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 three or more children

Key demographics

Just under one in five (18%) of all families in relative poverty have three or more children. More likely to live in a family that is in more than one priority group. Of children in this group who are in relative poverty:

  • Around two in five (41%) also have a disabled person in the household
  • Almost one in three (29%) are also in a lone parent household

Income from employment

Parents in larger families likely to be out of the labour market for longer periods, which can limit their future employment opportunities.

The challenges of organising and paying for childcare increase with more children, potentially making it less financially viable to work or limiting hours worked.

At least one adult is already in paid work in the majority of families in this group.

Costs of living

The dramatic increase in living costs has clear impacts on larger households who already spend a greater proportion of their income on essentials.

Early evidence that larger families are already struggling to maintain living standards. For example, families with three or more children are more likely to experience food insecurity  than smaller families. They are also more likely to have used a food bank.

Income from social security

Since 2013, changes to the UK benefits system have reduced the real value of social security benefits paid to low-income larger families and restricted their access to the benefits system.

Benefit cap puts a limit on the amount that a  family can claim on social security. This disproportionately affects households with more children that are likelier to be bound by the cap.

There is a two-child cap on the family support element of Universal Credit, but this cap does not apply to the Scottish Child Payment.

What works

Developing policies and interventions with an awareness of barriers larger families face.

Addressing barriers around disproportionate impacts on benefit cuts and freezes.

Supporting parents intro training and employment after longer breaks.


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