Scottish cities

Child poverty in Scottish Cities
Child pov AHC Scot Cities 2014 21Click to expand

This chart compares poverty child poverty rates, after accounting for the cost of housing, among the four largest cities in Scotland between the years 2014-15 and 2020-21. Throughout this time period, Glasgow city has had the highest level of child poverty among these four cities, rising from 27.1% in 2014-15 to 32.2% in 2019-20. It has fallen in the most recent year, 2020-21, to 29.4%. Rates were lower in Dundee and Aberdeen and lowest in Edinburgh, but followed a similar overall pattern. For Aberdeen and Edinburgh, the highest rates among these years were in 2017-18, but rates did rise again in 2019-20, and in all four cities the 2020-21 rate was lower than the previous year.

Although the figures presented here are from during the Covid-19 pandemic, they pre-date the current cost of living crisis. The amount paid to households receiving Universal Credit was raised by £20 per week between April 2020 and October 2021, and so the latest year shown in the chart covers the period of this temporary uplift. End Child Poverty note that experts believe this may be part of the reason why some areas of the UK saw a fall in child poverty.


The Scottish Government has set targets for reducing child poverty in Scotland. These targets are to reduce child poverty to under 10% by 2030, with an interim target to reduce child poverty to under 18% by 2023-24. If Glasgow were to meet this interim target on its own, its child poverty rate would need to drop by a further 11.4% in the next two years. The Scottish Government report each year on the progress made towards tackling child poverty. Bright Start, Bright Futures, the latest plan for tackling child poverty between 2022 and 2026, was published in March 2022. 

A JRF report, published in October 2021, has more detail on the interim and overall targets and the work needed to meet them. CPAG have responded to the figures shown here, calling for continued and additional investment from both Scottish and UK Governments. 

The data for this graph come from End Child Poverty. Households are defined as living in poverty if their income is less than 60% of the UK median income. The methods of estimation have recently been updated, further detail can be found on the website.

These figures refer to children aged 0-16 and to families living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account.