Children in the State of Palestine

November 2018

A girl laughing as she holds a dog
UNICEF/State of Palestine/2017/El Baba


UNICEF works in the State of Palestine to help every child attain her or his rights and realize their full potential. To help mobilize support for the children who are most disadvantaged, UNICEF and partners track key indicators, analyse gaps and bottlenecks in the realization of rights. The aim of this publication is to provide up-to-date information about the situation of children, to inform decisions by Palestinian authorities and other duty bearers, including Israeli authorities, donors, partners, and civil society stakeholders. UNICEF uses this data to target programmes and contributes to private and public advocacy efforts.

Major strides have been made in the last decades to improve the situation of children in the State of Palestine, with some social indicators like near universal immunization coverage and high school enrolment rates – including for girls – in primary education, showing progress well beyond other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

But much remains to be done for every Palestinian child to realize his/her full potential. This entails addressing the many obstacles children and young people face in accessing basic services and fulfilling their rights. Such obstacles are due to many factors, not least the very high levels of violence they are exposed to in their schools and communities and as a result of the continuing conflict. 

2.5 million people (a little over half the population) including more than 1 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Almost one- third of Palestinian families live below the poverty line, defined as a monthly income of less than US$640. Unemployment rates are high: 32.4 per cent across the State of Palestine – 53.7 per cent in the Gaza Strip, one of the highest rates in the world, with unemployment reaching 60per cent of youth in the Gaza Strip, where 80per cent of the population relies on some form of humanitarian assistance. Coping mechanisms are eroding fast, with some children and families resorting to negative strategies like school drop-out, child labour, substance abuse and early marriage. 

However, every day Palestinian children display inspiring stories of resilience and hope. Many adolescents demonstrate great skills and talents, a determination to continue to learn and to succeed despite the odds, and a drive to come up with innovative solutions to the problems their communities face and help build a brighter, more peaceful future. 

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UNICEF State of Palestine
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