Wednesday, 1 May 2013

What does Growing up in Scotland say about...

This month Morag Treanor blogged on child poverty and Philomina de Lima reflected on race and rurality. This blog picks up on what Growing Up in Scotland has to say on the issues of poverty, and living in rural areas.

Living in poverty?

Family incomes are falling – after taking account of inflation, GUS finds that families with 10 month old babies have lower incomes in 2010/11 than similar families in 2005/06. 27% of families in 2010/11 had an annual income of less than £10,833 compared with 21% of families in 2005/06 (in real terms).

Child poverty might be greater than we think - between 2005 and 2009, 42% of under-fives in Scotland had experienced poverty at least once, suggesting that poverty touches more Scottish children than other estimates that look at only one point in a child’s life may imply.

Persistent poverty is an issue – in 2010, GUS reported that 24% of 4 year olds had experienced poverty for at least 3 of their first 4 years. Persistent poverty is defined as having an income below 60% of the median household income for at least 3 years.

Living in poverty can have long-term negative consequences – young children living in low income households are much more likely to experience the risk factors for poor health than children living in higher income households ((Health inequalities in the early years)

By the age of 3, children experiencing poverty performed less well in measures of their cognitive ability than children from more affluent families.(Cognitive development) This variation persists at age 5. 

Children from lower income households are more likely to experience social, emotional and behavioural difficulties around the time of starting primary school (Entry to primary school)

Living in rural areas?

GUS finds that generally family and household characteristics such as income, level of parents’ education and levels of support for parents have a much stronger influence on child outcomes than whether they live in an urban or rural area. Children in rural areas are slightly more likely than those in urban areas to be born into advantaged circumstances but they may be disadvantaged in other ways, for example by living further from grandparents and in terms of access to some services. (Growing up in Rural Scotland)

Recent findings show that parents living in rural areas are more likely to be very satisfied with their local neighbourhood than those living in urban areas or in small towns (Results from year one). There are some positive associations between rurality and child health:   

Mothers living remote rural areas and remote small towns are more likely to  breastfeed their babies for at least 6 weeks  to introduce solid foods at age 5 months or older.
Parents living in rural areas are slightly more likely to attend parent and baby/toddler groups. 
Perhaps surprisingly, GUS finds no significant differences in the ease of arranging childcare between parents living in urban and rural areas.  

Find out more about the Growing up in Scotland study here

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