Numbers of children in consistent poverty almost doubles during recession
Tasc report indicates that women and children bore the brunt of recessionary years
The impact of poverty on children’s well-being is “profound” says the report. Photograph: Getty Images
The proportion of children in consistent poverty almost doubled during the recession while women lost 6 per cent more of their income than men, a report from the independent think tank Tasc shows.
Cherishing All Equally 2016 says women and children bore the brunt of the recessionary years, 2008 to 2013. And deep structural inequalities, perpetuated by public policy, exacerbated the impact of the downturn on these groups.
It says the make-up of the new Dáil after the February general election indicates the electorate do not want unfairness and there “seems to be a common commitment among all those elected . . . to achieve a fairer Ireland”.
Drawing on data from the Central Statistics Office and the Growing up In Ireland research, it says the proportion of children living in consistent poverty in Ireland almost doubled from 6.3 per cent in 2008 to 11.2 per cent in 2014.
“This equates to 138,000 children, or one in eight, living in consistent poverty,” said co-author Rory Hearne. “This can be contrasted to the adult consistent poverty rate of 7.9 per cent in 2014 and 2.1 per cent for those aged 65 and over.”
Particularly hard hit have been those in lone-parent households - typically headed by women, of which in 2014 58.7 per cent experienced deprivation – the most of all household types – and a consistent poverty rate of 22.1 per cent.
The impact of poverty on children’s well-being is “profound” says the report, laying the “foundation at a young age for the huge inequalities that emerge later in education and life”.
Some of harshest cuts during the recession hit women worst – including changes to the One Parent Family payment, cuts to carer’s allowances and cuts to child benefit. Of those families becoming homeless two-thirds were headed by lone parents – usually mothers.
It calls for reorientation of public policy, away from a neo-liberal deregulated economy towards a social model underpinned by strong welfare provisions and assertive public investment in high quality, universal public services.