Important Information for 2022 Statistics

Please be advised: due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data release for 2020/21 is significantly reduced, and less reliable than seen in previous years (full explanation available here).
Due to this, it will not be possible to update all of the below tables, make comparisons with data releases for other years, or to draw conclusions about recent poverty trends.
Therefore, the 2020/21 HBAI dataset will not be included in the Leeds Poverty Factbook. Where HBAI is the data source for tables in the Leeds Poverty Factbook, the 2019/20 HBAI dataset will instead be referred to as the most up to date statistics, until the next HBAI data release (due March 2023).

Understanding each measure of Child Poverty

In 2016, the Welfare Reform and Work Act abolished the Child Poverty Act, including the targets to reduce poverty and the measure of poverty based on family income. The government is now required only to report to parliament on the number of children living in workless households, and educational outcomes at GCSE level. However, after a campaign by the Child Poverty Action Group, the government agreed to commit to regularly publishing data on the number of children in poverty. The Poverty Fact Book includes 4 measures for Child Poverty:

  • Relative Child Poverty UK DWP official measure for the UK, before and after housing costs
  • Absolute Child Poverty UK DWP official measure for the UK, before and after housing costs
  • Leeds Child Poverty HMRC & DWP official Local Measure, before housing costs
  • Leeds Child Poverty End Child Poverty Coalition’s Localised Estimate, after housing costs

The headline figure for Child Poverty is the DWP’s Child Poverty, after housing costs are deducted from income. The DWP and HMRC have now combined their figures to produce one official local estimate for child poverty. The End Child Poverty Coalition estimate is included because it is useful local estimate that can provide figures after housing costs have been deducted.

Child Poverty in the UK – Relative Child Poverty

The proportion of children living in households where income is less than 60% of median household income

Table 2.1

All dependent children under the age of 20 2019/20 2018/19 2009/10 2010/11 1 year change 10 year change
No of UK Children in Relative Poverty in BHC(m) 3.2m 2.8m 2.6m 2.3m +0.4m +0.6m
UK Children in Relative Poverty in the UK BHC % 23% 20% 20% 18%
No of UK Children in Relative Poverty AHC(m) 4.3m 4.1m 3.9m 3.6m +0.1m +0.3m
UK Children in Relative Poverty in the UK AHC % 31% 29% 20% 27%
Source: DWP, Households below average income (HBAI), March 2021

Latest figures show 3.2 million children experienced relative poverty before housing costs were deducted (BHC) during 2019/20 (23% of children in the UK), an increase of 400,000 children on the previous year, and 600,000 more children in poverty compared to 10 years ago.

Looking at relative poverty figures after housing costs (AHC) are deducted from income, there were 4.3 million children in relative poverty 2019/20 (31% of children in the UK). This is has increased by 100,000 more children in 2018/19 and 300,000 more children in poverty compared to 10 years ago.

Child Poverty in the UK – Absolute Child Poverty

The proportion of children living in households where income is less than 60 per cent of median household income in 2010/11 uprated by CPI inflation.

Table 2.2

All dependent children under the age of 20 2019/20 2018/19 2009/10 2010/11 1 year change 10 year change
No of UK Children in Absolute Poverty in BHC(m) 2.4m 2.4m 2.5m 2.3m 0.0m -0.1m
UK Children in Absolute Poverty in the UK BHC % 17% 17% 19% 18%
No of UK Children in Absolute Poverty AHC(m) 3.5m 3.6m 3.7m 3.6m -0.2m -0.3m
UK Children in Absolute Poverty in the UK AHC % 25% 26% 28% 27%
Source: DWP, Households below average income (HBAI), March 2021

Latest figures show 2.4 million children experienced absolute poverty during 2019/20 before housing costs (BHC) were deducted from income (17% of children in the UK). This figure has remained stable since 2018/19, and fallen by 100,000 children compared to 10 years ago. Looking at absolute poverty figures after housing costs (AHC) are deducted from income, there were 3.5 million children in absolute poverty AHC during 2019/20 (25% of children in the UK), which has fallen by 200,000 since 2018/19 and fallen by 300,000 in the last 10 years.

