Tackling child poverty: second year progress report - annex C

Annex C: child poverty among lone parent families.

Key findings

Income from employment

Scottish lone parents are much more likely to not be in paid employment, compared to all households with children and those that are in work tend to work fewer hours a week and have a much lower rate of hourly pay on average. The comparatively high underemployment rate indicates that many lone parents would rather be working more hours than they currently do. Qualitative data suggests that they often struggle to balance work and childcare requirements, due to a lack of access to flexible working.

Lone parents are also more likely to have low or no qualifications, and those that do hold degrees are more likely to work in low or medium skilled occupations.

Cost of living

Lone parents spend, on average, far more of their net household income on housing costs when compared to the national average for all households with children in Scotland. This is coupled with required fuel costs that are slightly higher than the national average.

UK-level data show that single adult households with children spend a higher percentage of their household income on food and non-alcoholic drinks than other households with children.

Lone parents are also more likely to be in unmanageable debt and financially vulnerable and are, on average, the least wealthy household type in Scotland.

Income from social security and benefits in kind

Qualitative data suggests that lone parents face anxiety and uncertainty when looking to claim benefits, and analysis by the Scottish Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission indicates that lone parents are disproportionately impacted by cuts, freezes, and benefits caps and limits.


Email: sjsu@gov.scot

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