UK cities

Child poverty in UK Cities

Child pov AHC Uk Cities 2014 21

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This chart compares child poverty rates, after housing costs have been accounted for, for 10 cities across the UK. It includes six cities from England, one each from Northern Ireland and Wales, and two from Scotland.

The highest child poverty rates in 2020-21 among these cities were in Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, all of which had around 42% of their children living in poverty at that time. Newcastle saw a particularly steep rise in child poverty from 28.4% in 2014-15 to 42% in 2020-21, a rise of over 13% in 6 years.

Other cities also showed an increase over this time period, but less steeply than in Newcastle. Glasgow, with a child poverty rate of 29.4% in 2020-21 has one of the lowest rates of the cities shown, lower than all of the English and Welsh cities, but still over 3 percentage points higher than that of Belfast (25.7%) and over 11% higher than that of Edinburgh.

The pattern of rates lowering in 2020-21 seen in the Scottish cities and GCR charts is not evident in the English and Welsh cities, five of which saw either a rise or a stalling in rates between 2019-20 and 2020-21. In Liverpool and in Belfast, where rates did fall slightly in the latest recorded year, they were already dropping previously.

We have chosen to show here a different set of cities than some other charts on the site, or than we have shown in previous years, in order to include a city from each country of the UK.

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.

End Child Poverty outlined how the North East of England (including Newcastle) had seen the most dramatic rises in child poverty rates over the years that they have collected data. It has been suggested that many in this area, and also in Wales, may have missed out on the benefits increases offered during Covid, because these increases were only available to people on Universal Credit, and higher numbers in the North East and in Wales remained on the previous benefits system (‘legacy benefits’). However, this would not account for the continued rise in poverty in the preceding years shown in this chart.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, median household income decreased, and so did the overall proportion of people living in relative poverty.


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.