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4 people from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities sitting on a bench talking

Helping policymakers understand how people from different communities prepare financially for later life

Published: 28 February 2024

Professor Athina Vlachantoni examines ethnic differences in pension protection among mid-life and older individuals from minority ethnic communities in the UK.

Financial resilience is important for people of all backgrounds and communities. This project helps policymakers understand inequalities in pension protection between minority ethnic communities, and how to reduce them. 

The findings show how individuals and families from a wide range of communities prepare financially for later life. They highlight the barriers and opportunities that different communities face to build greater financial resilience.

Studying ethnic differences on how people age and reach later life is a key area of expertise for the Centre for Research on Ageing. Their research has highlighted ethnic inequalities in physical, mental and financial resources. 

Research partners

Professors Athina Vlachantoni and Yuanyuan Yin explore ethnic differences in pensions and savings using a combination of research methods. They work with people from a range of minority ethnic communities in Southampton. 

They want to understand pension protection, finances and saving. The ESRC Inclusive Ageing grant, enables the research team to undertake statistical analysis of national datasets.

The research partners include:

  • Southampton City Council
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • AgeUK Southampton
  • Pensions Policy Institute
  • People’s Pension
  • Citizens Advice Southampton

 The contributions feed into the research design and discussion of the project findings.

Ageing and gerontology research team
From left to right: Dr Spela Mocnik, Dr Saddaf Akhtar, Ms Runyararo (Tina) Mudzamiri, Professor Yuanyuan Yin, Professor Athina Vlachantoni

The voice and perspective of people from different age groups is at the heart of this research. This enhances collaboration between the research team and local communities to conduct research which makes a difference to individuals’ lives.

Financial resilience is a life-long pursuit, so it is important to know what young adults think about these topics too.

Year 11 pupils from Cantell School in Southampton were asked what financial resilience meant. The research team wanted to know how young people think about their own future selves, the benefits of saving for later life, and ways they can achieve this.

This project is a fantastic opportunity to combine innovative methodologies and add value to what we know already about differences in pension protection and planning for later life between individuals from different ethnic communities.
Professor of Gerontology & Social Policy

This research followed on from Professor Athina Vlachantoni and Professor Jane Falkingham's work in 2012. With a research grant from the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, they examined ethnic differences in pension protection. They looked at mid-life and older individuals from minority ethnic communities in the UK.

The findings from the 2012 project showed that people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities faced the highest risk of not having pension protection across their life-course. 

Working age persons from Pakistani or Bangledeshi communities were less likely to be members of an occupational pension scheme than people from other minority communities or White British. This meant that as they became older they were less likely to receive a state pension. They were more likely to receive Pension Credit due to their low income. 

Working with non-academic partners from the beginning has ensured that our research remains relevant and directly addresses questions which policymakers and other stakeholders are interested in.

Professor Athina Vlachantoni


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