Skip to main content Skip to footer

The PPI is an INDEPENDENT educational, not-for profit research institute. We undertake rigorous research from a neutral, long-term perspective

Reports and Briefing Notes

The under-pensioned: disabled people and people from ethnic minorities

Research by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) in 2003 investigated the future pension incomes of women, disabled and ethnic minority people. It constructed hypothetical case studies who have the characteristics observed of these groups, and compared their estimated pension incomes with the individual who was then typically used as the stereotype for policy analysis, namely the traditionally-employed median-earning male. Women, disabled and ethnic minority people were found to be ‘under-pensioned’ when compared to this particular policy stereotype.

Since the original PPI analysis, the Government has introduced major reforms to both state and private pensions, which had a specific aim to be fair to women and carers. These reforms are likely to improve significantly women’s pension incomes. The time is now ripe to review the pension situation of the other groups, and consider to what extent the recent reforms will help them. This new research has been commissioned from the PPI by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to examine the specific pension situation of disabled people and people from ethnic minorities.


Chapter one briefly summarises the evidence on women and pensions, since women have some similar characteristics to disabled people and people from ethnic minorities.

Chapter two considers the definition of disability, looks at the working patterns and earnings of disabled people, and as a result, their retirement income. 

Chapter three looks at the evidence on ethnic minority groups including employment rates, gender, earnings and pension accumulation.

Chapter four uses hypothetical individuals with some of the characteristics observed of these groups to illustrate their potential future incomes.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Join our mailing list

Signup to receive all the latest news from the PPI

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Find out more here