Child poverty

Our ambition is for Nottinghamshire to be a place where children grow up free from deprivation and disadvantage, and birth and social background do not hold people back from achieving their potential.

We work together to reduce levels of child poverty and to mitigate the effects of child poverty on children, young people and families, as well as on future generations.

Through our Life Chances Strategic Partnership, we consider local child poverty levels against our statistical neighbours and the national rate and work on measures in our action plan to help address child poverty in the county.

Why tackling poverty matters

Children who grow up in poverty lack many of the experiences and opportunities that others take for granted and can be exposed to severe hardship and social exclusion. Their childhood suffers as a result and this is unacceptable.

UNICEF states “For a child, poverty can last a lifetime.

In the eyes of a child, poverty is about more than just money. Very often children experience poverty as the lack of shelter, education, nutrition, water or health services. The lack of these basic needs often results in deficits that cannot easily be overcome later in life. Even when not clearly deprived, having poorer opportunities than their peers in any of the above can limit future opportunities.

Source: Child poverty - UNICEF DATA

Many people believe there is very little child poverty in the UK today, but this is not the case. In 2020/21 2.3 million children under 16 are living in poverty in the UK, the majority of within England.  In a classroom of 30 children, 8 of them will be living in poverty.   Lone parent households and children from black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to live in poverty and around 75% of children growing up in poverty live in households where at least one parent is working. 

Poverty damages childhoods - some families cannot, for example, afford to keep their homes warm or pay for basic necessities and activities, such as three meals a day, school uniforms or social outings.

Child poverty and Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic and lock down restrictions have resulted in several negative outcomes for children, young people and their families – especially for those in low income households. A number of research reports and papers have been published since the first national lock down in March 2020 which highlight the impact of Covid-19 on children, young people and families, in particular for those already experiencing poverty.

During Covid, digital poverty became a challenge, as access to learning and many services moved online.  For many families, this meant sharing one phone or not having enough money to top up their credit. An Ofcom report from 2020 estimates between 1-1.8m children do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home.

We have summarised some of the research and reports to create a Literature Review of relevant research [PDF]

We also carried out surveys with local parents, young people and professionals to gather their views and experiences of Covid. These are available to download.

A follow up survey is currently being undertaken as part of our Best Start in Life work and will be shared here in due course. 

Local child poverty data

The most recent data available from the Department for Work and Pensions is from 2020/2021 and is included in the table below. 

The local child poverty measure is defined as the proportion of children living in families in receipt of out of work (means-tested) benefits or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.

In Nottinghamshire (excluding City of Nottingham) in 2019/20 there were 23,216 children living in relative poverty (15% of the child population 0-15 years). In 2020/21 this had reduced to 21,170 (13.6%). Overall, between 2019/20 and 2020/21 there has been a 1.4% reduction in the percentage of Nottinghamshire children living in poverty. This compares well with the national (UK) figure where there has been a reduction of 0.6%, so Nottinghamshire’s improvement is better than the UK figure.

There is considerable variance across the districts, with Ashfield at 17.4%%, followed by Mansfield at 16.5% and Bassetlaw at 16.4% compared to 7.2% in Rushcliffe. 

The 2020/21 child poverty data at district levels is as follows:

Local authority area

No. of children 0-16 living in poverty



Rank in Nottinghamshire




























Newark & Sherwood















United Kingdom






Source: DWP  Children in Low Income Families: local area statistics, United Kingdom, financial years ending (FYE) 2015 to 2021  released 31.3.22.

A full needs assessment to understand the picture of child poverty in Nottinghamshire was published in March 2011 and the child poverty chapter of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment was published in 2016 and updated in autumn 2020:

Child poverty data maps for Nottinghamshire (2021)

Response to the Cost of Living crisis:

As a response to the Cost of Living Crisis local authorities and organisations across Nottinghamshire have put together some useful information to support local residents. More information at : Cost of living support | Nottinghamshire County Council

Child poverty documents:

Child poverty links:

This interactive resource on child poverty, provided by the House of Commons Library, is a useful tool to consider and compare areas.

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