CHILD POVERTY: WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE CHILDREN ARE THE POOREST IN SCOTLAND

Aerial picture of Dumbarton by Sean Davenport of Myre Media

28 September 2021

Artwork by Jane Heaney

By Bill Heaney

New statistical research figures released today reveal that children in SNP-controlled West Dunbartonshire are more likely to live in families with limited resources.

These families are defined as being on a low income if the household income is below 70% of the Scottish median (middle) income after housing costs.

A shameful 30 per cent of our children are living in in households at this level of poverty, only matched by Dundee, according to experimental figures put together by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

Our 30 per cent figure compares with Dundee City (30%), Glasgow City (25%), Midlothian and North Lanarkshire (24%).

Well-heeled Edinburgh has only ten percent of children likely to live in families with limited resources and the estimated percentage figures for other places are Aberdeen-shire (9%), East Dunbartonshire and Orkney (8%), and East Renfrewshire (7%).

These statistics provide local estimates for the proportion of children in families with limited resources by local authority area and household characteristics. The purpose of the limited resources local measure is to provide local area breakdowns to inform local planning.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of children in the sample were in families with combined low income and material deprivation after housing costs.

Findings are in line with existing evidence on child poverty in Scotland in that children were more likely to have limited resources compared to Scotland as a whole if they lived in single parent households (38%), households with disabled adults (28%), or three or more children (23%).

Children were more likely to have limited resources compared to Scotland as a whole if they lived in households with at most one adult in employment (35%), or in rented accommodation (37%).

There was a clear gradient in relation to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, with children in the most deprived areas much more likely to live in families with limited resources than those from the least deprived areas: 34% in the 20% most deprived areas, falling to 4% in the 20% least deprived areas. Children living in remote rural areas were also less likely to have limited resources (12%).

These statistics update the previously published experimental statistics ‘children in families with limited resources across Scotland 2014-2017’ (released in February 2019). The most recent estimates are being released as web tables, which you can see here..

These statistics are published as experimental statistics. This means that the data and methodology are being further developed for future updates.

Data for three years have been combined for this release to achieve a robust sample size for local breakdowns.

Due to changes in the way questions have been asked for 2018 and 2019 and the need to combine data over several years, the figures may not allow direct comparisons to assess changes over time. Further analysis will be conducted to assess comparability over time.

The estimates of children in families with limited resources are based on data from the Scottish Household Survey and released as experimental statistics (data under development).

These latest estimates are from the period before the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, these statistics do not reveal anything about the impact of the pandemic on family resource levels, but other data sources suggest that levels of poverty are likely to have risen during the pandemic.

The limited resources measure looks at children in families that have both low income and cannot afford three or more out of a list of 22 basic necessities.

The list of necessities was developed for a Scottish context: this is based on what stakeholders and the public consider a basic necessity and what satisfies statistical requirements for a robust measure of limited resources. Families are defined as being on a low income if the household income is below 70% of the Scottish median (middle) income after housing costs.

The limited resources local measure is not strictly comparable to the official national-level statistics on ‘children in combined low income and material deprivation’, which were published in March 2021.

The official statistics provide the national headline figure which informs one of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 targets.

The national headline figure is based on data from the Family Resources Survey which does not allow local breakdowns due to sample size.

The underlying methodology for these two measures is also different in that the local limited resources measure uses a different way of assessing the necessities a household cannot afford, and therefore identifies a somewhat broader group which can be considered to have limited access to resources.

The way we were in the 1950s:

West Dunbartonshire is no stranger to poverty as these pictures of local children in Dumbarton, some of them in bare feet illustrate. For some families not much has changed.

Leave a Reply