Tackling child poverty delivery plan - progress report 2022-23: annex c - priority family types - approach to reporting evidence

This annex sets out the position of priority families in regards to available evidence, ad data on the caused of poverty and effective measures to tackle it.

Approach to reporting evidence by priority family types

This section of the reports summarises and assess the current approach to reporting evidence on priority family types. In the first section it explores the concept of priority family types, who they are and how to use the concept. Then, the next chapter summarises available data at priority family type level.

Priority families - who are they and how to use the concept

This section of the report re-explores the concept of the priority family types looking back at why they were developed and how they were intended to be used. This section also summarises the current approach to reporting and available evidence on priority family types.

Who are the priority families?

Using data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) and the longitudinal household study Understanding Society, six household characteristics have been identified with a higher risk of child poverty. These groups have been identified using available data, and taken together cover the majority of households in poverty:

  • Families with a child under one
  • Families with 3 or more, children
  • Lone parent families (mainly head by women)
  • Young parents (using data for households where the mother is under 25)
  • Minority ethnic families
  • Families with a disabled member

Every household circumstance is different. There will be some children experiencing poverty even though none of the above apply to their situation. There will also be children living in families where many of these factors apply, yet they do not live in poverty.

How to use the concept of priority families

The purpose in identifying these priority household groups is to better understand the particular factors that contribute to people's experience of poverty, or that prevent their situation from improving.

The evidence can help make sure that policies and initiatives that aim to tackle child poverty are designed to be responsive to people's circumstances and are as impactful as possible. For example, the concept of priority families is helpful for ensuring that a policy considers the additional challenges or barriers that a family with three or more children will face.

Analysis of the six priority groups is meant to provide a focus when designinginterventions, however, the groups were not intended to be used as a means of targeting for policies. It is less about defining an eligibility criteria for a policy that reaches that specific family type; the aim is about tackling child poverty in general.

While the six household groups identified are at greater risk of child poverty, this does not mean that all, or even most, of the people belonging to one of the groups will be in poverty. Therefore targeting a particular group risks pigeon-holing everyone within that group and may also mean that people falling outwith the priority groups, but who are in poverty, do not get the support they need.

In most cases, the factors driving child poverty are similar for all of the priority groups and policies designed to alleviate poverty will not exclusively benefit a discrete group. For instance, our research indicates that minority ethnic families are more likely to be in unmanageable debt than other families, therefore an intervention to reduce personal debt may disproportionately benefit minority ethnic families, but would not be to their exclusivebenefit, as debt is a more general issue that affects people on low incomes and makes it hard for people to escape poverty.


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