More than a million children were in workless households last year

Of these, 993,000 were living in long-term workless households, Office for National Statistics figures suggest.

More than a million children were in workless households last year

More than a million children were living in workless households in 2019, figures suggest.

There were more than 1.2 million children living in households where the over-16s they lived with were unemployed or economically active, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

They accounted for 9.8% of the 12.6 million children living in households with at least one person aged 16-64.

Out of the 1.2 million, 993,000 (79.8%) were living in long-term workless households, where the over-16s in the household had been workless for more than a year or had never worked.

They accounted for 7.8% of the 12.6 million total.

The figures also do not account for children living with grandparents aged 65 and over.

The numbers for children in workless and long-term workless households have both been falling since 2010, the figures showed.

At that time, children in long-term workless households made up 14% of the total, while those in workless households accounted for 16.6%.

The ONS also found that the South East had the lowest percentage of children in long-term workless households, while the North East had the highest.

The proportion of children in long-term workless households in the North East was 13.7% – more than three times the 4% figure in the South East.

Children in workless households in the North East accounted for 17.7% of the total, compared with 5% in the South East.

In total there were 723,000 white children in long-term workless households, making up 7.4% of the total number of white children living in a household with an adult aged 16-64.

While there were fewer black or black British children in long-term workless households – 84,000 – they accounted for 14% of the total living with at least one adult aged 16-64.

There were 102,000 black or black British children in workless households – 16.9% of the total living with at least one adult aged 16-64.

This compares with 914,000 white children in workless households, accounting for 9.4% of the total.

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “Although the number of children in workless families overall has started to fall in recent years, it’s rising in many areas of the country the government  committed to level up.

“With one of the bleakest winters of their lives looming, we see families every day who are struggling to keep their kids clothed and well-fed. Workless families will need even more help to move into work as we face the tough months ahead.

“But we must also help children in working families who are also desperately struggling –  where nearly three quarters of poor children live.

“To prevent a generation of children from being scarred by poverty and the pandemic, the government must act to put a protective shield around children whether their families are working or not.”

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