Disabled children in the UK are more likely to likely to live with low-income, deprivation, debt and poor housing, a new study has found.
Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Pediatrics found that disabled children, particularly those from black/minority ethnic/mixed parentage groups and lone-parent households experience higher levels of poverty and personal and social disadvantage than other children.
Clare Blackburn worked with a team of researchers from the University of Warwick, UK, to study data from the 2004/5 national Family Resources Survey (FRS). She said, "The FRS has data on 16,012 children aged 0-18 years. We found that 7.3% of these were reported as being disabled, almost two percentage points (250,000 children) more than published estimates for 2003-4. The highest prevalence of childhood disability was found among those with the poorest income."
It is clear from the results of this study that disabled children in the UK today continue to experience income inequality and material and social disadvantage. Speaking about the reasons for this, Blackburn said, "Households with disabled children have a greater dependence on social security benefits and are faced with the additional financial costs associated with caring for a disabled child. Given the relationship between positive health, social and education outcomes and poverty and material deprivation, improving the circumstances of disabled children is likely to be crucial."
- Clare M Blackburn, Nick J Spencer and Janet M Read. Prevalence of childhood disability and the characteristics and circumstances of disabled children in the UK: secondary analysis of the Family Resouces Survey. BMC Pediatrics, 2010; (in press)
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