More than one million more children will fall into poverty in the UK by the end of the decade, new research has predicted.
The assessment by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the projected increases from 2010/11 to 2020/21 will reverse the reductions in child poverty rates witnessed in the previous decade.
In Northern Ireland the problem appeared to be particularly acute with the predicted percentage of children experiencing poverty in 2020 much higher than the UK average forecasts at 29.7 and 32.9 in relative and absolute terms respectively.
Children deemed to be living in poverty are part of households that have an income below 60% of the national median.
The IFS examined rates using two indicators - the first relative to whatever the median income is predicted to be in a given year and the second (the absolute) measuring against what it was in 2010/11.
In the context of overall falling income levels since the start of the decade, the predicted relative increase in child poverty by 2020 was not as marked as the absolute rise, but both soared by more than a million (1.1 million and 1.4 million).
The IFS estimates that there are currently 2.7 million children living in poverty in the UK using the relative indicator and 3 million using the absolute measure.
The report predicted that the percentage of children experiencing poverty in 2020 will be 23.5 and 27.2 in relative and absolute terms respectively. That compares to respective official targets of 10% and 5%.
The study was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Executive to assess poverty levels in the region, but it also looked at the situation in the UK as a whole.
The IFS report also predicted increased poverty rates among working-age non-parents across the UK in the same time frame. The institute noted that its study was conducted prior to this year’s budget and further updated projections would be made this summer.