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A league table of child poverty in rich nations

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UNICEF Innocenti Report Card Issue No. 1
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
Publication Date: 
31 May 2000

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

This report on child poverty in the world's wealthiest nations, concludes that one in six of the rich world's children is poor - a total of 47 million. The new research, published in the first UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, provides the most comprehensive estimates so far of child poverty across the member countries of the OECD. Despite a doubling and redoubling of national incomes in most OECD nations since 1950, a significant percentage of their children are still living in families so materially poor that normal health and growth are at risk. A far larger proportion remain in relative poverty. Their physical needs may be catered for, but they are painfully excluded from the activities and advantages that are considered normal by their peers. The report reveals a wide range of child poverty rates in countries at broadly similar levels of economic development - from under 3 per cent in Sweden to a high of over 22 per cent in the USA. By comparing data from different countries, the new research asks what can be learned about the causes of child poverty and examines the policies that have contributed to the success of lower rates in some countries. In particular, it seeks to explain the situation by exploring the impact on poverty rates of lone parenthood, unemployment, low wages and levels of social expenditures.