Over 180,000 childhoods clouded by poverty – Budget 2024 needs to be about ending child poverty
As latest CSO data shows children under 18 experiencing highest rates of consistent poverty and deprivation in the country
Commenting on the latest Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for Budget 2024 to be a Budget to End Child Poverty. Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said; “We know that today, thousands of families across the country are weathering the cost-of-living storm and the findings published today by the CSO put the impact of this crisis into perspective. It is deeply concerning to see a rise across the board when it comes to the level of child poverty in Ireland in 2022 and it clearly demonstrates the need for Budget 2024 to go further to support children and families most in need.”
The SILC data shows:
- 27,382 more children living in consistent poverty: The number of children living in consistent poverty rose from 5.2% in 2021 (61,906), to 7.5% in 2022 (89,288).
- 34,525 more children experiencing deprivation in 2022: The number of children experiencing enforced deprivation rose from 17% in 2021 (202,385), to 19.9% in 2022 (236,910)
- 19,048 more children at risk of poverty in 2022: The number of children at risk of poverty rose from 13.6% in 2021 (161,908), to 15.2% in 2022 (180,956)
“One child in poverty is one too many. What we are now seeing is a worrying increase in the number of children being pulled into poverty. It is simply not right that in a society like Ireland, with the fastest growing economy in Europe, we are seeing more and more children being pushed into hardships. Child poverty impacts every aspect of a child’s life. For children living in consistent poverty, this impact can last long into adulthood and right now, one in every five children are living this reality. That is almost 90,000 childhoods clouded by poverty. Families in consistent poverty live on the breadline with the constant worry of how they will keep their house warm and how they will afford to put a dinner on the table,” continued Tanya Ward.
“Our youngest citizens are experiencing the highest rates of consistent poverty and deprivation in the country. And once again we see increases in the number of one-parent families, families with children and those in rented accommodation experiencing enforced deprivation. One parent-families are experiencing the highest rate of deprivation across all households and yet Budget 2023 did not go far enough in delivering adequate targeted measures to support these families. This must be a priority in next year’s budget.”
“Without Covid-19 supports, we would be seeing even higher rates of poverty and deprivation. While these interim measures helped to keep children and families afloat, it is clear that long-term thinking and systemic solutions are urgently needed in order to reduce the level of poverty. In the last six months, we have seen three separate packages from Government designed to support families to keep their heads above water. However, incomes are beings stretched to the limit and families are being forced to make impossible decisions to try keep food on the table and keep the heating on. There is a widening gap between families’ incomes and daily financial pressures to get by and short-term solutions alone, will not be enough to address the fundamental issues contributing to this rising tide of child poverty,” continued Tanya Ward.
The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling for Budget 2024 to be a budget designed to end child poverty.
“The fact that the numbers of children living in poverty have increased shows that establishing a new child poverty and wellbeing unit was the right decision to make. However, it is also clear that, based on these figures, the Government needs to be ambitious in its actions to reduce child poverty. Government must ensure that the Unit has dedicated staff to leverage the cross-departmental knowledge and expertise on the interconnected issues of child poverty, a focus should then be placed on Budget 2024 and how it can deliver a better standard of living for our young people and families most in need,” Tanya Ward concluded.
Notes to Editors:
- Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, is available for interview.
- Full SILC data set is available here
- 27, 382 more children living in consistent poverty: The number of children living in consistent poverty rose from 5.2% in 2021, to 7.5% in 2022 (89, 287 children, and the highest rate of consistent poverty by age cohort)
- 34,525 more children experiencing deprivation in 2022: The number of children experiencing enforced deprivation rose from 17% in 2021, to 19.9% in 2022 (236, 909 children, and the highest rate of consistent poverty by age cohort)
- 19,048 more children at risk of poverty in 2022: The number of children at risk of poverty rose from 13.6% in 2021, to 15.2% in 2022 (180,956 thousand children, and the second highest rate of consistent poverty by age cohort)
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Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 140 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #EndChildPoverty