Children in working and workless households in relative poverty (UK estimates)

Table 2.3:

Economic status of household UK Total number of children Children in poverty BHC Children in poverty AHC
No % No %
At least one adult in work 12.3m 2.3m 19% 3.2m 26%
Workless households 1.6m 856,500 53% 1.06m 66%
Total number of children 14.0m 3.2m n/a 4.3m n/a
Source: DWP, Households below average income (HBAI), March 2021

A higher percentage of children in workless families are in poverty, compared to children in families where at least one adult is in work. In 2019/20, 66% of all children in workless families were in relative poverty AHC (affecting an estimated 1.06m children). In contrast, 26% of all children with at least one adult in work were in relative poverty (affecting an estimated 3.2m children).

When looking solely at the proportion of children in poverty, it can be seen that 2.3m out of 3.2m children in poverty are from a working family, this equates to 72% of children in poverty being from a working family before housing costs are deducted). After housing costs are deducted, 74% (3.2m out of 4.3m) of children in poverty are from working families.

Child Poverty in Leeds : HMRC and DWP combined Local Measure – Children in Low-Income Families

The Children in Low-Income Families data contains annual official statistics on the number of children under 16 living in Relative and Absolute low income families BHC, by local area across the United Kingdom. These statistics replace earlier Official Statistics previously published by DWP (Children in out-of-work benefit households) and HMRC (Personal tax credits: Children in low-income families local measure). The new statistics provide a more coherent picture of children under 16 living in low income families by local area BHC.

Important Information: The Children in low income families: local area statistics (HMRC & DWP) data release for 2020/21 have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, it will not be possible to make comparisons with data releases for other years, or to draw conclusions about recent poverty trends.
Therefore, the 2020/21 Children in low income families: local area statistics (HMRC & DWP) will not be included in the Leeds Poverty Factbook, and the 2019/20 Children in low income families: local area statistics (HMRC & DWP) dataset will instead be referred to as the most up to date statistics, until the next data release (due Spring 2023).

Table 2.4:

2019/20 2018/19 2017/18 1 year change
Number % Number % Number % Number %
UK 2.4m 19% 2.3m 18% 2.2m 18% +176,000 +1%
Leeds 36,496 24% 34,862 23% 32,394 22% +1634 +1%
Source: Children in low income families: local area statistics (HMRC & DWP) March 2021

Latest figures show 2.4 million children under 16 were living in relative low income families BHC in 2019/20 UK, equal to 19%. This is an increase of 176,000 more children (1%) since 2018/19. In Leeds, 24% of children, (36, 496) were living in relative low income families BHC in 2019/20. This is an increase of 1% (1634) children since 2018/19.

Table 2.5:

2019/20 2018/19  2017/18 Annual Change
number % number % number % number %
UK 2m 16% 1.9m 15% 1.8m 15% +107,000 +1%
Leeds 30,197 20% 30,215 20% 28,016 19% -18 0
Children in low income families: local area statistics 2021 (HMRC & DWP)

Latest figures show 2.0 million children under 16 were living in absolute low income families BHC in 2019/20 UK, equal to 16%. This is an increase of 107,000 more children (1%) since 2018/19. In Leeds, 20% of children, (30, 197) were living in absolute low income families BHC in 2019/20. This has remained statistically static since 2018/19.

Child Poverty in Leeds – End Child Poverty Coalition AHC Estimates

Table 2.6

Child Poverty Estimates (Relative AHC) 2017/18 2018/19 1 year change
Number of Children in Relative Poverty (Leeds) 47,132 50,727 +3595
Percentage of Children in Relative Poverty (Leeds) 31% 33% +2%
Number of Children in Relative Poverty (UK) 3.7m 3.8m +100,000
Percentage of Children in Relative Poverty (UK) 30% 30% 0
http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/child-poverty-in-your-area-201415-201819/ 

These tables are based on the DWP/HMRC statistics “Children in low income families: local area statistics” (March 2020) and uses the DWP/HMRC local indicators combined with information about housing costs at the local level to estimate poverty rates after housing costs (AHC).

