In the European Union, children are at greater risk of poverty or social exclusion than the rest of the population, says a report published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the 27-nation bloc.
In 2011, 27 percent of children aged less than 18 in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 24 percent of adults (aged 18-64) and 21 percent of the elderly (aged 65 and over).
Persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion are those who are at least in one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially deprived, or living in households with very low work intensity.
In a majority of Member-States, children are more affected by at least one of the three forms of poverty or social exclusion than the other two age groups. In 2011, the highest shares of those aged less than 18 who were at risk of poverty or social exclusion were registered in Bulgaria (52 percent), Romania (49 percent), Latvia (44 percent) and Hungary (40 percent), and the lowest in Sweden, Denmark and Finland (all 16 percent), followed by Slovenia (17 percent), the Netherlands (18 percent) and Austria (19 percent).
These figures are based on data from the EU Statistics on Income and Living Condition (EU-SILC) survey. Among others, the report looks at several factors affecting child poverty, such as the composition of the household in which the children live and the labor market situation of their parents.
Almost one child in two with parents of low education level is at risk of poverty in the EU, according to the report.
Looking in more detail at monetary poverty, almost half of all children whose parents had a low education level (at the most lower secondary education) were at risk of poverty in the EU in 2011, compared with 22 percent of children residing with parents who had a medium education level (at the most upper secondary education) and seven percent of children with parents with a higher education level (tertiary education).
In all Member-States, the risk of poverty for children decreased when the education level of their parents was high. The largest differences between the share of children at risk of poverty who lived in a low and in a high education level household were found in Romania, where 78 percent of children in a low education level household were at the risk of poverty compared with two percent in a high education level household). The Czech Republic (76 percent and five percent), Slovakia (77 percent and seven percent), Bulgaria (71 percent and two percent) and Hungary (68 percent and three percent) followed the Czech Republic, while the smallest differences were recorded in Denmark (17 percent and five percent) and Finland (24 percent and six percent).
Almost one child in three with a migrant background is at risk of poverty in the EU, the study has found.
In the EU, children who have a migrant background, meaning that at least one parent was born in another country than the current country of residence, were at greater risk of monetary poverty than children whose parents were native born. In 2011, 32 percent of children residing with at least one foreign born parent were at risk of poverty in the EU, compared with 18 percent of children whose parents were native born.
This was the case in a majority of Member-States. In Estonia, Hungary and Malta children with native born parents had a higher risk of poverty, while there was almost no difference between the two groups in the Czech Republic.
The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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