Child poverty up in developed world
Child poverty has increased in 23 countries in the developed world since the start of the global recession in 2008, potentially trapping a generation in a life of material deprivation and reduced prospects.
A new report by Unicef published yesterday says the number of children entering into poverty during the recession is 2.6 million greater than the number who have been lifted out of it.
“The longer these children remain trapped in the cycle of poverty, the harder it will be for them to escape,” it says in Children of Recession: the impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries.
Greece and Iceland have seen the biggest percentage increases in child poverty since 2008, followed by Latvia, Croatia and Ireland. The proportion of children living in poverty in the UK has increased from 24% to 25.6%.
Eighteen of the 41 countries in the study have seen falls in child poverty, topped by Chile which has seen a reduction from 31.4% to 22.8%.
Norway has the lowest child poverty rate, at 5.3% (down from 9.6% in 2008), and Greece has the highest, at 40.5% (up from 23% in 2008). Latvia and Spain also have child poverty rates above 36%. In the US, the rate is 32%.
“In the past five years, rising numbers of children and their families have experienced difficulty in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs,” says the report.
“Unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s have left many families unable to provide the care, protection and opportunities to which children are entitled."
Most importantly, the Great Recession is about to trap a generation of educated and capable youth in a limbo of unmet expectations and lasting vulnerability.”
It adds: “The impact of the recession on children, in particular, will be felt long after the recession itself is declared to be over.”
The study's authors asked people about their experiences and perceptions of deprivation, based on four indicators: not having enough money to buy food for themselves or their family; stress levels; overall life satisfaction; and whether children have the opportunity to learn and grow.