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Poor kids: trends in child poverty in Britain, 1968-96

  • Paul Gregg
  • Susan Harkness
  • Stephen Machin

According to Family Expenditure Survey (FES) data, child poverty (with a poverty line defined at half mean equivalised household income) has risen markedly in Britain in the last 30 years. By 1995-96, around one in three - or 4.3 million - children were living in poor households. This compares with child poverty rates of one in ten, corresponding to 1.4 million children, in 1968. The employment position of the household is seen to be important, with over half of poor children in 1995-96 living in households with no adults in work. If an absolute, rather than a relative, poverty line is utilised, child poverty remains stagnant since the late 1970s, following a period of rapid decline from 1968, despite considerable rises in average living standards. This reveals that the income position of households with children has been falling relative to that of childless households over time. Finally, looking at expenditure patterns and comparing their trends with income-based poverty measures tends to reinforce these findings.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 20 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 163-187

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:20:y:1999:i:2:p:163-187
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  1. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
  2. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  3. Machin, Stephen, 1996. "Wage Inequality in the UK," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 47-64, Spring.
  4. John Micklewright & Kitty Stewart, . "Is Child Welfare Converging in the European Union?," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 42, McMaster University.
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