Child poverty in London facts

  • London has the highest rate of child poverty of any English region.
  • There are 700,000 children – or 37 per cent of all children in London – living in relative poverty after you take housing costs into account.
  • While poverty rates are higher for everyone in London than nationally, this gap is larger for children than for any other group.
  • There are as many poor children in London as in all of Scotland and Wales.
  • 43 per cent of children in inner London and 34 per cent of children in outer London are living in relative poverty, after you take housing costs into account.
  • Two thirds of children living in poverty in the UK are in working households, or where at least one adult is in work.

The boroughs with the highest rates of child poverty in London (after housing costs) are:

Local authority

% of children in poverty 2018 (after housing costs)

Tower Hamlets 53.40%
Newham 43.20%
Hackney 41.30%
Westminster 41.29%
Islington 40.40%
Camden 39.92%


Barking and Dagenham 37.80%
Haringey 37.18%
Brent 36.84%


  • The local authorities with the lowest rate of child poverty in London are: Richmond upon Thames (15.25%), City of London (19.57%), Bromley (20.44%), Kingston upon Thames (21.83%) and Sutton (21.97%).
  • London contains 11 out of the top 25 local authorities with the highest rates of child poverty across the UK.

What factors explain London’s high rates of child poverty?

The main drivers of child poverty in London are the capital's high housing costs, lack of affordable childcare, low pay and a lack of flexible, part-time jobs.

High Housing Costs
  • Trust for London has made it clear that the cost of housing is the main factor explaining London's higher poverty rates compared with other parts of the country.
  • London's housing costs are soaring and more and more children across the capital are becoming homeless as too many of London's families (both in and out of work) do not have access to affordable, secure, quality housing.
  • More people in poverty live in the private rented sector than any other housing tenure and the number of children living in poverty in private rented accommodation has tripled in the last decade.
  • 7 in 10 households in temporary accommodation in England are in London and 80% of these households include children.
Lack of Affordable Childcare
  • Childcare in London is 28 per cent more expensive than the British average for the under-fives, and costs are rising faster than in any other region.
  • 1 in 9 children receive informal childcare in London, compared with 3 in 9 children in England.
Low pay

As London's Poverty Profile puts it:

The relationship between poverty and low pay is complicated. Low pay alone does not necessarily mean poverty – there are other factors, such as the amount of in-work benefits received by the family, the income of a partner or other family members, family size and housing costs, which are particularly important in London.

  • However in London, wages have flat-lined and failed to keep pace with the capital's soaring living costs.
  • In 2017, 1 in 5 employees (730,000 people) were paid below the London Living Wage (£9.75 in 2016/17).
  • People who are BAME are more likely to be low paid, especially people from Bangladeshi or Pakistani origin, and women are more likely to be low paid than men. 
A lack of flexible, part-time jobs
  • There is a strong link between employment and the number of hours worked in a family and income.
  • London’s maternal employment is the lowest of any region in the UK, with 53 per cent of women with children employed in London, compared to 65 per cent across the UK.
  • While the lack of part-time jobs is a key problem in explaining London’s high rates of poverty, part time work alone will not always enable families to escape it. 
  • Tackling poverty in London seems therefore to require both more opportunities for families who do not have work to move into part-time employment, and in those families where only one person is working part time, an increase in the total number of working hours.