Child Poverty: Contextual Information


Child poverty effects approximately 1/5th of children in Scotland today.  In Glasgow, this figure rises to 1/3rd of the child population.  Research continually demonstrates the negative impact child poverty has upon social, cultural, educational and employment outcomes.

Although child poverty affects people from a cross-section of backgrounds, certain communities face heightened risks of experiencing poverty.  This evidence review details the broad impact of child poverty, before providing an in-depth analysis in relation the Equality Act’s (2010) protected characteristics.

This information should also be viewed with specific consideration to the characteristics covered within child poverty:

Due to the overlapping issues which contribute to poverty, this section should also be viewed in conjunction with the following:


Key Facts and Figures: Glasgow

In 2012:

33.4%, or 36,000 children lived in poverty in Glasgow.

This is more than double the rate of Aberdeen, and nearly twice the rate of Edinburgh.

Source: GCPH. 2014. Glasgow Indicators Project: Child Poverty.

Glasgow possesses two constituencies in the top 20 areas for child poverty within the UK. Glasgow North East and Glasgow Central.

Source: End Child Poverty. 2013. Child Poverty Map of the UK.

Almost half of Glasgow's residents, 285,000 people, reside in areas classed as the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

4% of the city's population, or 21,000 people, reside in areas defined as the 10% least deprived areas in Scotland.

Source: SIMD 2012 and National Records of Scotland. Cited in Glasgow Indicators Project.

Although child poverty within Glasgow sits at 33% across the city, further analysis reveals a disproportionate impact upon certain communities within the city.

The Glasgow Indicators Project states that over 50% of children live in poverty within some Glaswegian communities, whilst for others, this figure is as low as 10%.

The following table highlights the disparity within the city:

  Govanhill Hyndland, Dowanhill and Partick East
People from an ethnic minority (2011) 33.1% 8.7%
Overcrowded households (2011) 26.9% 16.6%
Owner occupied households (2011) 36.7% 51.7%
People in employment (2011) 54.3% 65.3%
People claiming employment and support allowance (2012) 4.3% 1.4%
People claiming out of work benefits (2012) 25.3% 8.2%
Young people not in education, employment or training (2011) 14.5% 4.8%
People in income deprivation (2012) 24.5% 8.1%
People of working age in employment deprivation (2012) 22.1% 7.8%
Children in poverty (2010) 32.7% 10.6%

GCPH. 2014. Neighbourhood Comparisons

Source: The Glasgow Indicator Project. 2014.


Key Facts and Figures: Scotland

The median wage is the middle point of wage distribution. Half of people earn more than this amount, half earn less.

The median wage per week in 2012/2013 was £440.  A decrease of £9 on the previous year and the third consecutive year income has fallen.

People are classed as living in relative poverty if they earn 60% of the median wage. This is measured against the median wage of the current year.

People are classed as living in absolute poverty if they earn 60% of the median wage. This is measured against the median wage of the previous year.

In 2012/2013:

16% or 820,000 people in Scotland lived in relative poverty before housing costs. A 2% increase, or 110,000 more people than the previous year.

After housing costs, 19%, or 1 million people lived in relative poverty. A 3% increase, or 140,000 more people than the previous year.

Before housing costs, 17%, or 880,000 people in Scotland lived in absolute poverty. A 2% increase, or 100,000 people.

The bottom three income deciles, receive a combined total of 14% of the countries total income.

The top three income deciles, receive a combined total of 51% of the countries total income.

Source: Scottish Government. 2014. Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2012–2013.

In 2012/2013:

19%, or 180,000 children within Scotland live in poverty before housing costs.

After housing costs, this figure rises to 22%, or 220,000.

Source: Scottish Government. 2014. Poverty and Inequality in Scotland: 2012/2013.


Geographic Disparity

The Scottish Improvement Service (SIS) 1000 communities study provides an insight into the different social outcomes experienced by communities throughout Scotland.

Using data derived from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), the 2011 Census and Scottish Neighbourhood statistics, SIS produced a robust analysis of the following communities:

  • 330 of the most deprived areas
  • 330 of the least deprived areas
  • 330 centrally placed areas


  • In 2011, 45% of children achieved no qualifications in the most deprived cohort.
  • Only 12% of children in the least deprived cohort achieved no qualifications.
  • 13% achieved level four or above qualifications in the most deprived cohort.
  • Whilst 47% achieved level four or above in the least deprived cohort.

