Who is affected by the two-child limit and how?

The two-child limit mostly affects working families with three children

Every day, 200 more families are affected. 

Families affected are £50 a week worse off than families who had their third or subsequent child before April 2017.

Familes have told us about the ways the two-child limit affects them:

  • 95% of people we spoke to said the two-child limit has affected their ability to pay for basic living costs. 88% said it had affected their ability to pay for food. 
  • Children are missing out on things most children take for granted - social, educational and physical activities that are vital for their development. 
  • Families are facing increasing debt and ongoing stress - affecting family relationships

'Instead of enjoying the birth of our baby, we have dealt with hardship and having to scrape together for meals. Borrowing money from family for milk and nappies and ending ourselves in a stressful amount of debt. We had to borrow money for sterilizer bottles, pram, cot, everything you need for a baby and without the usual income for each child we can’t afford to pay it back. We are at an end in our family life and relationship because of the stress and hardship the limit has caused for us.'


'I’m struggling to pay my rent as I need to feed my children… [We] may become homeless as I’m in rent arrears.'


This map shows the number of children and families who are likely to be affected by the two-child limit in different parliamentary constituencies*

*This map shows data on the number of families with three or more children - and the number of children living in these families - who are claiming child tax credits in each parliamentary constituency, which we obtained through a Freedom of Information request to HMRC (FOI2018/02694). We assume that a similar number of families with three or more children will require support in these constituencies in the years to come. (Eventually, all families with three or more children who claim child tax credits or universal credit will become subject to the limit, as more families with three or more children include at least one child born after April 2017.)