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National Indicator: Children's Deprivation

l Reduce children's deprivation

Indicator Measure
Percentage of children in combined material deprivation (based on a suite of questions in the Family Resources Survey) and low income (below 70% of UK median income)

Current Status

The percentage of children who were in combined material deprivation and low income remained steady at 10% in 2015/16.

Children's deprivation graph

Source: Family Resources Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 16 June 2017
Next Update: June 2018

Reduce children’s deprivation

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Growing up in poverty can have a profound and lasting impact on children's outcomes - income poverty and material deprivation are strongly associated with poorer outcomes for children. Evidence tells us not only of the cost to individuals, but also of the great cost to society caused by child poverty, and of the economic case for shifting resources into early intervention and prevention.

Apart from the economic imperative, poverty places a blight on individuals' lives, on the communities in which they live and on society in general. Scotland is a compassionate nation with a strong sense of social justice and a belief in addressing the needs of the vulnerable. The Government believes it is morally unacceptable that 15% of Scotland's children live in combined poverty and material deprivation.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Poverty is a consequence of a complex and interrelated range of international, national, local community and individual factors. It is influenced by issues such as: the global economy; the UK tax and benefits system; national and local employment rates and wages; education and skills; family upbringing; health and disability; deprived physical environments; access to services; and transport.

What is the Government's role?

There are many drivers of poverty beyond the Scottish Government's control - including macro-economic conditions and a number of levers reserved to the UK Government, such as tax/benefits arrangements. However, the Scottish Government has a significant role to play in tackling the root causes of poverty, and mitigating the impacts of poverty, through its policies in devolved areas such as education, health, skills, aspects of employability, housing, the criminal justice system and transport. The Government's role in setting and agreeing the key outcomes to be achieved in these areas; in targeting investment and passing legislation in pursuit of these outcomes; and in supporting local delivery bodies in meeting these outcomes, is key to delivering effective interventions which can tackle poverty and help make progress with this indicator.

How is Scotland performing?

The percentage of children who were in combined material deprivation and low income decreased from 13.2% in 2013/14 to 10.4% in 2014/15.

In the latest year, relative poverty (before housing costs are paid) increased, but material deprivation decreased.

Relative poverty is a measure of whether low income households are keeping pace with middle income households.  In 2014/15, middle income households saw above inflation increases in income.  Low income households also saw increases in income but not to the same extent.  So, while income has increased and hence material deprivation has fallen, households remain in poverty as low income households fell further behind those in the middle. 

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 2.0 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 2.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 2.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Local Authorities

Related Strategic Objectives


Safer and Stronger


Wealthier and Fairer


View National Indicator Data

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Title:Reduce children’s deprivation
Description:Reduce children’s deprivation
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