a Scotland where everyone matters
Indicators of Progress 2003
Milestone 1 - Reducing the proportion of our children living in workless households
This milestone is measured by information from one indicator. The source of the information is the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which is run by the Office for National Statistics. The indicator is defined as the proportion of dependent children aged under 19 years who are in households where no one is in work. The definition of 'dependent' for these purposes means all children aged 0 - 15 and those aged 16 - 18 who are in full-time education. The information is taken from the spring quarter of the Labour Force Survey.
Children living in workless households
Since 1997 there has been a fall in the percentage of dependent children living in workless households. The percentage has fallen from 19 per cent in 1997 to 16 per cent in 2003.
Chart 1a: Percentage of dependent children living in workless households, spring 1992 - spring 2003
Source: Labour Force Survey: Office for National Statistics
Note: Dependent children are defines as those aged 0 - 15 and those aged 16 - 18 in full-time education
Analysis from the 2001 Census
The 2001 Census allows a comparison of the percentages of dependent children in workless households in various subgroups and areas to be made. The 2001 Census information on workless households is not directly comparable with the LFS because (i) The census is a self-completion survey whereas the Labour Force Survey is based on interview; (ii) the census is based on 100% sample of the population, whereas the Labour Force Survey produces estimates based on a survey of a smaller sample of the population; and (iii) the Census data is a snapshot of circumstances at 29 April 2001 and the Labour Force Survey covers a specified period. The LFS is the official source of labour market statistics.
The 2001 Census shows that 18 per cent of dependent children live in workless households in Scotland.
There are differences in the percentage of dependent children in workless households from one area to another. In Glasgow City and Dundee City respectively, the Census showed around a third and a quarter of all dependent children lived in workless households. There are also differences across urban, rural and remote areas of Scotland, with relatively higher proportions of dependent children in large urban areas living in workless households, and relatively fewer living in rural areas.
Table 1b: Percentage of dependent children living in workless households by council area, urban rural classification, minority ethnic group and Interim Scottish Multiple Index of Deprivation, 2001 Census
Source: 2001 Census
Argyll & Bute
Dumfries & Galloway
Edinburgh, City of
Perth & Kinross
Urban Rural Classification
Large Urban Areas
Other Urban Areas
Accessible Small Towns
Remote Small Towns
Minority ethnic group
Pakistani and other South Asian
Interim Scottish Multiple Index of Deprivation
Most Deprived - Quintile 1
Least Deprived - Quintile 5
Dependent children from the Indian and Chinese minority ethnic groups are less likely (than the average) to be living in workless households, whereas dependent children from the other minority ethnic groups are more likely to be living in workless households.
The interim Scottish Multiple Index of Deprivation shows that there is a difference between the most and least relatively deprived areas in Scotland. Over a third of children living in the most deprived wards in Scotland live in workless households compared to one in twenty children in the least deprived wards.
Numbers of children in 'households with one adult' between 1981 and 2001
Between 1981 and 2001, there has been almost a 20 per cent drop in the number of children aged under 16 living in Scotland. During this period the number of children aged under 16 living in households with one adult has almost trebled, from about 70,000 in 1981 to 195,000 in 2001. Taking these two trends together, children aged under 16 living in households with one adult as a percentage of all children aged under 16 has increased from 6 per cent in 1981 to 20 per cent in 2001. Although there has been an increase in the proportion of children in households with one adult (who are more likely to live in workless households), the overall proportion of children in workless households has fallen. This is related to the higher employment rates at the Scotland level.
The following background data corresponds to the charts and commentary included in this milestone.
Table 1c: Percentage of dependent children living in workless households, spring 1992 - spring 2003
Source: Labour Force Survey: Office for National StatisticsNote: Dependent children are defined as those aged 0 - 15 and those aged 16 - 18 in full-time education
Table 1d: Children living in 'households with one adult', 1981 - 2001 Censuses
Source: General Register Office for Scotland
Children aged 0 - 15 living in households with one adult
Children aged 0 - 15 living in households with one adult (and the adult is not working')
All Children aged 0 -15
Household with one adult is defined as household with one adult aged 16 or over and at least one child aged 0 - 15
Availability of data and references
Information from the LFS at a Scottish level is available from 1992. However given the current size of the survey it is not possible to provide sub-Scotland figures disaggregated by age, gender, disability or ethnicity.
The publication of the 2001 Census of Population has resulted in population estimates being revised. This means the historical series of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) needs to be re-weighted using these revised population estimates. However, publication of the Mid-2002 population estimates for England and Wales was delayed until 19 September 2003. As a result, the re-weighting exercise for all the LFS data for GB has been delayed. The Office for National Statistics will announce the timetable for release of the revised data as soon as possible.
The LFS data used in this report is therefore not consistent with the 2001 Census based population revisions.
In addition, the Scottish Executive and the Office for National Statistics have jointly undertaken an exercise to boost the Scottish element of the Labour Force Survey. This will produce better estimates for the milestones that are based on the LFS and for some indicators further disaggregation by key client groups and geographical areas will be possible, including an urban/ rural split. It is anticipated that results from the first year of the boosted survey will be available in Autumn 2004.