Child Poverty in Wolverhampton


The Child Poverty Needs Assessment identifies a number of key facts about child poverty in Wolverhampton. There are 17,360 (30.8%) children and young people living in poverty in the city. Other estimates based on working tax credit and child benefit data puts the figure nearer 55%. Wolverhampton has the second equal highest level of child poverty in the West Midlands, behind Birmingham, and was the only place in the region where child poverty increased between 2007 and 2008. Every ward and neighbourhood in the city has an area within it that contains significant numbers of children living in poverty. 17 Local Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the city have more than 50% of their children living in poverty. A young person receiving free school meals (a key indicator of poverty) in Wolverhampton is half as likely to gain 5 GCSEs, including maths and English, than another young person ineligible for free school meals There is a high correlation between child poverty and poor health, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, criminality and obesity in later lif

National studies into child poverty have shown that lone parents, large families and families with a disability, black minority ethnic families and workless households are most likely to live in poverty. The situation in Wolverhampton is broadly similar although BME communities appear to be better off than their counterparts. Workless households are most likely to live in poverty although the proportion of working households in poverty is increasing.

Child Poverty – The Child Poverty Needs Assessment demonstrated the extent and nature of child poverty in Wolverhampton:

There are 15,570 (33.4%) children and young people living in poverty in the city. (DWP Family Incomes Data 2010)
Wolverhampton has the second equal highest level of child poverty in the West Midlands, behind Birmingham, and was the only place in the region where child poverty increased between 2007 and 2008.
Based on analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, child poverty in Wolverhampton costs the city’s public services over £31 million a year and the national treasury over £90 million per year in benefits and taxes.
Every ward and neighbourhood in the city has an area within it that contains significant numbers of children living in poverty.
17 Local Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the city have more than 50% of their children living in poverty. It should be noted that the two LSOAs with the highest level of poverty in the city also have the highest number of children living in them. These are both within the Low Hill area.
A young person living in poverty in Wolverhampton is half as likely to gain 5 GCSEs including Maths and English, than a child ineligible for free school meals although this gap is narrower than elsewhere in the region.
There is a high correlation between child poverty and poor health, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, criminality, obesity in later life.

Nearly a quarter of Wolverhampton’s residents are educated to degree level or higher while 1 in five has no qualifications. Nearly one quarter of the working age population has no qualification. A high proportion of residents with low skills results in employers needing to look beyond the city to draw in high skilled labour. Furthermore, those with no qualifications reduce their prospects and the productivity of their employers and they themselves are limited by the oppotunities that therefore exist for them.

Residents and their Qualifications

Adults with low skill levels enter the labour market with many disadvantages which affects their employability. The lower an adult’s qualifications, the more likely they are to be out of work or in low-paid work. Skills and education are key, both in terms of getting work and, if in work, getting a reasonable rate of pay. Low skills affect a person’s life chances. Low skilled work is often less secure, and in many instances the opportunity for progression may not exist. The economic downturn will have an impact on adults and access to jobs. The introduction of university fees may result in reduced access to higher education for some. However, once the economic downturn has passed, those with for example A-levels or degrees are likely to once again improve their job opportunities and wage potential.