The Poverty, Child Poverty Policy team (Central Policy Division) has responsibility for developing, co-ordinating and driving the Executive’s priorities for tackling poverty.

Poverty in Northern Ireland

The most recent statistics, published on 14 May 2020 are for the period April 2018 to March 2019. At that time around 350,000 (19%) people in Northern Ireland lived in relative income poverty (before housing costs) including approximately 107,000 (24%) children. People are considered to be living in relative income poverty if the income of their household is less than 60% of the UK median household income.

16% of people (approx. 303,000) in Northern Ireland live in absolute poverty before housing costs. This can be further broken down to: 21% of children, 12% of pensioners and 16% of the working age population. The causes of poverty are many and varied. People are considered to be in absolute income poverty if the income of their household is less than 60% of the UK median household income for 2010-11 (adjusted year on year for inflation). Further information on the statistics can be found within the Family Resources Survey

Poverty strategies

The “New Decade New Approach” agreement (January 2020) aims to improve well-being for all by tackling disadvantage and driving economic growth on the basis of objective need.  Informed by a detailed stakeholder engagement process, the Executive will publish a new strategic level outcomes-based Programme for Government. This approach will build on the existing draft framework of 12 outcomes as stated in the previous draft Programme for Government and will be underpinned by an Anti-Poverty and Child Poverty Strategy. A co-design, co-production approach will be taken to the development of an Anti-Poverty and Child Poverty Strategy by the Department for Communities. 

There is a statutory obligation in section 28E of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 for the Executive to “adopt a strategy setting out how it proposes to tackle poverty, social exclusion and patterns of deprivation based on objective need”. 

The requirement to publish a Child Poverty Strategy and lay it before the Assembly was a statutory obligation under the Life Chances Act 2010, which does not apply after 31 March 2020. 

Child Poverty Strategy

In line with the Life Chances Act, we lay annual reports on the Child Poverty Strategy in the Assembly.  The annual reports can be downloaded at the links below:

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