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London has the highest rate of child poverty in England.

700,000 (37% of) children in the capital live in poverty.

Defining Child Poverty

The Childhood Trust defines children as living in poverty when they lack an acceptable level of material resources and experiences relative to their peers. This includes but is not limited to having a nutritious diet, participation in leisure and recreational activities, and living in homes with a minimum standard of basic amenities such as furniture, cooking facilities, hot running water, heating and free from damp and mould. All children should live free from the stress and uncertainty caused by not having enough household income to achieve these things.

Poverty Measures

Relative & Absolute Poverty

  • Relative poverty is defined as the percentage of people living in households with annual incomes below 60% of the median income that year. The threshold for relative poverty fluctuates year to year.
  • Absolute poverty refers to people living in households with annual incomes below 60% of the median income in the 2010/2011 year. The threshold for absolute poverty is fixed.
  • Relative and absolute poverty measures can be considered before housing costs (BHC) and after housing costs (AHC).
  • Poverty rates that include housing costs more accurately capture the amount of funds families in poverty live on.
  • 800,000 children live in poverty (relative) in London after housing costs are take into account (AHC).
Poverty Measures

Minimum Income Standard

  • The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) reflects what members of the public think is needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK.
  • In 2020, the MIS equated to an income of £37,400 per year to support a couple with two children.
  • Of all demographic groups, children are most likely to live in households with an income below the annual income required for a socially acceptable standard of living.
  • 63% of Londoners living in social housing have an annual income below the MIS and 47% of those in privately rented accommodation are living below the MIS.




COVID-19 Update

The Children's Commissioner for England estimates that over 3 million children in England are living in households that have lost between 20% and 47% of their annual income. A significant portion of these households were in poverty prior to the pandemic.

  • 88,000 children have seen a parent lose their job.
  • 1.2 million children are in families where a parent has been furloughed.
  • 2 million children are in families where a parent’s working hours have been reduced.

Research & Reports

Children in Lockdown

An examination of recent studies and testimonies on the effects and consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown on children living in poverty.

Bedrooms of London

An accompanying report to The Childhood Trust’s Bedrooms of London exhibition. The report summarizes the policy and legislative background to the housing issues faced by families shown in the exhibition.