Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Staff reporter
14 October 2021
Almost half of children in ethnic minority communities in Scotland growing up in poverty

Almost half of children in ethnic minority communities in Scotland growing up in poverty

Nearly half of children in minority ethnic communities in Scotland are growing up in poverty, according to a new report.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said people in ethnic communities faced "shocking inequalities" in Scotland, with unequal access to secure, well-paid work, affordable housing and social security.

It said 48 per cent of children in minority ethnic communities are growing up in poverty, compared to 24 per cent for all children in Scotland.

The other findings include:

·        Workers from minority ethnic communities earn on average £2,300 less per year than white workers  

·        These workers are more than twice as likely (11 per cent) to be on insecure work contracts compared to white workers (5 per cent)  

·        30 per cent of minority ethnic households rent their homes privately which is generally the most expensive type of housing, compared to 13 per cent of white households 

The analysis by the JRF shows two in five people in minority ethnic communities in Scotland live in poverty, which is twice the national average. While poverty rates for white people have remained relatively stable over the last 20 years, for people in minority ethnic communities poverty has increased. 

As well as a significant pay gap of £1.26 per hour compared to white workers, workers in minority ethnic communities are also more likely to be ‘underemployed’, which is not being able to work as many hours as desired, and to be employed on insecure contracts.

Chris Birt, associate director for Scotland at JRF, said: “While it is wrong that any child in Scotland is growing up in poverty, it is appalling that children from minority ethnic communities are so much more likely to have their childhoods blighted by hardship than their white peers.

“The clock is ticking on our child poverty targets, and it is deeply concerning that things are actually getting worse, not better, for children in minority ethnic communities despite them being a priority group for the Scottish Government. But this is not just about meeting targets. It is about stamping out the appalling racial inequalities that are holding back children across our country. 

“Higher poverty rates for people in these groups are frightening but they are not inevitable. Our analysis suggests that minority ethnic communities face barriers at every turn, from employment to housing to social security support. The UK and Scottish governments, and employers, must work with urgency to remove these barriers.  

“If the Scottish Government wants to reduce racial inequalities in Scotland it must start collecting the appropriate data. Children in minority ethnic communities have been named a priority, but until we can accurately measure the problem, how much of a priority can they really be?” 


Read the most recent article written by Staff reporter - Life Stories: Fiona Hyslop

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine


Popular reads
Back to top