Child poverty

Note: We have based these facts on the latest available data. Some of the statistics (for example, marriages) are likely to change dramatically in 2020/21 because of the impact of Covid-19.

Number of children living in poverty

Almost one in four (230,000) of Scotland’s children is officially recognised as living in poverty.

65% of children in poverty live in working households.

It is estimated that in 2016-19, 65% of children in relative poverty after housing costs (150,000 children each year) were living in working households. Before housing costs, 64% of children in poverty (130,000 children) were living in working households. There has been a steady and steep increase of in-work poverty since 2007-10, and in 2016-2019 it remained at a high level.

39% of children in lone parent households live in poverty. For working age adults, the poverty rate is highest for single women with children (39%).

Scottish Government (March 2020) Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2016-2019 [Accessed January 2021].

Percentage of children living in poverty

It is estimated that 24% of children (230,000 children each year) were living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2016-19. Before housing costs, it is estimated that 20% of children (200,000 children each year) were in relative poverty.This figure is likely to increase in the coming years, to an estimated 38% by 2030/31.

Scottish Government (March 2020) Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2016-2019 [Accessed January 2021].

Deprivation and teenage pregnancy

There is a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy. In the under-20 age-group, a teenage female living in one of the most deprived areas is five times as likely to experience a pregnancy as someone living in one of the least deprived.

Teenage pregnancy rates are at the lowest level in Scotland since reporting began in 1994, with rates decreasing for the 11th consecutive year. In the five years to 2018, rates fell from 34 per 1,000 women in 2014 to 30 per 1,000 women in 2018.

Overall, rates of teenage pregnancy have decreased across all levels of deprivation. However, young women living in the areas of highest deprivation had five times higher teenage pregnancy rates than those in the least deprived areas (56.8 compared to 12.2 per 1,000 women in 2018).

Public Health Scotland. August 2020. Teenage pregnancies: year of conception, ending 31 December 2018: A National Statistics publication for Scotland. Accessed January 2021].