Children in low income families: local area statistics

These experimental Official Statistics on the number (and proportion) of children living in low income families across Great Britain by local area were first released on the 26th March 2020.

These new statistics complement and should be viewed as a companion release to the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) survey on children in low income households which provides National and Regional estimates but not local area estimates. These local area statistics are calibrated to, and thus match, the 3-year average HBAI survey estimates at Region and Country level for Great Britain.

This is the first release of these statistics which have replaced DWP’s Children in out-of-work benefit households and HMRC’s Personal Tax Credits: Children in low income families local measure. The limitations of the former releases have been addressed and the new statistics provide a more coherent picture of children in low income families for both Relative and Absolute measures Before Housing Costs (BHC).

The release covers data for the financial years 2014/15 to 2018/19 and is available for a range of local areas including at:

  • Local Authority (pre 2019)
  • Westminster Parliamentary Constituency
  • Ward
  • Lower Super Output Area level

Further information on this release is available on the GOV.UK website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819

The release provides two main measures:

  1. Relative low income is defined as a family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year. A family must have claimed one or more of Universal Credit, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics,
  2. Absolute low income is defined as a family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year in comparison with incomes in 2010/11. A family must have claimed one or more of Universal Credit, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics.

Key Messages

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In the financial year 2018/19 an estimated 22.3% of children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in County Durham.  Across the North East the figure was slightly higher at 23.7% while nationally (England) the figure was 18.4%.
      • This is an increase from 17.4% in 2015/16, with the number of children in living in relative poverty rising from an estimated  15,500 (aged children under 16) to 20,300.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In the financial year 2018/19 an estimated 18.1% of children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in County Durham.  Across the North East the figure was slightly higher at 19.3% while nationally (England) the figure was 15.3%.
      • This is an increase from 16.8% in 2015/16, with the number of children in living in relative poverty rising from an estimated  14,900 (aged children under 16) to 16,500.

The following sections provide more details from this release and is primarily based on those children aged 0 to 15.

Summary

As the following data show, a larger proportion of children in County Durham and the North East are estimated to live in poverty than they are nationally, with nearly one in four children under the age of 16 living in relative poverty compared to just under one in five across England.  Increases since 2015/16 have also been higher in County Durham and the North East than nationally.

The data also estimates that nearly 16,500 children were living in absolute poverty in the county, nearly one in five children aged under 16.  Further detail is given in the infographic below.

    1. Relative Poverty
      • It has been estimated that the number of children aged under 16 in County Durham living in relative poverty has increased to 22.3%, an increase of 31% since 2015/16 .
      • This is an increase from 17.4% in 2015/16, with the number of children in living in relative poverty rising from an estimated  15,500 (aged children under 16) to 20,300.
      • Across the North East the proportion of children living in relative poverty was estimated at 23.7% while nationally (England) the figure was 18.4%,  increases of 27.8% and 20.6% respectively.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • It has been estimated that the number of children aged under 16 in County Durham living in absolute poverty has increased to 18.1%, an increase of 10.4% since 2015/16 .
      • This is an increase from 16.8% in 2015/16, with the number of children in living in absolute poverty rising from an estimated  14,900 (aged children under 16) to 16,500.
      • Across the North East the proportion of children living in absolute poverty was estimated at 19.3% while nationally (England) the figure was 15.3%,  increases of 13% and 2.9% respectively.

By Age Group

With the exception of older children (aged 16 to 19) there are higher proportions of children living in relative poverty across the county compared with England.  It is estimated that more than one in four children aged 0 to 4 are living in relative poverty across the county (26.8%/7,200 children) and the North East (27.2%/39,200 children).  Across England nearly one in five (18.9%) children aged 0 to 4 are living in poverty.

Across the other age groups the estimates are around one in five children living in poverty.

A similar pattern can be seen in children living in absolute poverty and that nearly one quarter of young children (aged 0 to 4) are in this group across both County Durham and the North East, with lower proportions nationally.

Further detail is given in the infographic below.

