Unicef Logo and the text: Children Under Threat. The State of The World's Children 2005.


The Multiple Dimensions of Child Poverty

Poverty threatens every right, depriving children of the capacities they require to survive, develop and thrive. Children living in the countries highlighted on this map face some of the worst deprivations of essential goods and services: More than one third of all children are malnourished, lack basic immunizations, or are not enrolled in or attending school. In 13 countries, less than half the population has access to improved drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities.

Income-poverty measures are a good indication of where the problem lies. Most countries with high levels of deprivation suffer from low levels of per capita income. But income-poverty measures cannot adequately convey how children actually experience poverty. India and Senegal have very similar levels of per capita income, for instance, but children in India are more at risk from malnutrition while children in Senegal are more likely to miss out on an education. Eighty-nine per cent of children in Peru receive the DPT3 vaccine, while only 65 per cent of children in the Dominican Republic do – but the per capita income in the former country is less than 4 per cent higher than in the latter.

Poverty embodies the multidimensional nature of the threats to childhood: Each deprivation exacerbates the effect of the others, and when two or more coincide, the effects on children can be catastrophic. Children who must walk long distances to fetch water have less time to attend school – a problem that particularly affects girls. Children who are not immunized or who are malnourished are much more susceptible to the diseases that are spread through poor sanitation. These and other deprivations, such as lack of adequate shelter and access to social services, inhibit children’s ability to achieve their full potential. Until every child realizes their right to education, nutrition and health care, childhood will continue to be under threat.

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation
of any frontiers.

Dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India
and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties.

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Copyright © UNICEF, 2004


UNICEF’s work on early childhood development [Web]

Beyond Child Labour, Affirming Rights [PDF]

Profiting from abuse [PDF]

Children in jeopardy [PDF]

Finance development: Invest in children [PDF]

Poverty reduction begins with children [PDF]

Poverty and Children: Lessons of the 90s for Least Developed Countries [PDF]


“I think it's wonderful that people are realizing the pain of child labour... children should know what it feels like to be children... it is definitely not right to push them so far ahead and fill in the shoes of adults...”.
girl, 21, Malaysia

Log on to www.unicef.org/voy


Percentage of infants who receive DPT3 vaccine: 76

Number of infants vaccinated each year: 100 million.

Number of lives that could be saved each year through routine immunization: 2.2 million
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© UNICEF 2004