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Research says UK families with disabled children more likely to live in poverty

Disabled children in the UK are more likely to likely to live with low-income, deprivation, debt and poor housing. University of Warwick researchers writing in the journal BMC Pediatrics found that families with disabled children experience higher levels of poverty and personal and social disadvantage than other children.

Dr Clare Blackburn worked with a team of researchers from the University of Warwick 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”.

The results of this study clearly show that disabled children in the UK today continue to experience income inequality and material and social disadvantage. Speaking about the reasons for this, Dr Blackburn from the University of Warwick said:

“Households with disabled children have caring responsibilities that makes them far less able to seek employment and far less able to have any career progression for those who are able to also to take up job. With this reduced ability to earn an income comes the significant 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”.

The journal article can be found here:

Note for editors:  Original press release prepared and issued by Graeme Baldwin

Science Press Officer BioMed Central

For further press information please contact:

Dr Clare Blackburn, Associate Professor
School of Health and Social Studies
University of Warwick Tel: 024 7652 4132


Peter Dunn, Head of Communications, University of Warwick 
Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860

PR36 23rd April 2010