

  • The goods and services lacked most often for people reporting their health as good and less than good was being able to afford a holiday once a year. A total of 49% of those reporting less than good health could not afford this, compared to 26% in good health. 
  • All of the indicators of material deprivation are at least twice as likely to affect those with less than good health than those in good health.
  • The biggest proportional difference is for people being able to afford to keep their accommodation warm. A total of 13% of those reporting their health as less than good could not afford to keep their accommodation warm, which is three times higher than the proportion of people reporting good health who could not afford it (4%).

While all indicators of material deprivation are more associated with poor health, some are more strongly associated with less than good health than others. This highlights inadequacies in social security and other financial support.

  • Health is self-reported on a on a scale of ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘fair’ and ‘poor’.

Source: Department for Work and Pensions, Family Resources Survey: financial year 2017/18, 2019 and Department for Work and Pensions, Households below average income: 1994/95 to 2018/19

Related analysis


Relationship between poverty, age and health


Poverty is associated with less than good health at each age group and more than twice as many...


Trends in material deprivation


The share of children living in households with severe low income and material deprivation has...

Related long read

Long read

Living in poverty was bad for your health long before COVID-19

25 July 2020

About 16 mins to read

Long read

COVID-19 has thrown inequalities in health and society into sharper focus. Adam Tinson explores the...

Explore the topics

Health inequalities

Money and resources





Neighbourhoods and surroundings

Coming soon

Family, friends and community

Coming soon

This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health