Tackling child poverty priority families overview

An overview of evidence on the six priority family types identified as being at higher risk of child poverty. Slide deck can be found in the supporting documents.

Families with mothers aged 25 or under

Key demographics

Likely to be a relatively small group.

More likely to be in other priority groups: over half (53%) are in a lone parent household, live with someone who is disabled (37%), or have a baby under 1 in the household (42%).

Younger mothers are more likely than other mothers to experience domestic abuse.

Income from employment

Less likely to be in paid work.

Women and young people are at higher risk of in-work poverty and have a lower average hourly rate of pay (National Living Wage not enforced until employee is at least 23).

Strongly affected by social isolation and the absence of childcare to allow them to work or study during the pandemic.

Difficulties in embracing further education whilst managing motherhood. 17% mothers under 20 have a qualification at Higher Grade or above compared with 50% early twenties and 80% 25 or older.

Costs of living

No additional costs directly associated with age, but young mothers are less likely to access various advice and support services which means they may miss out on cost saving opportunities.

Adults under 25 are less likely to have savings, which, combined with low paid jobs, make it harder to meet living costs.

Pregnant young women and young mothers (under 21) make up about 1 in 25 of all applications for homeless assessments in Scotland.

Income from social security

Generosity of some social security benefits for under 25s is lower than for older age groups (e.g. Universal Credit and Local Housing Allowance)

Mothers under 20 are considerably more reliant on state benefits and tax credits than are older mothers, making them disproportionally impacted by cuts or changes to eligibility criteria in benefits or support services.

What works

Supporting further education or improved job prospects on the basis of high quality, flexible and affordable childcare.

A safe home that provides a stable environment for mothers and their children.

Enhanced support through social security.


Email: social-justice-analysis@gov.scot
Twitter: @EqualityPoverty
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