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What child poverty means

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Children growing up in poverty have no power, money or resources. A fair society gives people more equal freedom to lead flourishing lives and for this reason, giving every child the best start in life should be our highest priority.

Poverty wastes talent and opportunity and limits life chances. It is important for you to be aware of this and to know how to make a contribution which will make a difference. This series of fact sheets will help you to do this.  

Professor Peter Townsend, has defined relative poverty as when someone’s

resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are, in effect, excluded from ordinary living patterns, customs and activities and UNICEF the cutting edge of poverty is the contrast, daily perceived, between the lives of the poor and the lives of those around them.

UK's place in international league tables

The UK is near the bottom of the UNICEF league table of rich nations for both levels of childhood poverty, childhood outcomes and childhood experience. The North East compares very poorly even within UK league table. Family poverty affects 1/3 children within the North East, in some areas 3/4 children live in workless families. When times are hard the poor tend to suffer most and the situation has worsened as a result of the recent economic recession.

Long term effects of child poverty

Low income influences: living conditions; levels of education; the presence of supportive family and community networks and generates stress from the daily struggle to make ends meet. Monetary poverty goes hand-in-hand with numerous other forms of disadvantage and risk, which are the consequences and causes of the lack of resources.

Children who grow up poor: have lower self esteem; are more likely to plan not to marry; believe that health is a matter of luck; expect to leave school at 16 and this becomes a reality. There is evidence of intergenerational recurrence through early motherhood.  

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