Child poverty in the UK

The UK is the sixth richest country in the world and yet more than one in four children is growing up in poverty today.

Find out more about how it feels to be a child growing up in poverty by watching our animation.

  • Child poverty damages childhoods. Poverty affects one in four children in the UK today. When kids grow up poor they miss out – and so do the rest of us. They miss out on the things most children take for granted: warm clothes, school trips, having friends over for tea. It also impacts on health, educational outcomes and the overall experience of childhood.
  • Child poverty destroys life chances. Leaving school with few qualifications translates into lower earnings over the course of a working life. Poorer childhood health results in more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, again influencing earnings as well as overall life quality. Find out more about our work on life chances.
  • Child poverty imposes costs on broader society. Child poverty costs the country £29 billion a year. Governments forgo prospective revenues and commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty now.

Cross-national studies and evidence gathered over time show us that child poverty is not a natural phenomenon. Instead it is a political phenomenon - the product of choices and actions made by government and society.

In other words child poverty isn’t inevitable. With the right policies every child can have the opportunity to fully enjoy their childhood and do well in life.

Find out more about the kinds of policies we recommend by reading our Programme for Government 2015-2020.