A study into Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland has found that levels of child poverty have gradually increased since the early 2010s.
Covering the period just before the pandemic, the statistics show that 24% of children in Scotland were living in relative poverty between 2017 and 2020.
Scotland has also seen a steady and steep increase of in-work poverty since 2010, suggesting that a parent or guardian in paid work does not always earn enough to lift their household above the poverty threshold. In fact, it is estimated that in 2017-20, 68% of children living in relative poverty were from working households.
Certain types of households are at a particularly high risk of poverty. These include households with single parents, three or more children, a child aged under one, disabled household members, a minority ethnic background, or a mother aged under 25.
In contrast, the study showed little change in poverty levels for working-age adults and those of pension age. Pensioners are actually less likely to be in poverty compared to working-age adults and children.
These figures correlate with the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) statistics from across the UK. In March, the UK government revealed that in the 12 months before the pandemic, the number of children living in poverty rose from 4.1 million to 4.3 million, the highest level recorded. The figures suggest that around one in three UK children are growing up in poverty.
These figures are worrying, particularly because we do not yet know what effect the pandemic has had on poverty in the UK. However, we do know that the pandemic has led to fewer children being taken into care.
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