Child poverty facts and figures
- Child poverty reduced dramatically between 1998/9-2011/12 when 800,000 children were lifted out of poverty.
- Lone parent families 49% of children living in single parent families are in poverty.
- Black and minority ethnic families 46% of children from black and minority ethnic families are growing up in poverty, compared with 26% of children in White British families.
- Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. 75% of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one person is working.
- Families with three or more children 47% of children in poverty live in families with three or more children.
- Families experience poverty for many reasons, but its fundamental cause is not having enough money to cope with the circumstances in which they are living. A family might move into poverty because of a rise in living costs, a drop in earnings through job loss or benefit changes.
- Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 50 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.
- Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By GCSE, there is a 28 per cent gap between children receiving free school meals and their wealthier peers in terms of the number achieving at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades.
- Poverty is also related to more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, again influencing earnings as well as the overall quality – and indeed length – of life. Men in the most deprived areas of England have a life expectancy 9.2 years shorter than men in the least deprived areas. They also spend 14% less of their life in good health. Women share similar statistics.
- Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year. Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.
- Childcare and housing are two of the costs that take the biggest toll on families’ budgets. When you account for childcare costs, an extra 130,000 children are pushed into poverty.
- Rates of child poverty and distribution between single parent, working, larger and families of different ethnicity all taken from Department for Work and Pensions Households Below Average Income, An analysis of the income distribution 1994/95 – 2019/20, Tables 4a and 4b. Department for Work and Pensions, 2021.