Child poverty in the UK: measures, prevalence and intra-household sharing

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There is cross-party agreement on the urgency of addressing child
poverty in the UK, but less consensus on how to define and measure
it, and understand its causes and effects. The Conservative/Liberal
Coalition government’s policy and rhetoric favoured individual explanations
for poverty, portraying poor parents as making bad spending
decisions, and transmitting their attitudes and behaviours on to
their children. This article draws on the 2012 UK Poverty and Social
Exclusion survey (PSE2012) to examine how far the realities of life for
poor children match these explanations. Analysis covers four strands:
the prevalence of child poverty; the demographics of poor children;
the experiences of poor children; and how parents in poverty allocate
household resources. Little evidence is found to support this ‘culture
of poverty’ theory, and parents who are themselves in poverty are
found to engage in a range of behaviours suggesting they sacrifice
personal necessities to provide for children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number1
Early online date7 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2015.


  • poverty
  • children
  • Measurement

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