The Josheph Rowntree Foundation (2007) have reported that 40% of the ethnic minorities are in poverty (as measured by the EU definition). This shows they are twice as likely to be in poverty as whites. However, some groups are more likely to be in poverty than others. E.g. 65% of Bangladeshis compared with only 25% of Indians. Marxist, Functionalists, New Right and Webarian theories can all be used to explain this pattern.
The New Right would probably blame the greater incidence of Afro-Caribbean poverty on their larger Families and the fact that a higher percentage of this group are brought up in single parent families. Absent fathers means less control over boys and this produces greater likelihood of educational failure (and later) poverty. Benefit dependency reduces the idea of self-help and makes it harder to get out of poverty. A problem with this is that it’s a rather ‘people blaming’ approach and can’t be used to explain the even greater poverty of groups like Bangladeshi and Pakistanis.
The Webarians Rex and Tomlinson (1979) described the ethnic minorities as an ‘underclass’ (in terms of living conditions) this was during their study of Handsworth, Birmingham, which is a typically poor area of the country . it could be argued that Rex and Tomlinson’s view on the ethnic minorities was similar to what a New Right writer would say, as this study is very people blaming. However, a problem with this study is that it is very old, a lot has changed in the last 30 years in terms of attitudes towards ethnic minorities in society E.g. there is much less racism and less discrimination compared to the 70s. But despite these changes, there are still significant problems in this area of the country. E.g. Handsworth was one of the areas in which the 2012 riots occurred, this could show that not much has changed in the last 30 years.
Marxists such as Beachy, believed that the idea of a reserve army of labour contributed towards the poverty of ethnic minorities. This theory suggested that ethnic minorities, as well as other groups (women) were employed when the economy was booming, but they were the first to lose their jobs when the economy was in decline. A problem with this theory is that there is no evidence to support it. Also it isn’t logical. Ethnic minorities are cheaper to employ so surely they would more likely be employed when the economy is in decline? Another Marxist view could include the ‘product of capitalism’ (Castles and Kosacle) this suggests that racism is deliberately spread by the ruling class in order to ‘fragment’ the working class – to ‘divide and