Despite widespread recognition of the importance of multidimensional poverty measurements, the United Kingdom (UK) has continued to rely on headline measures of ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ income-poverty to track progress. Existing targets focus on household income, failing to recognise that poverty is experienced through multiple deprivations and that a child’s experience is distinct from that of an adult’s. Children from poor households face greater risks along multiple dimensions, including school completion rates, future earnings, risky behaviours, physical and mental health, and subjective measures of wellbeing.
This paper critically evaluates current progress made in the development of multidimensional measures of child poverty in the UK. Particular attention is paid to constraints to multidimensional measurements, including selection and weighting of deprivation indicators. The paper identifies the parameters necessary for a more comprehensive multidimensional child poverty target, comparable to the strategies currently employed in Ireland and the European Union. A single, transparent multidimensional measure that will replace, not simply complement, targets currently place will better support improved policy targeting and allow for more sophisticated and innovative solutions to address the structural inequalities that produce persistent poverty.
How to Cite:
Kaul, U., 2015. A critical evaluation of child poverty measurement in the United Kingdom. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 3(2), pp.51–69.