Poverty and inequalities shape the life chances of millions of children worldwide. How children experience poverty and manage risk is an important part of understanding the multiple dimensions of poverty. Findings from Young Lives show that the same groups of children (particularly children from rural areas, the poorest households and ethnic minorities or low-caste groups) tend to fare less well across a series of indicators of well-being. At the same time, children are involved in the management of household risks, and informal and formal social support can have a protective effect. Policymakers concerned with reducing risk and improving protection should not focus on the symptoms of risk, but target the root causes of children’s poor life chances, namely poverty and inequalities.