L50: Pocket Pensions

Penny-wise elderly singles renting in developments of compact social homes

Type of Vintage Value consisting of 1.20% of households and 0.79% of population

Who We Are

  • Aged 66+
  • Household income less than £15k
  • No children
  • Council/housing association bungalow
  • Very low level of household technology

Key Features

  • Retired singles
  • Council/housing association tenants
  • 1 bed bungalows
  • No qualifications
  • Very low discretionary income
  • Fuel and water poverty


Pocket Pensions are elderly people who rent small homes from local authorities or housing associations. They are aged in their sixties, seventies and eighties and most are living alone.

Their accommodation is very small, comprising one or two bedrooms in a compact living space. Many are bungalows and others are small flats. They are likely to have been built with elderly people in mind, grouped in developments of similar homes, and are found in suburbs and towns across the country.

Residents have very low incomes with few receiving any money beyond the state pension and benefits. They are also unlikely to have accumulated savings. This means they have little cash to spare once basic necessities have been bought and bills paid. They spend carefully, preferring to stay within their means rather than use credit, and some like to pay with cash to help them keep to their budget.

They tend to spend a lot of time at home and enjoy watching television. They don’t use the internet much. Many go shopping on weekdays and some use mail order catalogues to buy things they can’t source in local shops.