Across the district in 2016 there were 11,150 children aged under-16 (18% of this age group) living in households where at least one parent or guardian was claiming out-of-work benefits. This number is lower than the position five years ago (13,710 children) but is still higher than the England rate (14%).
A more sophisticated indicator of child poverty combines data on child tax credits with information on Council Tax and housing benefits and housing costs. This helps to account for those households that are working but who have very low incomes. In 2017, this measure estimated 26% of children were living in child poverty in Wakefield district, after housing costs had been taken into consideration. Across the region the levels are highest in Bradford (40%) and Hull (35%), and lowest in Harrogate (14%). There are large differences between wards (see table below), with levels of child poverty in Airedale and Ferry Fryston (37%) over twice that seen in Stanley and Outwood East (15%).
Children living in poverty, after housing costs. Source: End Child Poverty
Childcare may enable parents to return to work and so boost household incomes. Childcare costs in the region had been increasing but have fallen slightly over the past few years. The regional average cost for a child under 2 years in a nursery in 2016 was £3.76 per hour, or £188 per week (50 hours). The costs in Wakefield are between the regional and England averages, at around £3.92 per hour.
Other factors affecting levels of child poverty
Among families with dependent children, 6,200 parents have no qualifications (12% of all parents, compared to 7% in England), and a further 10,200 parents only have Level 1 qualifications (19% of all parents, compared to 16% in England).Only around 9% of couple households with dependent children have no access to a car or van, but 40% of lone parent households have no access to this type of transport. This level of no car ownership is slightly higher than the England average.