Deepening poverty lines
Since 2020, child poverty in Europe and Central Asia has soared affecting 24.3 million children across the region
The economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine – combined with inadequate social protection support for children and families – have pushed more children in Europe and Central Asia into poverty and thwarted chances of escape for children already living in poverty. As a result, the number of children in Europe and Central Asia living on less than US$6.85 a day – an indicator for monetary poverty in upper middle-income countries – has increased from 1 in 9 children in 2020 to 1 in 7 today.
New data from the World Bank and UNICEF published in the report Global Trends in Child Monetary Poverty According to International Poverty Lines finds that there have been approximately three years of lost progress in fighting childhood poverty, with Europe and Central Asia as the only region globally to experience an increase in child poverty measured at the US$6.85 a day.
The most vulnerable children including refugees and migrants, children with disabilities, children from rural areas and children from marginalized communities including Roma are significantly more likely to live in poverty than their peers.
Breaking the poverty cycle
Children suffer poverty differently than adults and are more likely to experience lifelong consequences from it. Poverty and social exclusion often prevent children and families with children from accessing basic services such as healthcare, education, nutritious food, quality housing and childcare.
The European Child Guarantee, through sharing lessons learnt aims to inspire EU Member States to accelerate their work in addressing child poverty and social exclusion and utilize the initiative as a vehicle for implementing the commitments.
For the poorest families, like Silvia’s family in Bulgaria, the EU Child Guarantee works to break the cycle of child poverty and social exclusion.
Roma families in Greece encounter obstacles as they make efforts to improve their living conditions. Around 3 in 5 Roma in Greece experience discrimination because of their origin when looking for housing.
In Serbia, UNICEF is working to strengthen the national framework of social protection and emergency response policies for the protection of the most vulnerable population groups.
To lift children and their families out of poverty and offset the pandemic backslide, UNICEF continues to work with governments to increase access to universal child benefits, design public policy portfolios to reach large households, invest in early childhood, design inclusive social protection programmes and invest in building the shock responsiveness of national social protection systems, to ensure consistent and effective coverage in times of crisis.