Nearly 1 in 10 adults living in furniture poverty in the UK

End Furniture Poverty investigates the important topic of furniture and appliance poverty in the UK using NatCen Panel data. 
Unfurnished room
  • Publishing date:
    17 May 2023

About the study

What’s the scale of furniture and appliance poverty in the United Kingdom? End Furniture Poverty investigates this important topic using NatCen Panel data.

Survey respondents were asked if their household had each of the following 11 essential items: dining table and chairs; flooring; freezer; clothing storage (wardrobe or drawers); curtains or blinds; sofa or easy chairs; a place in a bed for each child; washing machine; cooker or oven; a bed for an adult; and fridge. Respondents were considered to be in furniture poverty if they said they needed one of these items but could not afford or otherwise obtain it.


Nearly 1 in 10 adults are living in furniture poverty in the UK

  • Nine per cent of UK adults (18+) are missing at least one essential furniture item, classifying them as living in furniture poverty. This equates to 4.8 million adults.

  • Over 1 million adults are in ‘deep furniture poverty’, whereby they are missing three or more essential items.

  • Further analysis suggests that at least 9% of children (0-17), which equates to 1.2 million children, are also in furniture poverty. This means around 6 million people in the UK are experiencing furniture poverty.

Those on a low-income, living in social housing or from an ethnic minority background are more likely to be in furniture poverty

  • Sixty per cent of UK adults in furniture poverty sit in the lowest income quartile. The remaining quartiles contribute 18%, 13% and 9% respectively.

  • Adults from minority ethnic groups (16%) are more than twice as likely to experience furniture poverty relative to those from a white British background (7%).

  • Twenty-six per cent of adults in social housing are in furniture poverty compared with 15% of private renters and 3% of homeowners.

More detailed results from the survey can be found in a wider report published by End Furniture Poverty. 


Fieldwork for this study was conducted using the random-probability NatCen Panel. The NatCen Panel is a panel of people recruited from high-quality, random probability surveys such as the British Social Attitudes survey. Those agreeing to join the Panel are then invited to take part in additional short surveys covering a range of different topics either online or over the phone.

By using a probability-based sample, and allowing those without internet access to take part, this design reduces the risk of bias compared to online-only surveys which exclude those who do not have access to, or are less confident using, the internet or surveys using convenience samples which are more likely to include people who are more ‘available’ or particularly want to express their views.

The survey was conducted between 21st July and 21st August 2022. A total of 5,537 of the 7,736 panel members invited to take part did so, giving a 72% response rate. Taking account of nonresponse at the recruitment interview and at the point of recruitment to the panel, the overall response rate was 10%. The data were weighted to be representative of the UK adult (18+) population.