Children from low-income families Scotland 2017-2019


Sep 28, 2021 9:56 AM

Experimental statistics on ‘Children in low-income families in Scotland 2017-2019’ were released today by the Chief Statistician of Scotland. This statistical publication provides local estimates for the proportion of children in families with limited resources by local authority area and household characteristics. The purpose of the resource-limited local measure is to provide local area breakdowns to inform local planning.

Almost a fifth (17%) of the children in the sample came from families with low income and material deprivation after housing costs.

The results are consistent with existing data on child poverty in Scotland in that children were more likely to have limited resources compared to Scotland as a whole if they lived in lone parent households (38%) , households with disabled adults (28%) or three or more children (23%).

Children were more likely to have limited resources compared to Scotland as a whole if they lived in households with at most one employed adult (35%) or in rented accommodation (37%).

There was a clear gradient compared to the Scottish Multiple Deprivation Index, with children from the poorest neighborhoods much more likely to live in families with limited resources than those in the least disadvantaged neighborhoods: 34% in the 20 % of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, falling to 4% in the 20% of the least disadvantaged neighborhoods. Children living in remote rural areas were also less likely to have limited resources (12%).

Children were more likely to live in families with limited resources in West Dunbartonshire and Dundee City (30%), Glasgow City (25%), Midlothian and North Lanarkshire (24%) compared to Scotland as a whole . Children were less likely to live in families with limited resources in the city of Edinburgh (10%), Aberdeenshire (9%), East Dunbartonshire and Orkney (8%) and East Renfrewshire (7 %).


These statistics update previously published experimental statistics ‘Children in low-income families in Scotland 2014-2017’ (published February 2019). The most recent estimates are published as web tables.

These statistics are published as experimental statistics. This means that the data and methodology are under development for future updates.

The three-year data were combined for this release to obtain a robust sample size for the local breakdowns. Please note that due to changes in the way the questions were asked for 2018 and 2019 and the need to combine data over several years, the figures in the new version may not allow direct comparisons to assess the changes. over time. Further analysis will be carried out to assess comparability over time.

Estimates of children in low-income families are based on data from the Scottish Household Survey and published as experimental statistics (data under development). The latest estimates date from the period leading up to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, these statistics do not yet tell us anything about the impact of the pandemic on family resource levels, but other data sources suggest that poverty levels likely increased during the pandemic.

The limited resources measure examines children from low-income families who cannot afford three or more on a list of 22 essentials. The list of necessities has been developed for a Scottish context: it is based on what stakeholders and the public consider to be a basic need and what meets the statistical requirements for a robust measure of scarce resources. Families are defined as low income if the household income is less than 70% of the Scottish median (average) income after housing costs.

The local measure of scarce resources is not strictly comparable to official national statistics on “children in low income and combined material deprivation”, which were released in March 2021. Official statistics provide the national aggregate figure that informs one of the (Scotland) 2017 Targets of the Act. The overall national figure is based on data from the Family Resources Survey which does not allow local breakdowns due to the size of the sample. The methodology underlying these two measures is also different in that the measure of limited local resources uses a different way of assessing needs that a household cannot afford, and therefore identifies a somewhat larger group that can be considered to have limited access to resources.

Further information on income and poverty statistics in Scotland is available.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on official statistics standards in Scotland is available.

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