Child Indicators Research

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 451–472 | Cite as

Child Poverty and Children’s Subjective Well-Being

  • Gill MainEmail author


This article examines the relationship between child poverty and children’s subjective well-being on the range of domains identified by Rees et al. (2010) in the Good Childhood Index. Data are taken from a school-based survey of children in England. Child poverty is measured using a child-derived index of material deprivation (proposed by Main and Bradshaw in Child Indicators Research 5(3): 503–521, 2012) and indicators of children living in households likely to qualify for minimum income benefits. After a review of relevant literature to provide background to the study, the relationship between material deprivation, qualification for minimum income benefits and various domains of children’s subjective well-being are examined. Finally, a more detailed analysis is performed on the relationship between poverty and children’s subjective well-being in the domains of family and choice, as relationships were found to be strongest in these domains. Findings show that poverty is an important predictor of subjective well-being and that the child-derived index is more successful than household qualification for minimum income benefits in explaining variation in Rees et al’s (2010) Good Childhood Index domains. This lends support to Cummins’s (Journal of Happiness Studies 1(2):133–158, 2000) argument that the relationship between income and subjective well-being exists but is confounded by mediating factors. The domains in which the association to material deprivation is especially strong – family and choice - are identified by Rees et al. (2010) as amongst the most strongly associated with overall subjective well-being.


Children Subjective well-being Poverty Material deprivation Child-derived 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Policy Research Unit, Department of Social Policy and Social WorkThe University of YorkYorkUK

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