24,000 families in Scotland face ‘severe disadvantage’

As many as 24,000 families in Scotland face severe disadvantage – amounting to 4 per cent of the total population of families with children – according to a think-tank report.

The Demos report emphasises that hardship is about much more than just low income. The report defines severe disadvantage as having four or more disadvantages out of the following seven: low income, worklessness, lack of qualifications, poor physical health, mental illness, overcrowded living conditions, and a poor-quality neighbourhood.

Key findings

  • Unmarried households with children are 6 times more likely to be severely disadvantaged than married households (8.5 per cent compared with 1.4 per cent).
  • 51 per cent of severely disadvantaged households are headed by a lone parent, compared with the national average for Scotland of 21 per cent.
  • Households experiencing severe disadvantage are more likely to live in large urban areas (50 per cent) and social rented housing (77 per cent).
  • Glasgow is the worst area affected, with over 1 in 10 families facing severe disadvantage – three times the national average for Scotland.

The report is part of a continuing project in Scotland involving families and local support providers, designed to go beyond headline figures and provide a better understanding of the lives of people affected by severe disadvantage.

Source: Louise Bazalgette, Matt Barnes and Chris Lord, A Wider Lens, Demos
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