The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that if one parent is staying at home to raise children, households are witnessing a “drastic” deterioration in their living standards.
It estimates around eight million parents and children are living on incomes below what is needed to cover a minimum household budget.
The study by the think-tank looked at how households with children are failing to maintain a “socially acceptable” standard of living.
It says the proportion of people in households with an income below Minimum Income Standard increased by nearly a third between 2008/9 and 2012/13.
The Minimum Income Standard study calculates how much households need to pay for food, clothes, and leisure activities necessary to survive in modern Britain.
The study comes amid changes to Government support for families – such as cuts to benefits and tax credits.
It is calling for changes to Universal Credit and for more help from employers paying the Living Wage.
Katie Schmuecker, Policy and Research Manager at the foundation said: “This year’s report shows a rapid widening of the gap between the incomes and costs of families with children.
“Stagnant wages, cuts to in-and out-of-work benefits and sharp rises in the cost of essential items over several years have taken their toll upon the ability of families with children to secure a decent living standard.”
She added: “Without action by the Government and employers to address this group as part of a wider anti-poverty strategy, this trend is likely to have serious consequences for the next generation.”
For families struggling to make ends meet, there is help available.
The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open food banks nationwide for families in need of help putting food on the table.
For more information on where your nearest foodbank is.