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In the financial year 2018/19 an estimated 26.8% of children aged 0 to 4 were living in relative poverty – an increase of 20.2% in the number of children aged 0 to 4 since 2015/16.
      • The 5 to 10 age group increased the most during this period, rising by 39.1% to 20.3% of children aged 5 to 10.
      • The 11 to 15 age group increased by 36.3%, rising to 20.5% of children aged 11 to 15.
      • The 16 to 19 age group increased by 10.5%, rising to 16.8% of children aged 16 to 19 living in relative poverty.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In the financial year 2018/19 an estimated 22.2% of children aged 0 to 4 were living in absolute poverty – an increase of 2.9% in the number of children aged 0 to 4 since 2015/16.
      • The 5 to 10 age group increased the most during this period, rising by 15.8% to 16.3% of children aged 5 to 10.
      • The 11 to 15 age group increased by 14.4%, rising to 16.6% of children aged 11 to 15.
      • The 16 to 19 age group fell by 4.2%, however, this still meant a rise from 13.9% to 14.1% of 16 to 19’s living in absolute poverty. This is due to a fall in the population in this age group during this period of 5.6%.

Family Status

Definition: Family type accounts for changes in family composition throughout the year (for example, re-partnering, multiple partners). A Lone Parent family type means the parent/guardian has had no partnerships at any point in the year.

Lone Parent Families

In County Durham and the North East this type of family unit has seen large increases in the the number of children living in poverty in these families since 2015/16 with increases estimated at 60%, (England 25% increase).

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimated that 10,200 children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in lone parent family units, representing 11.3% of all children.  This is an increase of 59.7% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 11.5% of children experiencing relative poverty were living in lone parent families, a rise of 60.9% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children increased by 25.2%, rising to 7.4% of children aged under 16.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimated that 7,900 children under the age of 16 were living in absolute poverty in lone parent family units, representing 7.6% of all children.  This is an increase of 29.9% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 8.9% of children experiencing absolute poverty were living in lone parent families, a rise of 30.3% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children increased by 8.7%, rising to 5.9% of children aged under 16.

‘Couple’ Families

In County Durham and the North East this type of family unit has seen smaller changes in the the number of children living in poverty in these families since 2015/16, with an estimated increase in County Durham of 10.8%, (North East 15.6% increase; England 11% increase).

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimated that 10,000 children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in ‘couple’ family units, representing 11% of all children.  This is an increase of 10.8% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 12.3% of children experiencing relative poverty were living in lone parent families, a rise of 15.9% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children increased by 11%, rising to 11% of children aged under 16.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimated that 8,500 children under the age of 16 were living in absolute poverty in ‘couple’ family units, representing 9.4% of all children.  This is a decrease of 3% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 10.5% of children experiencing absolute poverty were living in lone parent families, a rise of 1.6% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children decreased by 0.5%, falling to 9.3% of children aged under 16.

Work Status

Definition: A family is defined as ‘in-work’ if they have an accumulated period of at least 26 weeks paid employment or self-employment within the 52-week tax year.

‘In-work’ Families

In County Durham and the North East this type of family unit has seen large increases in the the number of children living in poverty in these families since 2015/16 with increases estimated at 25.3% and 27.8% respectively, (England 20.6% increase).

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimated that 11,100 children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in ‘in-work’ family units, representing 12.2% of all children.  This is an increase of 25.3% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 13.3% of children experiencing relative poverty were living in ‘in-work’ families, a rise of 27.8% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children increased by 20.6%, rising to 12.5% of children aged under 16.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimates that 9,000 children under the age of 16 were living in absolute poverty in ‘in-work’ family units, representing 10% of all children.  This is an increase of 5.9% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 10.9% of children experiencing absolute poverty were living in ‘in-work’ families, a rise of 8.6% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children decreased by 2.7%, falling to 5% of children aged under 16.

‘Not-in-work’ Families

In County Durham and the North East this type of family unit has also seen larger changes in the the number of children living in poverty in these families since 2015/16 with an estimated increase in County Durham of 38.7%, (North East 42.8% increase; England 8.1% increase).

    1. Relative Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimates that 9,200 children under the age of 16 were living in relative poverty in ‘not-in-work’ family units, representing 10.1% of all children.  This is an increase of 38.7% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 10.4% of children experiencing relative poverty were living in ‘not-in-work’ families, a rise of 42.8% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children increased by 8.1%, rising to 5.9% of children aged under 16.
    2. Absolute Poverty
      • In 2018/19 it was estimates that 7,500 children under the age of 16 were living in absolute poverty in ‘not-in-work’ family units, representing 8.2% of all children.  This is an increase of 16.4% since 2015/16.
      • In the North East is was estimated that 8.4% of children experiencing absolute poverty were living in ‘not-in-work’ families, a rise of 19.4% since 2015/16.
      • Across England this group of children decreased by 2.7%, falling to 5% of children aged under 16.

