Child Poverty

Added August 2022: Free School Meal eligibility by ward.

Child Poverty infographicPM22 for GM Poverty Action

Around 145,000 children are living in relative poverty (before housing costs) in Greater Manchester. The child poverty rate in the city region is higher than the England and UK average.

This page details the relative and absolute child poverty rate (before housing costs) in each Greater Manchester local authority and presents a map detailing ward level child poverty figures. As the government doesn’t produce local level working age and pensioner poverty figures, child poverty is often used as a proxy for poverty rates more broadly within an area.

Following the publication of the Monitor in May 2022, the End Child Poverty Coalition published updated local authority level child poverty rates measured after housing costs (i.e. figures that show poverty rates once housing costs have been met). We added these figures to the bottom of this page in July 2022. When measuring poverty in this way, child poverty figures in each of Greater Manchester’s boroughs are even higher.

Child poverty rates by local authority

This chart shows the proportion of children living in relative and absolute poverty in each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs in 2021 (the year for which data is most recently available).

The relative child poverty measure tells us how many children were living in a household with an income below 60% of the median. This is the most commonly used measure of poverty in the UK, and in many other developed countries. The absolute poverty measure tells us how many children were living in households with incomes below 60% in 2010/11.

In 2021, Oldham had both the highest relative and absolute (36.2% and 29.8%). Trafford has both the lowest relative and absolute child poverty rates (11.4% and 9.2%).

The chart also allows you to look at child poverty rates overtime. Whilst there had typically been an upward trend in child poverty in most Greater Manchester boroughs in the years leading up to the pandemic, child poverty fell between 2020 and 2021. This has been largely driven by the £20 per week increase in Universal Credit announced in March 2020.

The figures in this chart compare with a UK wide child relative poverty (before housing costs) rate of 19% and a child absolute poverty rate (before housing costs) of 16%.

Child poverty rates by ward

The map below shows the percentage of children in absolute or relative poverty before housing costs by wards in Greater Manchester. The highest rates of both relative and absolute poverty can be found in close proximity to the centres of some of the city region’s towns (Bolton, Rochdale and Oldham) and in parts of north and south Manchester.

Coldhurst in Oldham is the ward with the highest relative child poverty rate (64%), with Hale Central in Trafford and Deansgate in Manchester sharing the lowest rate (3.5%).

Of Greater Manchester’s 215 wards, over half (109) have a relative child poverty rate of 20% or above.

Estimates of Free School Meal eligibility by ward

This map shows estimates of the percentage of students eligible for Free School Meal (FSM) by ward across eight out of ten Greater Manchester boroughs (comparable data for Bolton and Wigan wasn’t available at the time of publication). FSM eligibility is often used as a proxy for measuring child poverty and gives an insight into the number of families eligible for support in an area.

The darker the area on the map the higher the proportion of children eligible for FSM. Hovering over an area with your cursor allows you to see the FSM eligibility rate for that ward.

These estimates were made by GMPA using ONS population estimates and data provided by local authorities showing the number of pupils eligible for FSM in each ward.

FSB datra by LA PM22 for GM Poverty ActionFree School Meals eligibility rates by local authority

This table shows the proportion of pupils in each Greater Manchester borough eligible for Free School Meals. Free School Meal eligibility is often used to understand the number of school pupils living in low income households in a locality, and can be used to complement the child poverty data presented above.

Manchester has the highest proportion of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (36.9%) and Trafford the lowest (14%). Please note that we were unable to obtain figures from Bolton.

You can find out more about Free School Meal eligibility here.




Two child limitNumber of household UC & CTC PM 22 for GM Poverty Action

Under the two child limit policy, parents are not entitled to any extra support through universal credit or child tax credit to help with raising a third or subsequent child born after 6 April 2017. According to Child Poverty Action Group, this means they lose out on up to £2,935 a year, and puts families’ budgets under enormous strain. You can read more about the two child limit policy and the impact of it here.

This table shows the total number of households affected by the policy in each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs – this amounts to 14,130 across the whole of the city region.

Households containing more than two children have always been at greater risk of poverty, and the two child limit has likely exacerbated this. National low income household data has shown poverty rates among households with more than two children increasing rapidly over recent years.

Child poverty measured after housing costs

The following table is based on analysis of government statistics undertaken by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty Coalition. The analysis estimates child poverty rates for local authorities and parliamentary constituencies in the UK for each year from 2014/15 to 2020/21.

This table shows the after housing cost child poverty estimates for each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs. Child poverty measured after housing costs increased in seven out of ten boroughs in the period from 2014/15 to 2020/21. The largest increases over this period were in Oldham (6.9% increase) and Manchester (6.6% increase).

Percentage of children living in households below 60% median income after housing costs for GM Poverty ActionSource: End Child Poverty Coalition

You can download the parliamentary constituency data for each of Greater Manchester’s 27 constituencies here

Please click here to return to the GM Poverty Monitor 2022 main page and the list of sub pages


i3oz9sPoverty Monitor 2022: Child Poverty