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UNICEF: Child Poverty Has Been Rising

Child poverty is on a steady rise across many of the world's richest countries.

What's more it will take targeted government efforts to raise incomes among the poorest families to seriously tackle the problem, according to a United Nations report released earlier this week.

The report from UNICEF said that even in countries such as the United States and Britain where it is on the decline, the overall rates remain high.

The one place where the problem appears to be under control is Scandinavia.

"No matter which of the commonly used poverty measures is applied, the situation of children is seen to have deteriorated over the last decade," said the report.

The United Nations study focused on 24 of the wealthiest nations around the globe.

About 22 percent of young people under the age of 18 in the United States and 28 percent in Mexico live in poverty.

In Denmark the figure is only 2.4 percent, 2.8 in Finland and 3.4 percent in Norway, it said.

UNICEF's Florence-based Innocenti Center, which carried out the study, says children are in poverty when they are living in households with income per head at 50 percent or less of the national average for their country.

But the agency's regional director in Geneva, Philip O'Brien, told a news conference that definition was relative.

"The child living in poverty in the US is clearly not as badly off as the child in Mexico," he said.
The report was based on figures supplied over the past 15 years by national governments to the OECD in Paris, which tracks the economies of its 30 high-income member nations, including the 24 in the Innocenti study.

(China Daily March 4, 2005)


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