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25 April 2022

Over one million babies and young children living in poverty according to new report

A new report from baby bank charity Little Village shows that around half of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK live in a family with a child under the age of five. The report’s authors said today that this demonstrates how the presence of younger children in the household exacerbates the prevalence of poverty due to the increased financial pressures families with young children face.

The research forms part of a new report, It Takes a Village, which explores the rates, persistence and depth of poverty in families with babies and pre-school children in the UK. Analysis of the report was conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

It follows a similar report, produced a year ago by the two charities. This year’s report also features the results of a national survey of 1400 families with children under five facing financial hardship.

The report shows that:

  • Half of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK live in a family with a child under the age of five.
  • 1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of five.
  • 47% of racial minority families with a child under 5 are in poverty.
  • 55% of children in single parent families with a child under 5 are in poverty.
  • 40% of children in families with a child under 5 and a disabled parent are in poverty.

Results of the national survey of 1400 parents shows that:

  • 52% of parents said that housing conditions had a negative impact on their health.
  • 67% said that the cost of childcare stops them from being able to work or doing the job that they want to do.
  • 42% said that the lack of available free, local activities and support for children has had a negative impact on their child’s development or health

You can read the full report here or the executive summary here.

Eleanor, 24, is a single mother to a 17-month-old, she said:

“I had to move across the country and sleep on a sofa at my friend’s mum’s house when I was pregnant because I was fleeing domestic violence. I’m now on Universal Credit. Because I’m 24, I’m paid a lower rate of Universal Credit than I would have been if I was 25. Making difficult choices on a typical day is normal to me now, I’m constantly juggling costs in my head.”

Sophie Livingstone, CEO of Little Village, said:

“This new report highlights the appalling scale and depth of poverty faced by over a million babies and young children across the country. The figures are shocking but behind the numbers there are young children with no space to crawl and play; families unable to feed their children three regular meals each day; babies sleeping on the floor because their families are unable to afford a cot.

“It is utterly shocking that so many young children are living in poverty in the UK, one of the richest nations on earth. A combination of factors including rising living costs, soaring energy bills, extortionate childcare costs and benefits cuts look set to create the worst year on record for families trapped in poverty.

“Little Village, and baby banks like ours across the country, will continue to support families when they need it most. But fundamental political and societal changes are needed if we are to see this situation improving. Top of our list is affordable childcare for all, the crippling cost of early years childcare continues to trap parents in poverty right at the time when they most need support.”

According to the Resolution Foundation, the total number of children in poverty is predicted to rise by 2024/25, with over one in three (33.7 per cent) of children expected to be living in poverty by that time.

What needs to change?

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Investments are made to ensure affordable, quality childcare for all children, particulary children from low-income households
  • Re-investment is made in local authority early years support services
  • Universal Credit is made to work for families and the two-child benefits limit to be removed to lift more young children out of poverty


Notes to editors

Press contact: Emma Gibbs 07593 135790 /

Little Village has never been busier and helped over 6000 under the age of five so far last year. It expects 2022 to be its busiest year yet, with thousands of families feeling the financial impact of COVID-19, rising fuel costs and a cut to the temporary uplift to the Universal Credit benefit.

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