Child poverty

Where a child lives in the UK, the number of children in their family and their parents work status all effect the likelihood that they will be in poverty.

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Link to source: Households Below Average Income

In-work child poverty rates are closely linked to the number of adults in work in the family and their hours of work. Child poverty rates are very low for children in families where two parents are in work, with at least one in full-time work. Families with a single earner or with only part-time workers experience much higher poverty rates. 

Children in lone-parent families have high poverty rates, even when their parent works full time. In lone-parent families working full time poverty has risen from 13% in 1996/97 to 28% in 2015/16, with a particularly sharp rise in the year to 2015/16. Between 1996/97 and 2010, the child poverty rate in lone-parent families working part time halved from 46% to 23%. It has since risen back to 36%. Poverty among single earner couples has risen from 29% in 1996/97 to 38% in 2015/16.

Link to source: Households Below Average Income

Among families with children there are very different patterns of poverty depending on the number and age of children. Over the last 20 years, child poverty has been highest in families with three or more children. This rate decreased from 1994/95 to 2010/11 but has begun to rise again in the last few years to 39% in 2015/16 (even before the two child limit on benefits and tax credits was introduced in April 2017). The child poverty rate for families with one child and two children in 2015/16 was 27% and 26% respectively. 

The child poverty rate in families with three or more children in 1994/5 was 45%, compared with 27% of children in families with one child and 26% of children in families with two children.