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Cum apare SĂRĂCIA în programele prezidenţiabililor. De la şuturi în fund, la vorbe goale

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29 Oct 2014 la 14:17 19 comentarii 938 vizualizari.

Nu ştiu voi, dar eu, mîine, pe 30 octombrie, ora 16, Piaţa Universităţii mă duc la protest alături de oamenii din Str. Vulturilor daţi afară din case. Trebuie măcar strigat (că altfel situaţia e banalizată, nu mai impresionează pe nimeni nici măcar în campania electorală) împotriva incredibilei cruzimi cu care sînt lăsaţi oameni în stradă după retrocedări şi afaceri imobiliare dubioase.

Tot zilele astea, un raport UNICEF arăta că s-a mărit sărăcia (indicii sînt mai mulţi, cîţi sînt în procesul educaţiei, cîţi sînt angajaţi, etc.) în rîndul copiilor şi tinerilor. România e pe locuri fruntaşe în ignorarea problemei în perioada post-criză. În schimb îi doare foarte tare demografia pe unii dintre ei.

Sărăcia e subiect tabu sau exotic în România. Fie e lăsată în seama unor ONG-uri, în seama bisericii, fie e subiect de reportaj “de culoare”. Fiindcă tot sînt alegeri, m-am uitat prin programele principalilor candidaţi să văd în ce context apar cuvintele din familia “sărăcie”. M-am îngrozit.

Victor Ponta

Sărăcia e pomenită, dar în contextul certurilor cu Cotroceniul. Certurile instituţionale provoacă sărăcia:

Sărăcia este cea mai mare nedreptate a ultimilor 10 ani, iar corectarea ei în următorul deceniu este misiunea fundamentală a viitorului Preşedinte.
Reducerea drastică a sărăciei nu este posibilă decât dacă vor urma 10 ani de stabilitate şi construcţie care să vindece traumele grave provocate în anii pierduţi în scandaluri.

Soluţia e mai curînd dată la mişto. Fondurile europene ar rezolva problema sărăciei. Pînă acum au rezolvat mai curînd problema bogăţiei unora. A, şi regionalizarea va rezolva sărăcia!

Vom face acest lucru prin strategii de luptă împotriva sărăciei, prin continuarea proiectelor de regionalizare, prin direcţionarea fondurilor europene (atrase de Guvernul Ponta de 5 ori mai mult decât guvernele Băsescu-PDL) către astfel de politici şi prin construcţia unui autentic stat social.

Un pasaj  de-a dreptul sadic este acela cînd propune rezolvarea sărăciei tinerilor prin facilitarea readucerii tinerilor cu studii în străinătate înapoi acasă – şi apoi face referire la o asociaţie condusă de un băiat de bancher.

Klaus Iohannis

Două sînt contextele în care e pomenită sărăcia în programul lui Iohannis: 1. spaţiul rural unde Iohannis vrea să încurajeze întreprinzătorii care să scoată satul din sărăcie. 2. demografia – aminteşte de sărăcia care-i paşte pe tineri şi pe copii şi spune că vrea să ajute familiile cu copii. Stilul în care o face opune copiii asistaţi familiilor care au situaţii mai bune. Mută accentul de pe asistenţă socială, pe deduceri de taxe.

În al treilea rând, în perspectiva anului 2016, ca Preşedinte al României, voi propune gândirea unui sistem de deduceri personale pentru persoanele fizice care realizează venituri potrivit Codului Fiscal, ţintit pentru persoanele care au copii în îngrijire. Spre deosebire de deducerile din prezent, cuantumul acestora trebuie să fie sesizabil în bugetul individual sau al gospodăriei.

Măsura este menită să sprijine natalitatea responsabilă. În fine, consider că este necesară întărirea capacităţii de planificare strategică privind politicile în domeniul populaţiei, prin care să fie gestionat riscul declinului demografic. Aceasta presupune depăşirea paradigmei copilului ca subiect al acţiunii de asistenţă socială (protecţia copilului) sau de combatere a sărăciei.

