Skip to main content Help with accessibility

Child & Family Poverty

Key findings (published November 2018)

  • The published data (up to November 2015) suggests that 13,675 children in Wirral are living in poverty (up to age of 20 years) which is a reduction from 14,940 in 2013, 15,630 in 2012 and 16,665 in 2011 (HMRC, 2018)
  • This equates to 19.9% of all children in Wirral living in poverty, a reduction from 23.3% in 2014 data and 23.8% in 2011 (HMRC, 2018)

  • Just 14 Wirral Wards have a lower percentage of children living in poverty than the Wirral average (19.9%) and 12 Wirral Wards are lower than the England average (16.6%)

  • For England, the 2015 average is 16.6%, a reduction from 19.9% in 2014 and 20.1% in 2011

  • All Wirral Wards (22) have seen a drop in the number and percentage of children living in poverty between 2011 and 2015

  • Yet there are very high concentrations of childhood poverty within Bidston St. James, Birkenhead and Tranmere, Seacombe and Rock Ferry with at least 1 in 3 children living in poverty. These areas correlate strongly with other known deprivation markers

  • Heswall, Clatterbridge, Greasby, Frankby and Irby and Hoylake and Meols are all close to or below 5%, or less than 1 in 20 children living in low income families in 2015

  • This 1 in 20 figure for affluent areas of Wirral compares to around 40%, or 8 in 20 children in Bidston St. James, Birkenhead and Tranmere, Seacombe being in poverty (HMRC, 2018)

  • 2015 data suggests that Bidston St James Ward has 39.9% of the children’s population living in poverty compared to Heswall at 3.6%, or over 10x greater number of children living in poverty

  • Campaign to End Poverty data suggests that applying housing costs to poverty calculations in turn highlights the actual and potential impact of in-work poverty happening to Wirral families

  • The key driver for child and family poverty is lack of sufficient income from parental employment, which restricts the amount of earnings a household has. This is not just about worklessness, but also working insufficient hours and/or low pay (HM Government, 2014)

  • For poor children growing up to be poor adults, the main driver is poor child educational outcomes, primarily through the influence on future employment outcomes and earnings

  • 2015 data sees that the number of Wirral Lower Super Output Areas with more than 50% of children in low income families fall to 3 (Birkenhead East Float, Birkenhead West, Bidston St James East) though this still equates to 1 in 2 living in childhood poverty in some of the most disadvantaged areas (HMRC, 2018)

  • The highest ranked 10 Wirral Lower Super Output Areas for highest levels of children living in poverty have 4 areas within Bidston and St. James ward. (HMRC, 2018)

  • Birkenhead East Float is the number 1 most employment deprived Lower Super Output Area in England in 2015, out of 32,844 Lower Super Output Areas (IMD, 2015)

  • The number of households with 3+ children will drop nationally and locally but Wirral will still have the 3rd highest number in Cheshire & Merseyside

  • Wirral has a higher level of Lone Parent families than North West and England which can be linked to lost income for woman and children, as well as higher rates of worklessness

  • Average attainment for Wirral Children with and without access to Free School Meals (FSM) is high but a gap of 14 points exists between FSM (50) and non-FSM (36) and this could be more pronounced in less affluent areas of the borough

  • Adult qualification levels compare favourably with other parts of Cheshire & Merseyside but still 8% of Wirral working-age adults have no qualification (NOMIS, 2016)

Child and Family Poverty section (November 2018)

Previous content


Further information

A new measure of poverty for the UK: the final report of the Social Metrics Commission (September 2018)
The Social Metrics Commission (SMC) is an independent commission founded in 2016, which has brought together experts to develop a new approach to measuring poverty. Currently there is no agreed UK government measure of poverty and the SMC’s mission is to provide a new consensus around poverty measurement that enables action, informs policy making and so improves the lives of people in poverty, in real ways. The report reveals key findings such as the total number of people living in poverty is 14.2 million with the composition of poverty moving towards a better identification of children (4.5 million).

Improving Life Chances: A New Child and Family Poverty Strategy for Wirral (March 2016)

Wirral partners have developed a collaborative and robust response to the issues faced by those families who find themselves with low incomes. A strategy has been completed that outlines the work that will be undertaken over the coming months and years. To inform the Strategy Development Group a variety of underpinning data was collated and presented in the document below. 

Wirral Children in Low Income Families (December 2015)
A summary of local data and information used to inform the strategy group developments sessions. 

Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2017
This report examines changes in the distribution of household incomes in the UK, and the determinants and consequences of recent trends.

What explains the growth in 'never-worked' households? (Joseph Rowntree Foundation) (September 2015)

The number of homes where no one has ever worked has doubled in little more than a decade. But is this a sign of growing ‘welfare dependency’ or the result of other factors? This report looks at the characteristics of ‘never-worked’ households and considers the possible reasons for the increase. It finds that most never-worked household are lone parent households and younger single people; there is little or no evidence of a problem of ‘intergenerational worklessness’. 


Child Poverty and Smoking (BMC: Public Health Journal (June 2015)
In 2011/12 approximately 2.3 million children, 17% of children in the UK, were estimated to be in relative poverty. This research suggests that 1.1 million children - almost half of all children in poverty - were estimated to be living in poverty with at least one parent who smokes with the report highlighting tobacco control interventions that effectively enable low income smokers to quit can play an important role in reducing the financial burden of child poverty.

Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s State of the nation 2014 report
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s second annual report assesses what the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments are doing on child poverty and social mobility, what progress is being made and what is likely to happen in the future. It also examines the role of employers, councils, colleges, schools, universities, parents and charities and makes a number of recommendations for action. 

Estimating the effect of child poverty on health in Wirral (2011)
Child poverty has been shown to have long lasting negative effects on health throughout the life course of a person. The objective of this work is to quantify the impact of childhood poverty on health in Wirral Primary Care Trust. To reach this objective we reviewed the literature on negative health outcomes associated with child poverty at different stages in life and then use the evidence to quantify the burden of childhood poverty on health in Wirral.

Key information sources for you to consider: