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Child poverty statistics and facts

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There are currently 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK. That’s almost a third of all children. 1.6 million of these children live in severe poverty . In the UK 63% of children living in poverty are in a family where someone works .

These child poverty statistics and facts will help to give you an idea of the scale of child poverty in the UK and the affect it can have on:

  • a child's education
  • a child's health
  • the day to day lives of families.

Does child poverty affect children's health?

  • Three-year-olds in households with incomes below about £10,000 are 2.5 times more likely to suffer chronic illness than children in households with incomes above £52,000 .
  • Infant mortality is 10% higher for infants in the lower social group than the average.

Does poverty affect a child's education?

  • Only 48 per cent of 5 year olds entitled to free school meals have a good level of development at the end of their reception year, compared to 67 per cent of all other pupils.  
  • Less than half of pupils entitled to free school meals (just 36 per cent) achieve 5 GCSEs at C or above, including English and Maths, this compares to 63 per cent of pupils who are not eligible..

How much money do families living in poverty have?

  • Families living in poverty can have as little as £12 per day per person to buy everything they need such as food, heating, toys, clothes, electricity and transport.

How does poverty affect families?

  • 1.6 million children are growing up in homes which are too cold41 per cent  of  children in the poorest fifth of households are in families who can’t afford to replace broken electrical goods, compared with just 3 per cent  of children in the richest households.
  • 59 per cent  of children in the poorest fifth of households have parents who would like to, but cannot afford to take their children for a holiday away from home for one week a year. This only applies to 6 per cent  of children in the richest fifth.

The Government has a statutory requirement, enshrined in the Child Poverty Act 2010 , to end child poverty by 2020. However, it is predicated that by 2020/21  another 1 million children will be pushed into poverty as a result of the Coalition Government’s policies.

Find out more about Barnardo's child poverty research and publications or search Barnardo's database of child poverty publications and research »