Child poverty across OECD countries on the rise

22 Oct 18

Child poverty is on the rise in advanced economies since the financial crisis, the OECD has warned.

Nearly one in seven children live in poverty on average in OECD countries compared to one in eight in 2007, according to a policy briefing last week.   

Almost two-thirds of the OECD’s members have experience a rise in the number of young people in poverty, the briefing on child well-being found.

Olivier Thevenon, an OECD social policy economist, told PF International: “One of the most important factors behind the rise in child poverty is increasing unemployment among parents in vulnerable families, as well as gaps in the benefit system.

“To tackle it, we need better coverage and targeting of benefits aimed at poor children, to make work pay, and to make childcare accessible to all no matter what their income”.

The report defines income poverty as living on a disposable income that is at most half the national average. The UN Sustainable Development Goals set a target to halve child poverty by 2030.

The Slovak Republic has seen the largest increase in child poverty since 2007, at 5.4 percentage points.

But other countries, such as France, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Sweden also saw the poverty rates rise by two percentage points or more over the same period.

In Chile, Israel, Spain, Turkey and the US, more than one in five children live in income poverty – almost seven times higher than the rate in Denmark, the report highlighted.

To tackle the problem, the Paris-based organisation called for governments to provide equally strong incentives to work and access to childcare.

It also said that governments should promote employment by making tax and benefit systems provide incentives for second earners to return to work.

It also said that social benefits, such as housing benefits can lift families out of poverty, if their income is not too far from the poverty line.

The report said: “A budget-neutral redistribution of family and housing benefits to poor families can help reduce child poverty.

“But children in poor families experience multiple deprivation (including poor housing conditions and a lack of educational opportunities), which calls for a comprehensive strategy combating poverty in all its dimensions.”

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say

CIPFA latest

Related jobs