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  • Child poverty gradually rising

    Created: 01/04/2021

    The Scottish Government has published the latest Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland statistics which contains data on poverty, child poverty, poverty risks for various equality characteristics, household income and income inequality for Scotland.

    Covering the period just before the current pandemic, the statistics suggest a gradual increase in child poverty levels since the early 2010s.

    - Two out of the four child poverty measures in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act show a gradual increase, and two show little change. While the poverty risk is much lower for children where someone in the household is in paid work compared to those in workless households, not all work pays enough to lift the household above the poverty line. Over two thirds of children in poverty live in a household with someone in paid work.

    - There is little change in poverty levels for working-age adults and pensioners. Pensioners are less likely to be in poverty compared to working-age adults and children: 14% of pensioners are in relative poverty after housing costs, compared to 19% of working-age adults and 24% of children.

    - New food security analysis suggests that while most people (84%) live in households with high food security, this falls to only 60% for people in poverty. A household has high food security if people never need to worry about running out of food before they can afford to buy more, and never struggle to afford balanced meals.

    - Household incomes continue to rise. A typical two-adult household has £27,800 per year after tax and including benefits. Income inequality has fluctuated since the beginning of this data collection in the mid-nineties and continues to do so.

    - Adults under 25 are more likely to be in poverty than older adults. Non-white ethnic minorities are more likely to be in poverty compared to white ethnic groups. Muslim adults are more likely to be in poverty compared to adults of Christian and other faiths and those with no religion. Some, but not all, of the higher poverty risk for ethnic minorities and Muslims can be explained by their lower average age. Single adults, especially single parents, and those who are divorced or separated are more likely to be in poverty compared to married, cohabiting and widowed adults. People living in households with disabled household members are also more likely to be in poverty than those with no disabled household members.

    These figures are produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

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