A recently published report, written by CLS for the Northern Ireland Executive, presents an analysis of child outcomes at age 5 from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). The report shows that income poverty is associated with poorer cognitive, educational and behavioural child development. It also concludes that general health and the incidence of overweight amongst young children are worse amongst families experiencing poverty.
The negative impact of poverty on child development in Northern Ireland is found to be similar to that seen throughout the UK. However, young children in Northern Ireland fare on average better than those in Great Britain in terms of their cognitive scores, educational assessments, behavioural assessments and general health. These differences are largely driven by poorer outcomes in GB and in England in particular. As the report authors indicate, although England is more affluent than Northern Ireland, it is also a highly urbanised, diverse and unequal society.
Sullivan, A., Cara, O., Joshi, H. Ketende, S. and Obolenskaya, P. (2010) The consequences of childhood disadvantage in Northern Ireland at age 5. Belfast: Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister – The Northern Ireland Executive.