THREE thousand children in Newtownabbey have been found to live in poverty, according to campaigners aiming to improve the lives of young people.
The UK-wide study by the Campaign to End Child Poverty has researched every ward in the Westminster constituency area.
The figures reveal the wide disparity in poverty rates across the UK, within its regions and across Newtownabbey.
The survey found that Rathcoole has one of the highest levels of children living in poverty in the UK.
The Dunanney and Coole wards of the Westminster parliament constituency areas, which take in the majority of the estate, were found to have 44 per cent and 40 per cent levels of child poverty respectively.
Central Manchester was found to have the highest level of children living in poverty with 47 per cent. West Belfast was next in the league table with 43 per cent children living in poverty.
Overall it is believed 3,310 children live in child poverty in Newtownabbey, which represents 17 per cent of the youth population which are described as living in low income families.
The Valley Ward, which also includes parts of Rathcoole, Bawnmore and Longlands was high on the list with 38 per cent of children to be living in poverty.
A third of children (33 per cent) were found to live in poverty in the Whitehouse Ward while the Abbey, Mossley, Carnmoney and Monkstown wards were all found to have child poverty levels of around 30 per cent.
The lowest levels were found to be in Jordanstown and Ballynure with under five per cent recorded.
Enver Solomon, chair of the Campaign said: “Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.
“The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long term poverty and disadvantage.
“We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low income families in the decisions they make about welfare spending.
“The Government must also closely examine its current strategy for reducing poverty and consider what more it could do to ensure millions of children’s lives are not blighted by the corrosive impact that poverty has on their daily existence.’’