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Child Poverty

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Labour, Halton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

(1) what recent estimate he has made of the number of school-age children in England living in poverty;

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of school pupils in England aged between four and 16 living in poverty.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

Statistics covering 2009-10 are the most recent available.

The following tables show the number and proportion of all children aged 4 to 16 who were in households with equivalised disposable income below 60% of contemporary median income Before Housing Costs (BHC). School-age children have been included in the age range 4 to 16 using the definition for a child from the HBAI series.

Table 1: Numbers and proportions of children aged 4 to 16 living in relative poverty (BHC)
Number (million) Proportion (%)
Children aged 4-16 1.7 19
Table 2: Numbers and proportions of school pupils aged 4 to 16 living in relative poverty (BHC)
Number (million) Proportion (%)
Children aged 4-16 1.5 19
Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc 2. Data are sourced from the Family Resources Survey and covers Great Britain up to 1997-98 and the United Kingdom from 1998-99, with estimates for Northern Ireland imputed for the years 1998-99 through 2001-02. The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years. 3. Disposable household income is adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 4. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 5. Numbers of people in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, while proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. 6. Figures have been presented on a Before Housing Cost (BHC) basis. For BHC figures, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, buildings insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income. 7. The household level poverty threshold is defined as the 60% of contemporary median equivalised disposable household income. 8. A dependent child is defined in HBAI as an individual aged under 16. A person will also be defined as a child if they are 16 to 19 years old and they are: not married nor in a civil partnership nor living with a partner; and living with parents; and in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training. 9. School-age children have been included in the age range 4 to 16 using the definition of a child from HBAI given in point 8. 10. Children have been defined as school pupils if they are attending a primary school (including reception class); special school; middle-deemed primary; middle-deemed secondary; secondary/grammar school; or any private school (preparatory or secondary). These may be state run or assisted. This classification is independent of the type of qualification being taken forward. The main difference between the populations are four-year-olds not having started primary school yet and 16-year-olds who are in non-advanced further education not being counted as school pupils. Children being home schooled have also not been counted as school pupils. 11. The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets three further income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty. Source: Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2009/10, DWP.

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