Crime and Health

  • 180 recorded crimes per 100,000 people in the least deprived cohort in 2011.
  • 987 recorded crimes per 100,000 people in the most deprived cohort in 2011.
  • 6,773 emergency hospital admissions per 100,000 in the least deprived areas.
  • 15,362 emergency hospital admissions per 100,000 in the most deprived areas.


  • Most deprived cohort:
    • 10.4% unemployed
    • 4.6% long term unemployed
    • 2.2% never worked.
  • Central cohort: 
    • 4.2% unemployed
    • 1.5% long term unemployed
    • 0.6% never worked
  • Least deprived cohort:
    • 2.1% unemployed
    • 0.7% long term unemployed
    • 0.3% never worked.

Source: Scottish Improvement Service. 1000 Communities Report. (Overview published in Hollywood).

The social and cultural consequences of poverty are clear.  Economic disparity contributes restricted life opportunities and outcomes.  It reduces the educational attainment and employment opportunities of entire communities, whilst placing significant pressure on a range of public services.

Education and Poverty

The impact of poverty in terms of education is further highlighted by the Scottish Government:

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation Average Tariff Score
0–20% 268
20–40% 337
40–60% 400
60–80% 469
80–100% 552

SG. 2013. Tariff Scores and SIMD

From this, there appears to be a direct correlation between poverty and educational achievement. This suggests that those born into poverty may experience difficulty in escaping poverty through one of the most widely promoted mediums, education.

Source: Scottish Government. 2013. Summary Statistics for Attainment, Leaver Destinations and Healthy Living.


Key Facts and Figures: UK

The Poverty and Social Exclusion Unit present the following data:

  • 33% of households in the UK endure below standard living standards. 
    • In the early 1980s, this figure was 14%
  • 18 million Britain live in inadequate housing conditions
  • 12 million are too poor to take part in the most basic social activities
  • 1 in 3 people cannot afford to heat their homes properly
  • 4 million adults and children are not able to eat healthily
  • 2.5 million children live in damp homes
  • 1.5 million children live in households which cannot afford to heat them
  • 1 in 5 adults have to borrow for every day needs
  • 21% of households are behind on household bills – compared to 14% in the late 1990s.

This research demonstrates that poverty is not merely an issue faced by Glasgow, but rather, an embedded social issue which impacts the day-to-day lives of millions of people throughout the UK.

Source: Poverty and Social Exclusion Unit. 2014. Poverty in the UK.


In-work Poverty

Although poverty caused by unemployment is rightfully presented as a key concern to local and national government, in-work poverty also contributes to the continued marginalisation of communities throughout the city.

It has been argued that under-employment and in-work poverty, in terms of pay, hours and quality of work, can have the same negative consequences as unemployment.

Research presented by Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK, suggests under-employment is directly related to poorer educational, health and social outcomes.

Presenting the case for “inclusionary employment”, they highlight the need to appreciate the following issues when discussing employment:

  • The quality of employment, hours worked, physical demands of the job and pay rates all contribute to an individual’s physical and emotional well-being.
  • Poor quality employment, in terms of both its position and the amount of security it offers can contribute to poorer physical and mental health outcomes.
  • Employment which fails to offer progression, in regards to both skill and career development can contribute to the continued marginalisation of certain communities within society.

Source: Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK. 2014

Health and Poverty

The World Health Organisation (2007) offers an insight into the relationship between poverty and health:

Pathways linking labour market situations to health outcomes can be identified both at the macro level and for every individual employment condition.  At the macro level, we have found that there is a strong association between labour market inequality and unfavourable population health outcomes…high levels of unemployment on both societies and neighbourhoods are correlated with poor health and increased mortality.

Source: World Health Organisation.2007. Employment Conditions and Health Inequalities: Final Report to WHO Commission on Social Detriments of Health.

Although child poverty isn’t explicitly mentioned, it is clear that a parent or carers position within the labour market has a significant effect on their own, and their dependents life opportunities and outcomes.