Child Poverty and Deprivation

By combining this child poverty data with the results from the Index of Deprivation 2019, the link between higher levels of child poverty in more deprived areas can be demonstrated.  The infographic below shows this relationship using a scatter plot of the proportion of children in poverty against the areas national deprivation ranking.  This is mapped at the Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) geography (see the ‘By Geography’ section below).

The plot clearly shows that the more deprived an area is it overall, the more likely it is to have a higher proportion of children living in poverty.

North East Authorities

With the exception of older children age group (aged 16 to 19) there are higher proportions of children living in relative poverty across the county compared with England.

Key Messages

  • Across all age groups in the dataset, Middlesbrough has the highest proportion of children living in relative poverty in the North East with 35% of children (aged 0 to 19) living relative poverty compared to 21.2% in County Durham, (North East: 22.7%; England: 18.2%).
  • Across all the age groups, County Durham is placed in the lower half of the twelve north east authorities and has a particularly low proportion compared to the other eleven authorities in the 16 to 19 age group where it is ranked third lowest with 16.8% of children aged 16 to 19 living in relative poverty in this age group.

The following infographic provides further detail:

 

By Geography

This new measure of child poverty also allows for analysis at a local, sub-county level.  The following provides an overview of the data for four sub-county geographies: Lower Super Output Area (LSOA), Electoral Ward, Area Action Partnership area (AAP) and Family First Areas (FFAs).

Further information on some of the local geographies in County Durham is available on the Geography Descriptions page.

Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs)

The LSOA geography was developed for the decennial Census by the Office for National Statistics.  Across County Durham there are 324 LSOAs and across England there are 32,844 LSOAs.

    • 152 LSOAs have a higher proportion of children living in relative poverty than the county average of 22.3%.
    • 52.4% of the children living in the Ferryhill Dene Bank North LSOA were living in relative poverty – the highest proportion out of all 324 LSOAs.

Electoral Ward

There are 63 electoral wards covering County Durham – see Durham County Council – Wards.

  • 29 wards have a higher proportion of children living in relative poverty than the county average of 22.3%.
  • 34.8% of the children living in the Shildon and Dene Valley ward were living in relative poverty – the highest proportion out of all 63 wards.

Area Action Partnerships

There are 14 AAPs covering County Durham – see Durham County Council – AAPs.

  • 6 AAPs have a higher proportion of children living in relative poverty than the county average of 22.3%.
  • 30.1% of the children living in the Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP were living in relative poverty – the highest proportion out of all 14 AAPs.

Family First Areas

There are 14 FFAs covering County Durham.

  • 8 FFAs have a higher proportion of children living in relative poverty than the county average of 22.3%.
  • 30.6% of the children living in the Shildon, South Church & Chilton FFA were living in relative poverty – the highest proportion out of all 14 FFAs.

The following infographic provides more detail:

 

Descriptions and Links

Definitions

Term Definition
Children Dependent individuals aged under 16; or aged 16 to 19 in full-time non-advanced education. Figures on the proportion of children living in low income families are derived for children under 16 as a percentage of the under 16 population.
Family A single adult; or a married or cohabitating couple; or a Civil Partnership; and any dependent children.
Equivalised income Income is gross income Before Housing Costs (BHC) and includes contributions from earnings, state support and pensions. Equivalisation adjusts incomes for family size and composition; taking an adult couple with no children as the reference point.
Relative low income A family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year. A family must have claimed one or more of Universal Credit, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics.
Absolute low income A family in low income Before Housing Costs (BHC) in the reference year in comparison with incomes in 2010/11. A family must have claimed one or more of Universal Credit, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit at any point in the year to be classed as low income in these statistics.
Work status A family is defined as ‘in-work’ if they have an accumulated period of at least 26 weeks paid employment or self-employment within the 52-week tax year.
Family type Family type accounts for changes in family composition throughout the year (for example, re-partnering, multiple partners). A Lone Parent family type means the parent/guardian has had no partnerships at any point in the year.

 

Links