Child poverty facts and figures

The facts and figures show the reality of child poverty in the UK.

  • There were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2020-21.1 That's 27 per cent of children, or eight in a classroom of 30.2

The below data is from the year 2019/20. More recent data is not available at the moment as data collection was affected by the pandemic. When newer data is released, these statistics will be updated.

  • 49 per cent of children living in lone-parent families are in poverty.3 Lone parents face a higher risk of poverty due to the lack of an additional earner, low rates of maintenance payments, gender inequality in employment and pay, and childcare costs. 
  • Children from Black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be in poverty: 46 per cent are now in poverty, compared with 26 per cent of children in white British families.4
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. 75 per cent of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one person works.5
  • Children in larger families are at a far greater risk of living in poverty – 47 per cent of children living in families with 3 or more children live in poverty.6
  • Between 1998 and 2003 reducing child poverty was made a priority - with a comprehensive strategy and investment in children - and the number of children in poverty fell by 600,000.7

(All poverty figures are after housing costs)

Read about solutions to child poverty

 

  • 1. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2020/21, Table 1.4b. Department for Work and Pensions, 2022
  • 2. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2020/21, Table 1.4a. Department for Work and Pensions, 2022
  • 3. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2019/20, Table 4_5db. Department for Work and Pensions, 2021
  • 4. Author’s Calculations from Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2019/20, Tables 4_3db & 4_5db. Department for Work and Pensions, 2021
  • 5. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2019/20, Table 4.3db. Department for Work and Pensions, 2021
  • 6. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2019/20, Table 4_5db. Department for Work and Pensions, 2021
  • 7. Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2018/19, Table 4.3tr. Department for Work and Pensions, 2020