Cases of child poverty and deprivation can be found in various parts of the U.K. Jewish community, but it is unquestionably within the haredi community where the issue is most acute. There, rapid demographic growth and distinctive educational priorities, combined with a general reduction in government support and likely diminution of charitable donations, all point towards the probability of a noteworthy increase in cases of Jewish child poverty and deprivation in the coming years.
Based on existing quantitative data and a series of qualitative interviews with leading welfare experts from across the Jewish community, the findings show that:
- Approximately 8% of all Jewish children in Britain (almost 4,000 in total) live in ‘overcrowded conditions’; a third of these are based in the London Borough of Hackney.
- Almost 9% of all Jewish children in Britain (over 4,300 in total) live in households in which no adults are in employment. One in five of these live in the London Borough of Hackney.
- Approximately 5% of all Jewish children in Britain (over 2,500 in total) live in council or social rented housing, and a third of these are based in the London Borough of Hackney.
- Whilst eligibility figures for Free School Meals (FSM) in Jewish day schools are generally low, some schools report levels of 15%+.
The Jewish community has an extraordinarily wide-ranging and professional infrastructure of welfare organizations dedicated to supporting children. However, this sector is already beginning to experience the impact of government cuts, and is having to make tough choices about which services to retain and which to lose. Whilst a great deal of emphasis within the Jewish community has been placed on ameliorating the effects of child poverty and deprivation, there is a need to focus on more strategic measures designed to prevent child poverty and deprivation from occurring in the first place.
The complete study, Child poverty and deprivation in the British Jewish community, is available on the Institute for Jewish Policy Research website.