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Working households no guarantee for lifting families out of poverty

Having an adult in the household in paid work is not sufficient to raise some families out of child poverty in Scotland, official statistics have shown.

While the risk of poverty is much lower for children where someone in the household is in paid work compared to those in workless households, not all work pays enough to lift the household above the poverty line. Over two thirds of children in poverty live in a household with someone in paid work.

The National and Official statistics, covering the period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that child poverty has been rising gradually since 2010.

The figures also show that pensioners are less likely to be in poverty compared to working-age adults and children. After housing costs, 14% of pensioners are in relative poverty, compared to 19% of working-age adults and 24% of children.

The data shows that:

- Adults under 25 are more likely to be in poverty than older adults.

- Non-white ethnic minorities are more likely to be in poverty compared to white ethnic groups.

- Muslim adults are more likely to be in poverty compared to adults of Christian and other faiths and those with no religion. Some, but not all, of the higher poverty risk for ethnic minorities and Muslims can be explained by their lower average age.

- Single adults, especially single parents, and those who are divorced or separated are more likely to be in poverty compared to married, cohabiting and widowed adults.

- People living in households with disabled household members are also more likely to be in poverty than those with no disabled household members.

New food security analysis suggests that while 84% of people live in households with high food security, this falls to only 60% for people in poverty. A household has high food security if people never need to worry about running out of food before they can afford to buy more, and never struggle to afford balanced meals.

The analysis also reveals that a typical two-adult household has £27,800 per year after tax and including benefits. Income inequality has fluctuated since this data collection began in the mid-nineties and continues to do so.

Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2017-20



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