Child Poverty - The Basics

Child Poverty - The Basics

1 in 5 children in the UK live in poverty

There are approximately 2,800,000 children living in poverty in the UK today. This is around 21% of all children.

This is children living in households with less than £374 to live on each week.

The 'poverty line' is widely defined as 60% of the median income’.  In the UK the median income for a couple with 2 children is £623 per week. 60% of that is £374 per week. Families with income per week of less than £374 per week are living in poverty [1].

This is total income and not disposable income. This £374 has to cover housing, all utilities, food, clothing, travel, insurance, savings, leisure, hobbies and so on.

Many families that are in poverty are 'workless', in that no parent is working.  A workless household with a couple and 2 children living in it would receive approximately £270 per week, plus rent and council tax [2].

However, around 62% of children living in poverty live in a household where at least one parent works [3]. This is because low paid jobs, such as those on the minimum wage or part time or temporary contracts, are often not enough to provide an income above the 60% level.

Child Poverty in the North East

In the North East it is 1 in 4

In the North East, there are approximately 132,000 children living in poverty and this equates to around 24% [4] of all children in the region.

According to this report by End Child Poverty UK, this rises to 1 in 3 children living in poverty in parts of the North East such as Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Newcastle having some of the highest levels of child poverty outside central London

Child poverty is high in the North East for several reasons:

  • Unemployment is still well above the national average
  • Youth unemployment is a major problem
  • As a result, households where no one has a job are more common than in other parts of the UK
  • Many local jobs are low-paid, lower-skilled and part time (it is estimated by the government that nearly 14,000 people in the North East are paid less than the National Minimum Wage)

[1] Households Below Average Income: An analysis of the income distribution 1994/95 – 2008/09, DWP, 2011

[2] Minimum Income Standards, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Accessed at:

[3] A New Approach to Child Poverty: Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families’ Lives, DfE, 2011

[4] HMRC: The revised local child poverty measure. Accessible at:

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