Child poverty will increase sharply unless there is some economic recovery in 2020

New research by the ESRI highlights trends in child poverty during the Great Recession of 2008 and simulates the effect of recent COVID-19-related job losses alongside emergency income support measures on child income poverty in 2020.

Over the course of the 2008 Great Recession, households with children experienced the largest rise in basic deprivation- an inability to afford basic goods and services. Basic deprivation levels of children rose substantially, from 16 per cent in 2008 to 32 per cent by 2013. Children in one-adult households or in households where the head of the household was unemployed experienced the highest rates of deprivation, exceeding 60 per cent at the peak of the Great Recession.

Accounting for the unprecedented employment losses stemming from COVID-19 and the pandemic employment supports, the authors estimate how child income poverty will evolve in 2020. Without an economic recovery in the latter half of the year, child income poverty rates are estimated to rise from 16.6 per cent at the beginning of the year to 21.1 per cent by the end of 2020- a one-quarter increase in the rate of child income poverty. An economic recovery, whereby between 61 and 82 per cent of workers who were displaced by the pandemic return to work by the end of September, would see estimated child income poverty rates rise to 18 per cent.  

Mr. Mark Regan of the ESRI commented “Emergency income support measures, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, have supported families during the pandemic. However, even with these measures in place for the remainder of 2020, we can expect to see child poverty levels rising by an average of one-quarter in the absence of some economic recovery”.

A webinar, which discussed the findings of the report, took place on Tuesday 7 July 2020. You can view the video below.