Understanding small area child poverty data across the UK

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Child poverty has hit the headlines again as End Child Poverty has published small area child poverty data for each constituency, local authority and ward in the UK. The Centre for Research in Social Policy makes these annual estimates for the End Child Poverty Coalition, allowing them to map the percentage of children in poverty at small area level for a snapshot of time (July – September 2017).

The data is now live on Local Insight. This gives you instant and easy access to the data, matched to the communities you care about.  And if you would like to see the data for your own wards, neighbourhoods and communities, get in touch for a free trial.

More on the small area child poverty data

This dataset shows the number and percentage of children who are estimated to be in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. Rates are based on the number of children in each area, calculated using child benefit data.

To calculate the number of children classified as in poverty, the data relies on adjustments from two sets of administrative data:

  • Firstly, children are classified as in poverty if they live in families in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of in-work tax credits where their reported family income is less than 60% of median income (this indicator, compiled officially as a local estimate of child poverty, has been reported for August 2014 by HMRC).
  • Secondly, the above figures are then updated to take into account Labour Force Survey data on the number of children in non-working households, to adjust figures for recent trends in out-of-work child poverty (reported for the third quarter of 2017).

This measure is calculated using the same administrative data as the Children In Poverty dataset published by HM Revenue and Customs / Department for Work and Pensions (last updated in 2014). However, as it is adjusted using Labour Force Survey for a more recent time point, it makes it more up to date, but also not comparable to the other measure for Children in Poverty. 

Because of the way in which this data is constructed, the End Child Poverty report suggests that these measures should not be read as exact counts of the number of children in poverty in each area. But rather, as a good indication of where child poverty is particularly high compared to other areas, and where there is greater need to focus efforts to reduce it.

What are the key findings from the small area child poverty data?

One of the key findings from this data release is the clear disparity between areas in the levels of child poverty recorded by these estimates. Regions, local authorities and wards vary drastically in the levels of child poverty reported, ranging from above 50% to below 10%.

Some of the key findings to be highlighted in the report are as follows:

  • The most deprived areas in the UK now record estimates of child poverty of more than 50% (The UK average is 27%)
  • Highest rates of child poverty can be seen in larger cities. Among the parliamentary constituencies with highest estimates of childhood poverty, 7 are located in London, 3 in Birmingham, and 3 in Manchester.
  • At smaller area level, the estimates show an increase in child poverty overall, with 87 electoral wards now recording more than 50% of children living in poverty after housing costs, compared to only 21 electoral wards with 50% child poverty in 2015
  • The two parliamentary constituencies with the lowest levels of child poverty are both in Scotland. West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine and Gordon, both with less than 10%
  • Some of the more affluent constituencies in the South-East of England record only one in 10 children in poverty

For a full list of local authorities with the highest and lowest rates of child poverty, see the full report and datasets here: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2018/

Further exploration:

To explore the data in more detail for the specific communities that you work in, as well as compare the data to hundreds of other socio-economic datasets; sign up for a free trial of Local Insight.

Explore the interactive map by the End Child Poverty Coalition http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

For more on the methodology of this data release and usage limitations of the dataset, see here: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/images/ecp/paper_explaining_calculations_and_method_to_ECP.pdf

Data source provider: Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/crsp/publications/

Read The Guardian’s analysis of the data release here https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/24/most-children-in-uks-poorest-areas-now-growing-up-in-poverty


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