The cost of child poverty in 2023
- The cost of child poverty extends beyond the physical and emotional hardship felt by children growing up in low-income families.
- This report estimates the wider societal costs of child poverty. This figure is comprised of costs to the economy due to the greater risk of unemployment and lower earnings potential of adults who grew up in poverty, and of the additional amount spent on public services to help address the damage done to children growing up in poverty.
- In 2008, the total cost was estimated to be at least £25 billion a year. In 2023, it has risen to over £39 billion a year, due to both higher prices and higher rates of child poverty. These are cautious estimates, and the true cost could be substantially higher.
- Forecasts of a continued rise in child poverty mean that the cost is set to increase to more than £40 billion in today’s prices by 2027. These forecasts are based on previously announced benefit cuts continuing to roll out, so the increase is avoidable if policies are changed.
- More generally, this evidence shows that a large investment in reducing child poverty would bring similarly large gains to the economy, while also avoiding the damage to children who are harmed directly by poverty.