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Third of children worry about finances as cost of living crisis deepens

Almost half of children from families with low incomes worry about their children’s finances, research has revealed.

Sad child

Action for Children found that almost a third of children (30%) worrying about their family having enough money to live comfortably as the cost of living crisis deepens and this figure raises to 47% for children from low income households.

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “It is the fundamental responsibility of any government to make sure every generation of children has a better childhood and a brighter future than the last.

“Day in, day out our frontline staff support children grappling to see how they fit into our complex world –navigating big issues including financial worries, climate change and the pandemic. Sadly, since we conducted our research, intensifying money worries and the war in Ukraine will leave children feeling the world is a gloomier place,” he added.

Action for Children with YouGov polled three UK generations – quantitative surveys of over 5,000 children and adults - to explore the biggest issues affecting childhood post pandemic in a revisit of its landmark study from 2019.

The survey found:

  • Children are now much more worried too about their own mental health – up from 29% in 2019 to 42% today, with a sharp rise in parents and grandparents recognising this as a growing issue.
  • Top issues children identified as preventing them from fulfilling their potential are the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic (48%), too much pressure from school (46%) and poor mental health (41%).
  • Concealing concerns is common for children with nearly six in ten (57%) admitting to hiding worries from their parents.

Increasing numbers of children are concerned about ‘adult issues’ including family finances, and most UK parents and grandparents fear childhood is getting worse – and just over a third of children agree.

The older generations and children were also clearly at odds over social media use. More than half of parents (56%) and grandparents (52%) felt that too much time spent on devices and social media would make it more difficult for children to fulfil their potential – but only a third of children (33%) agree.

However, children do feel more optimistic about their own prospects, with well over a third (38%) believing they will have a brighter future than their parents. Pessimism grows through the generations however, with parents (44%) and grandparents (46%) more than twice as likely than children (21%) to say their child or grandchild won’t have a brighter future.

Imran Hussain added: “The likely fall-out of the Ukraine conflict with even higher energy bills and inflation rates not seen for a generation, is a double blow for low-income families, already locked in a crippling cost of living crisis. The pandemic also continues to hang heavy, and its impact will be felt long into children’s futures.

“The government needs a clear plan to reduce child poverty and it can take immediate action to support those on the lowest incomes by making sure benefits keep pace with the soaring cost of living in the tough months ahead,” he concluded.

Brighter future ahead?

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