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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Child poverty and social protection

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© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0442/Andrew Cullen

Child poverty and disparities in context

Child poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon and can be measured in many ways.  It is imperative that governments make a commitment to child poverty reduction, recognizing and responding to child poverty is the first priority, alongside building expertise and improved approaches to child poverty measurement.  Understanding child poverty to the fullest possible extent is vital. While an adult may fall into poverty temporarily, falling into poverty in childhood can last a lifetime – rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. As such, child poverty threatens not only the individual child, but is likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and even exacerbating inequality in society. UNICEF is working to more fully understand how and where children are experiencing poverty, to allow a more nuanced set of policy responses in national mechanisms such as poverty-reduction strategies.

UNICEF has various on-going projects and tools related to child poverty measurement and influencing policies and programming that address child poverty, among them: 


What it does?

Data source

Monetary and non-monetary approaches to child poverty

Meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing ‘extreme poverty’ involves moving many children out of monetary poverty by 2015 as well as ensuring they are not hungry or malnourished. Recognizing children are often key determinants of monetary poverty risk; UNICEF works on improving child poverty profiles in low income countries that adopt robust ways of identifying poverty across monetary and non-monetary approaches and addresses equity concerns.

Living Standards Measurement type surveys

UNICEF-LIS collaboration mapping child poverty in Middle Income Countries

Recognizing that child poverty is not only present in low income countries, UNICEF has partnered with LIS (http://www.lisdatacenter.org/) for child poverty analysis in Middle Income Countries.

Luxembourg Income Study Database and the Luxembourg Wealth Study Database. These databases contain harmonised microdata from high- and middle-income countries around the world.

Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA)

UNICEF is introducing new approaches to multi-dimensional measurement introduced through child focused Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA), for more information visit: http://www.unicef-irc.org/MODA

Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)

Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities

In 2007 UNICEF launched the Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities a multi-country study that looked at both child deprivations, and policies that address these deprivations.  National reports from these studies have made children a higher priority in many national policy agendas and gave rise to collaborations that are still addressing children’s needs and rights today. Read more about the study

Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)



Towards the end of child poverty

Children bear the brunt of poverty. Read the new Joint Statement [PDF] by global partners on child poverty.