Children living in poorer households in England who receive free school meals carry their inequalities into adult life, said a study published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Executive Office of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Statistics Authority.
The ONS on Tuesday examined the earning outcomes of people aged 25 years who received free school meals as kids. The result showed that just 23 per cent of them were earning above the Living Wage by the age of 25, Xinhua news agency reported.
This compares with 43.5 per cent of children who did not receive free school meals, the survey revealed.
The ONS report also showed that female recipients of free school meals were less likely than male recipients to earn above the Living Wage at the age of 25. Just 18.2 per cent of women were paid above the Living Wage at 25, compared to almost 40 per cent who did not get free school meals.
“Across England, all regions saw a broadly similar difference between free school meal recipients and non-recipients earning above the Living Wage. Similarly, the differences between women and men were consistent across regions, with a higher proportion of men in both groups earning above the Living Wage than the women in each group,” the ONS said.
A spokesperson for the ONS said being a recipient of free school meals is commonly used as a proxy measure for socio-economic disadvantage, including household income deprivation, during childhood.