Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Research in Social Policy

Bringing up a family: Making ends meet



This research is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and builds on the Minimum Income Standard work – augmenting the Households Below Minimum Income Standard work which shows that families with children are increasingly likely to be unable to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.  This qualitative longitudinal study aims to understand more about what life is like for families living below MIS – what financial challenges do they face, what helps them manage or makes it more difficult, and how this changes over time. 

An initial study of thirty families living between 10 and 50 per cent below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) found that families in this situation often face an unstable or uncertain world, including insecure work and for some the uncertainties of privately rented housing, and that they greatly value stability.  It identified factors that help or hinder family well-being, including health conditions, the availability of extended family support and whether there is a background of debt.  

A second phase of research is following up participants to understand the changing experience of living on a low income.  This will bring a dynamic perspective to explore how changes in family situation, health, employment and housing affect family income and budgeting.  It will also examine the implications of economic and policy changes for families living on low incomes and their ability to meet their needs.

Falling Short: the Experiences of Families Living Below the Minimum Income Standard
Hill, K., Davis, A., Hirsch, D. and Marshall, L. (2016) Falling Short: the experiences of families living below the Minimum Income Standard.  York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Making Ends Meet Below the MIS families experiences over time
Hill, K. and Davis, A. (2018) Making Ends Meet Below the Minimum Income Standard: families’ experiences over time.  Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy.


Centre for Research
in Social Policy

Department of Social Sciences
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 223372