In Leeds the rate of child poverty for 2018/19 is estimated at 33% after housing costs are deducted, affecting 50,727 children under 16. In the UK, the rate of child poverty is estimated at 30% after housing costs are deducted, affecting 3.8 million children.

This estimate is available after housing costs are deducted and is designed to offer localised estimates on Child Poverty, comparable to the national DWP/HMRC measure above.  The official Child Poverty rate for local areas is published by DWP is only available before housing costs are deducted (See Table 2.4 & 2.5 above).

Free School Meals

The data in this table is a total of all school types – i.e. for state funded primary, secondary, special schools, Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision Academies and Free Schools. The data excludes all infant children who receive universal free school meals regardless of income.

Table 2.7

England Leeds England Change Leeds Change
2019 2018 2019 2018 2018-19 2018-19
Total Number of pupils 8,264,937 8,152,323 125,183 122,742 +112,614 +2,441
Number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals 1,275,473 1,106,495 22,755 15,395 +168,978 +7,360
Percentage known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals 15.4% 13.6% 18.2% 12.5% +1.8% +5.6%
Source: DfE Schools, pupils and their characteristics, Jun 2019

In January 2019, 22,755  (18.2%) of pupils in Leeds were eligible and claiming a free school meal. Nationally 15.4% were eligible and claiming.

According to Leeds City Council’s local data the uptake of free school meals in January 2019 was 79.4%. Please note that this figure represents all of Leeds’ local authority maintained schools but not all Acadameies in Leeds.

Entitlement to free school meals is determined by the receipt of income-related benefits. Since 1 April 2018, transistional protections have been in place which will continue to be in place during the roll out of Universal Credit. This has meant that pupils eligible for free school meals on or after 1 April 2018 retain their free school meals eligibility even if their circumstances change. The DfE state that this has been the main driver in the increase in the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals as pupils continue to become eligible but fewer pupils stop being eligible.

Further information

Child Poverty

Relative and Absolute Child Poverty UK DWP official measure for the UK

The DWP’s Household Below Average Income (HBAI) report contains the official headline measure for all poverty figures for the UK, in particular the number of children in low-income families at a national level.

The HBAI is based on data from the Family Resources Survey in which the sample sizes are insufficient for useful analysis at the local level. In HBAI, median household income is calculated using the entire income distribution. The HBAI low-income threshold is then calculated by taking 60 per cent of this median.

The measure represents dependent children under the age of 20. A dependent child is defined as an individual aged under 16 or an individual aged 16 to 19 years who is:

  • not married nor in a Civil Partnership nor living with a partner; and
  • living with parents; and
  • in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training

HMRC and DWP Combined Measure – Children in low income families measure

In 2020 the DWP & HMRC first released joint statistics ‘Children in low income families’. This local measure uses mid year estimates for population figures (ONS) and provides a picture of children in low income families for both Relative and Absolute measures, but only Before Housing Costs (BHC).

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.
The count of children refers to the age of the child at 31 March of each year.

This measure only publishes the rate and number of children aged under 16 years. The estimate number of children aged 0-19 years is published online (Stat xplore), however rates for all children (aged 0 to 19years) have not been produced as an undetermined proportion of 16 to 19 year olds would not be treated as children for the purposes of these statistics.

End Child Poverty Coalition Local Estimates

New research by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, for the End Child Poverty coalition, estimates child poverty after housing costs, by ward, local authority and parliamentary constituency in the UK, for each of five years from 2014/15 to 2018/19.

These tables are based on the DWP/HMRC statistics “Children in low income families: local area statistics” (March 2020). The tables provided use the DWP/HMRC local indicators combined with information about housing costs at the local level to estimate poverty rates after housing costs (AHC), showing how many children age 0-15 years are in households with incomes net of housing costs that are below 60% of the median.

Free School Meals

Free School Meals – in England in January 2019, children in state-funded schools were entitled to receive free school meals if a parent or carer were in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they were not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and had an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get).