DATA BRIEFS: PROGRESS AND DISPARITY
Rich countries:Where 47 million children are poor
One child out of six - or 47 million children - in OECD
countries lives in poverty, says a new UNICEF report. (OECD countries include
industrialized as well as industrializing countries that meet certain criteria; see note
Mexico and the United States now top the list of OECD countries where children live in
relative poverty: More than one in four children in Mexico(26.2%) and more
than one in five in the United States(22.4%) are poor. The report defines relative poverty
as living in a household where income is less than half of the national median.
The next most severe child poverty rates are found in Italy (20.5%), the United Kingdom
(19.8%) and Turkey (19.7%).
At the other end of the scale are
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden, where child poverty levels range
from as low as 1 in 38 in Sweden (2.6%) to 1 in 20 in Denmark (5.1%). In the Nordic
countries, the low levels of child poverty reflect the high levels of investment in family
Besides having the lowest levels of child poverty in the industrialized world, the
Nordic countries are also the most generous donors.The two donor countries with the
highest levels of child poverty, Italy and the United States, contribute the least aid
when considered as a percentage of GNP (see story Halt in overall aid decline, but
no sustained increase seen, at left).
The high rates of child poverty in rich countries underscore the need for all nations -
not just poor ones - to identify the pockets of poverty in their countries and to take
measures to protect the children who are affected.