Living circumstances

The UK’s young people between the ages of 10 and 25 experience a range of different living circumstances and economic challenges, which are important for their health.

One in five secondary school aged children are eligible for free school meals


Significant numbers of young people are living with families who are registered homeless, and a small number are registered homeless in their own right.

More than half a million children under 18 in England are estimated to be homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Children’s Commissioner for England has estimated that there are approximately 585,000 children under 18 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Of these approximately 90,000 are sofa surfing and 120,000 living in temporary accommodation. The remainder are in situations where they are at risk of eviction (Children’s Commissioner, 2021).

Estimating the proportion of 16-24 year olds who are homeless is very difficult. There are likely to be significant numbers who stay temporarily with friends or sleep rough, who do not feature in official statistics. Centrepoint’s Youth Homelessness Databank provides some indication, estimating in 2019/20 that 120,000 16-24 year olds in the UK were homeless or at risk of homelessness. Of these, 102,000 approached their local authority for support (Centrepoint, 2020).

All data correct as of 1st November 2021