The Portsmouth City Council cost of living hub is a one-stop shop guide for the help that is available for Portsmouth residents.

This page provides an overview of key data on the cost of living crisis. It looks at what we know about which parts of our city are most vulnerable to rising costs of living and how issues are impacting on residents of Portsmouth. It includes information on:

The data in the summary will be updated at least annually in July each year. However the picture changes rapidly – the most up to date data can be explored more fully in the sections of the Cost of Living JSNA Report using the links on this page.

The Public Health Annual Report 2023 examines in more detail why poverty is a problem, how it has been made worse by the cost of living crisis which has put many more households in a position of financial stress or vulnerability, and what that means for communities in Portsmouth. It was produced using data available in Spring 2023 so provides a snapshot at that time which may vary from the data below which is updated more frequently.

The Cost of Living JSNA Report shows data that can help us understand the impact of the rising cost of living in Portsmouth. It brings together national and local data covering risks and vulnerability and emerging impacts. It has been developed using datasets from a range of sources, and caution should always be taken in interpreting the outputs.

The data in the report is dynamic and updated regularly. The following key points are based on the latest available data at 1 August 2023.

Food Insecurity and Poverty

View the food insecurity and poverty data.

The rising cost of food due to inflation is a key driver of the cost of living crisis. Tracking the impact on food distribution services, and understanding trends in eligibility for schemes that support those experiencing food poverty (such as free school meals), is key.

In 2022/23 7,600 vouchers were fulfilled at Portsmouth Food Bank. This is an increase of 51% from 2021/22 when 5,020 vouchers were fulfilled.

Fuel and Energy

View the fuel and energy data.

Energy costs have been a major driver of the current cost of living crisis. It is important to understand the underlying vulnerabilities, trends (such as in the support people are seeking), and the effect of changes in policy.

Based on 2021 data, 11.8% of households in Portsmouth were classified as fuel poor, based on having low income and high cost. This ranged from 2.5% in some parts of Hilsea to 30.2% in some parts of Central Southsea.


View the housing data.

Housing costs account for a significant proportion of household expenses. For the most vulnerable, becoming homeless and/or residing in temporary accommodation is a real risk of the cost of living crisis.

In Portsmouth the maximum monthly amount of Local Housing Allowance that an eligible resident can claim (through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit) towards the cost of renting a 2 bedroom property is £725 in 2023/24. This is below the value of £795 that splits the cheapest 25% of properties from the most expensive 75%, based on average rents in Portsmouth in 2022/23. With average rents increasing over the past 12 months, this gap is likely to have widened, reducing the amount that those eligible for support have to spend on other essentials.

Skills, Employment and Benefits

View the skills, employment and benefits data.

The effects the cost of living crisis is having on employment is shown using data on unemployment and claims for key employment-related benefits, and changes in numbers of people receiving Universal Credit.

In Portsmouth the number of people aged 16-64 claiming unemployment-related benefits began to increase in November 2022 and stood at 6,350 in March 2023. The increase in the last 6 months was mostly in females aged over 50 years old.

Money, Debt and Advice

View the money, debt and advice data.

The cost of living crisis is affecting all of our communities in different ways. Some households who have not previously required support will experience difficulties, while those already experiencing greatest deprivation are likely to see higher proportional impacts.

Even before the cost of living crisis, parts of Portsmouth were in the highest 10% nationally for the proportion of children living in absolute low income families, with between 3 and 4 out of 10 children affected.

Data from support services like Advice Portsmouth shows that the numbers of requests for advice information and support have been going up in most parts of the city. The Big Portsmouth Survey in November 2022 showed more than 9 out of 10 people said their cost of living had increased.


If you have any queries about the data and information, please contact