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Thursday 25 April 2019

An extra 130,000 poor children in recession - Unicef

Sarah Stack

The child poverty rate in Ireland soared by 10pc during the recession, a new study found.

UNICEF claims the rise is the equivalent 130,000 more poor children in Ireland between 2008 and 2012, while poverty among older people increased by just 2.5pc.

Its report card shows that Irish families with children lost the equivalent of ten years of income progress as the child poverty rose from 18pc in 2008 to 28.6pc 2012.

It ranked Ireland 37th of 41 OECD countries in a league table measuring relative changes in child poverty, with only Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland lagging behind.

Unicef Ireland’s executive director Peter Power said countries should place the well-being of children at the top of their priorities during economic recessions

“Not only is this a moral obligation, but it is in the long term self-interest of societies,” he said.

“Children living in poverty are more likely to become impoverished adults and have poor children, creating and sustaining intergenerational cycles of poverty.                                                                       

“Every child has a right to an adequate standard of living. UNICEF’s research shows that the right policy choices, regardless of the economic environment, can make lasting positive changes to children’s lives and give every child the best start to ensure that they grow up to fulfil their potential.”

UNICEF published its 12th Report Card entitled, Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries, which ranks 41 countries in the OECD and the European Union according to whether levels of child poverty have increased or decreased since 2008.

In 23 of the 41 countries analysed, child poverty has increased since 2008, while it fell in 18 states including Chile, Australia and Poland, which saw a reduction of 7.9pc.

The study also tracks the proportion of 15-24 year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and includes data on people’s perceptions of their economic status and hopes for the future since the recession began.

“The recession has hit 15-24 year olds especially hard,” Unicef added.

“Ireland ranks 14th out of 41 countries in a league table measuring the change in NEET.”

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