Child poverty will jump without economic recovery

COVID-19 has had big impact
  • Deborah Condon

Child poverty will increase significantly in Ireland unless there is some economic recovery this year, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has warned.

It has just published a new paper highlighting trends in child poverty during the recession of 2008, and simulating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on child poverty in 2020.

Child poverty is known to have major short-term and long-term effects on a range of things including health outcomes, social participation and education.

The ESRI paper noted that during the 2008 recession, the biggest rise in basic deprivation, which is an inability to afford basic goods and services, was found in households with children.

In fact, basic deprivation levels of children rose from 16% in 2008 to 32% by 2013. The highest rates of deprivation were found in single-parent households or in households were the head of the household was unemployed. Deprivation exceeded 60% in these household during the peak of the 2008 recession.

Taking into account the major job losses that came about as a result of COVID-19, the ESRI researchers set out to estimate how child poverty will evolve in 2020.

They found that if there is no economic recovery in the second half of the year, child income poverty rates could rise from 16% at the beginning of 2020 to 21% by the end of 2020.

However, if some economic recovery were to take place, i.e. if between 61% and 82% of workers who were displaced by the pandemic were to return to work by the end of September, this child poverty rate would rise to 18%.

"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," commented Mark Regan of the ESRI.

The paper, Child Poverty in Ireland and the Pandemic Recession, can be viewed here.


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