Northern Ireland Social and Welfare System


There is a wide range of social welfare information available from both administrative and survey sources. The proposals under the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill may result in major changes to the current welfare system - the impact of these is currently being assessed by Analytical Services. Further information can be found here.

Social welfare information shows that at November 2014 there were 256,720 people of working age claiming a key benefit (50.4% female and 49.6% male). (Social Security Agency Benefit Administrative Systems, November 2014).

In 2012/13 Benefits and Tax Credits contributed 22 per cent towards household income in Northern Ireland; this was six percentage points higher than the UK average. (Family Resources Survey, 2012/13).

Approximately 89,300 (20%) children in NI live in low income households (incomes below 60% of the UK median income, before housing costs). (Households Below Average Income, NI 2012/13).

More information

Official statistical information on social and welfare statistics can be obtained from The Department for Social Development Analytical Services website which provides the most up-to-date claimant information and also information on the Family Resources Survey publications which provides detailed analysis of household incomes and circumstances, including levels of poverty.

A wide range of research papers and publications are also available on the Analytical Services webpage looking at various topics commissioned by the Department.

Spatial Deprivation Measures provides a detailed analysis of the most deprived areas across Northern Ireland.

Detailed social and welfare small area statistics can also be obtained from the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service website by clicking here.