Created 2 years ago, updated 19 days ago

About the dataset

This dataset uses information from the DWP benefit system to provide estimates of children living in poverty for wards in London. In order to be counted in this dataset, a family must have claimed Child Benefit and at least one other household benefit (Universal Credit, tax credits or Housing Benefit) during the year. The numbers are calibrated to the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) dataset used to provide the government's headline poverty statistics. The definition of relative low income is living in a household with equivalised* income Before Housing Costs (BHC) below 60% of contemporary national median income. The income measure includes contributions from earnings, state support and pensions.

Further detail on the estimates of dependent children living in relative low income, including alternative geographical breakdowns and additional variables, such as family type and work status are available from DWP's statistical tabulation tool Stat-Xplore. Minor adjustments to the data have been applied to guard against the identification of an individual claimants.

This dataset replaced the children in out-of-work benefit households and children in low income families local measure releases from DWP and HMRC.

This dataset includes estimates for all wards in London of numbers of dependent children living in relative low income families for each financial year from 2014/5 to the latest available (2021/22). The figures for the latest year are provisional and are subject to minor revision when the next dataset is released by DWP.


Number of children

The number of dependent children living in relative low income across London, rose from below 310,000 in the financial year ending 2015 to over 420,000 in the financial year ending 2020, but has decreased sharply to a little over 350,000, which is well below the number for 2017/18. While many wards in London have followed a similar pattern, the numbers of children in low income families in some wards have fallen more sharply, while the numbers in other wards have continued to grow.

Proportion of children in each London ward

Ward population sizes vary across London, the age profile of that population also varies and both the size and make-up of the population can change over time, so in order to make more meaningful comparisons between wards or over time, DWP have also published rates, though see note below regarding caution when using these figures.

A dependent child is anyone aged under 16; or aged 16 to 19 in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training. Ward level estimates for the total number of dependent children are not available, but ward level estimates for the percentage of children under 16 living in low income families have been published by DWP. The denominators used to provide the rates given in this dataset are calculated using the ONS mid year estimates for the reference year, which were known to over estimate the number of children in London arising from the methods used to allocate international migrants. This particularly affects certain, mostly Inner London, wards. Percentages for 2021/22 are calculated using the 2020 mid year estimates, as they were the latest available at the time of publication. These estimates for 2020 do not take into account more recent changes in the population. Rates therefore need to be treated with some caution.


*equivalised income is adjusted for household size and composition in order to compare living standards between households of different types.