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Child poverty set to rise sharply, study suggests

Over the course of the 2008 financial crisis, households with children experienced the largest rise in basic deprivation.

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The authors of the report estimate how child income poverty will evolve in 2020 (Niall Carson/PA)

The authors of the report estimate how child income poverty will evolve in 2020 (Niall Carson/PA)

The authors of the report estimate how child income poverty will evolve in 2020 (Niall Carson/PA)

Child poverty will increase sharply unless there is some economic recovery this year, research suggests.

If the economy continues to decline, child income poverty rates are estimated to rise from 16.6% to 21.1%, a report found.

New research by the ESRI highlights trends in child poverty during the 2008 recession and simulates the effect of recent Covid-19-related job losses alongside emergency income support measures on child income poverty this year.

Over the course of the 2008 financial crisis, households with children experienced the largest rise in basic deprivation – an inability to afford basic goods and services.

Even with these measures in place for the remainder of 2020, we can expect to see child poverty levels rising by an average of one quarter in the absence of some economic recoveryMark Regan, ESRI

Basic deprivation levels of children rose substantially, from 16% in 2008 to 32% by 2013.

Children in one-adult households or in households where the head of the household was unemployed experienced the highest rates of deprivation, exceeding 60% at the peak of the recession.

Accounting for the unprecedented employment losses stemming from Covid-19 and the pandemic employment supports, the authors of the report estimate how child income poverty will evolve in 2020.

Without an economic recovery in the latter half of the year, child income poverty rates are estimated to rise from 16.6% at the beginning of the year to 21.1% by the end of 2020.

An economic recovery, whereby between 61% and 82% of workers who were displaced by the pandemic return to work by the end of September, would see estimated child income poverty rates rise to 18%.

Mark Regan, of the ESRI, said: “Emergency income support measures, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, have supported families during the pandemic.

“However, even with these measures in place for the remainder of 2020, we can expect to see child poverty levels rising by an average of one quarter in the absence of some economic recovery.”

The full report is expected to be published on Tuesday.

PA