Experiences of people facing financial hardship in later life

More than two million older people are living in poverty in the UK1. The Experiences of poverty in later life project aims to amplify the voices of some of these older people, by highlighting the experiences of people facing financial hardship in later life.

This project is based upon a series of interviews Independent Age conducted between November 2021 and January 2022. Around 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with older people who were experiencing financial hardship. We spoke to older people from a range of backgrounds and perspectives, including older people of different ages, different genders, different ethnicities, different family situations, and different housing tenures.

From these interviews, we have created a series of concise, visual briefings. Each briefing addresses one of the key themes which emerged during our research and includes stories and quotes from some of the older people we spoke to.

Ageing without children

The number of people ageing without children is increasing – by 2030 there will be around 2 million.


2 in 10 older people said in a poll that they sought financial advice – about benefits, pensions or other issues – following the death of a partner

Cost of living

Inflation in the 12 months to February 2022 was 5.5% – the highest rate in 30 years.

Cutting back

Older people who spent at least one year in poverty in a nine-year period were twice as likely not to have a filling meal every day

Financial support

According to latest figures, only 66% of older people who are entitled to Pension Credit are currently receiving this entitlement.


Older people experience different types of housing tenure, all of which can impact their financial security.

Mental health

Approximately 1 in 10 older people in England have moderate or severe anxiety or depression

Minoritised ethnic communities

While people in later life are becoming more ethnically diverse, people from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic communities are more likely to experience poverty in later life.


20% of women aged 65 and over are in poverty, compared to 16% of men.

Read our recent report on how different groups of people in later life move into or out of poverty or stay in persistent poverty, the reasons for this, and how to reduce pensioner poverty.

1 Households below average income: for financial years ending 1995 to 2020, Department for Work and Pensions, 25 March 2021, see gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-averageincome-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020