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UNICEF: US Among Highest Child Poverty Rates in Developed Countries

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Common Dreams staff

A new report released this week by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reveals alarming child poverty rates within affluent, or 'developed', nations. The US ranks second highest among all measured countries, with 23.1 per cent of children living in poverty, just under Romania's 25.6 per cent.

The report Report Card 10 shows roughly 13 million children in the European Union (plus Norway and Iceland) lack basic items necessary for their development. 30 million children – across 35 countries with developed economies – live in poverty.

“The data reinforces that far too many children continue to go without the basics in countries that have the means to provide,” said Gordon Alexander, Director of UNICEF's Office of Research.

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UNICEF: Table of relative child poverty, 35 economically advanced countries

Figure shows the percentage of children (aged 0 to 17) who are living in relative poverty, defined as living in a household in which disposable income, when adjusted for family size and composition, is less than 50% of the national median income.

  

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UNICEF: Tens of millions of children living in poverty in the world’s richest countries

As debates rage on austerity measures and social spending cuts, a new report reveals the extent of child poverty and child deprivation in the world’s advanced economies. Some 13 million children in the European Union (plus Norway and Iceland) lack basic items necessary for their development. Meanwhile, 30 million children – across 35 countries with developed economies – live in poverty.

Report Card 10, from UNICEF’s Office of Research, looks at child poverty and child deprivation across the industrialized world, comparing and ranking countries’ performance. This international comparison, says the Report, proves that child poverty in these countries is not inevitable, but policy susceptible - and that some countries are doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children. [...]

In doing so UNICEF’s Office of Research tries to estimate what percentage of children are falling significantly behind what can be considered normal for their own societies. [...]

“The report makes clear that some governments are doing much better at tackling child deprivation than others,” said Mr Alexander. “The best performers show it is possible to address poverty within the current fiscal space. On the flip side, failure to protect children from today’s economic crisis is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make.”

 

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