The research that contributed to shaping the report indicated that there are a number of costs associated with poor numeracy which cannot be quantified, but would cost the public purse: social housing, substance abuse, depression, pension participation and others. Therefore, the report is more likely to underestimate, than overestimate the true costs of numeracy difficulties to society.
The report reviews a number of studies from the first decade of the 21th century that provided sufficient evidence to suggest there is a firm relationship between under-achievement in numeracy and social inequality. This is particularly the case for children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Having adequate (not high level) numeracy is strongly correlated with employment and earnings. Researchers at the London School of Economics have suggested that the wage premium from having adequate numeracy skills rose as we entered the 21th century, particularly for women.
The costs in the report are extrapolated from the British Cohort Survey study. They should be treated with some caution as the studies were carried out in a different economic climate and policy context.