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Oct 07 2010

Children and numbers

One of this mornings news items is on government plans to limit benefit to a family to the average wage, apparently regardless of the size of the family. This seems to be built around the idea that there are families out there with vast numbers of children who are milking the system to the cost of the rest of us. We can check this idea with numbers. The graph below shows the number of claimants broken down by number of children in the household, the final category is for families containing 8 or more children.
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The heights of the columns are a lower bound on the fraction of benefit going to each group, an upper bound would be to multiply each column by the number of children but this would be an over-estimate since benefits don’t increase linearly with number of children. There are a little under 1000 families with 8 children or more. 90% of claimant families have less than four children.
These data tell us nothing about the circumstances of each of the families represented which will include the loss of parents, illness, job loss and all the other small disasters which can befall a family.
The data shown here are from Department of Work and Pensions via The Spectator (here).

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