UNICEF Report Card 10: Measuring child poverty
UNICEF’s Report Card 10 sets out the most recent international comparison data for 35 countries on child poverty, measured through rates of child deprivation and relative income poverty. The two measures are fundamentally different, however together they offer the best comparative picture of child poverty in the world’s richest nations.
The report is part of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre's series which is designed to monitor and compare the performance of economically advanced countries in securing the rights of their children. Past reports in the series have revealed that failure to protect children from poverty is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make with the most severe repercussions being carried by children themselves. Impacts on countries can be seen in the form of reduced skills and productivity, lower levels of health and educational achievement, increased likelihood of unemployment and welfare dependence, higher costs of judicial and social protection systems, and loss of social cohesion. Economic and moral arguments are put forward for the protection of children from poverty both during periods of growth and constraint. The report seeks to draw the attention of political leaders, the press and general public to these issues.
Economic downturn and child poverty
Data used in the Report card 10 does not reflect the full impact of the current economic and financial crisis on child poverty as it only covers up to 2009. The report states however, that it is becoming increasingly clear that families with children have been among those most affected by the downturn. The Report Card 10 shows a clear relationship between the proportion of Gross Domestic Product spent on children and families and results achieved, indicating that national policy choices directly affect the lives and experiences of the poorest children.
Data on child deprivation rates are taken from the 2009 round of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions and are available for all 27 countries of the European Union plus Norway and Iceland. 23 out of 29 of these countries are also members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The exceptions are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania, which are EU member states, but not members of the OECD.
Data on relative child poverty rates are also available for six additional OECD countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States). As a result analysis of relative child poverty includes 35 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.
To access the complete report see here.