Concluzia: există copii care ALEG ca perverşii asistenţa socială… Altfel cum să înţeleg pasajul cu “paradigma”. Sărăcia nu acceptă planuri pe termeni lung, filozofeli şi altele asemenea. E o urgenţă.

ELENA UDREA

Are una dintre cele mai dure abordări din campania electorală 2014. Sărăcia e un dat, ba chiar poate duce la nemuncă.

Inegalitatea şi sărăcia sunt componente ale societăţii umane, însă responsabilitatea guvernării presupune o alocare corectă a resurselor, nu una nesăbuită care să susţină plata nemuncii. (sursa)

Pe scurt, Udrea pare a transmite asta: sărăcia e normală, dar trebuie pedepsită preventiv!

MONICA MACOVEI

Macovei e în tandem perfect cu Udrea la capitolul sărăcie. Ba chiar plusează cu ceva nuanţe triste “interbelice”:

Nu există prânz gratis: o falsă ieftinire acoperă o scumpire reală, orice cadou electoral se plăteşte mai scump decât merită. Autoarele unora sunt plătite prin munca altora. Cei care beneficiază de ajutoare  trebuie să dea ceva în schimb comunităţii, dacă sunt apţi de muncă.

“Sărăcia” apare pomenită în două contexte. Prima dată aflăm iar că e comunismul de vină:

Proprietatea e sfântă. Furtul comunist și perpetuarea nedreptății au generat sărăcie și suferință.

A doua oară aflăm că sărăcia din rural se combate cu agricultura “de mijloc” – fermieri cu afaceri medii.

Pe mine atît m-au ţinut nervii. Dacă ştiţi chestii tari de la alţi candidaţi, trimiteţi şi completez.

P.S. La Tăriceanu apare doar în sintagma “sărăcie rurală”. La Constantin Rotaru (candidatul Alianţa Socialistă) cuvîntul nu apare. Sigur, nu trebuie să spui cuvântul ca să te preocupe problema, dar poate ar fi fost nimerit să enunţi măcar tema, avînd în vedere gravitatea situaţiei. Niciun candidat nu pomeneşte de situaţia dramatică de working poor, adică angajat care nu iese din sărăcie deşi are salariu.

UNICEF
Innocenti Report Card 12
Children in the Developed World
Children of the Recession
The impact of the economic crisis
on child well-being in rich countries
Innocenti Report Card 12 was written by Gonzalo Fanjul and edited by
Rick Boychuk.
The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti would like to acknowledge
the generous support for Innocenti Report Card 12 provided by the
Government of Italy.
Any part of this Innocenti Report Card may be freely reproduced using
the following reference:
UNICEF Office of Research (2014). ‘Children of the Recession: The
impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries’,
Innocenti Report Card 12, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.
The Report Card series is designed to monitor and compare the
performance of economically advanced countries in securing the
rights and well-being of their children.
In 1988 the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) established a
research centre to support its advocacy for children worldwide and to
identify and research current and future areas of UNICEF’s work. The
prime objectives of the Office of Research are to improve international
understanding of issues relating to children’s rights, to help facilitate
full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
supporting advocacy worldwide. The Office aims to set out a
comprehensive framework for research and knowledge within the
organization, in support of its global programmes and policies. Through
strengthening research partnerships with leading academic institutions
and development networks in both the North and South, the Office
seeks to leverage additional resources and influence in support of
efforts towards policy reform in favour of children.
Publications produced by the Office are contributions to a global debate
on children and child rights issues and include a wide range of
opinions. For that reason, some publications may not necessarily reflect
UNICEF policies or approaches on some topics. The views expressed
are those of the authors and/or editors and are published in order to
stimulate further dialogue on issues affecting children.
Cover photo © Shutterstock
©United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), September 2014
ISBN: 978 88 6522 030 6
ISSN: 1605-7317
UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
Piazza SS. Annunziata, 12
50122 Florence, Italy
Tel: +39 055 2033 0
Fax: +39 055 2033 220
florence@unicef.org
www.unicef-irc.org
Children of the
Recession
The impact of the economic crisis
on child well-being in rich countries
Innocenti Report Card 12
Children in the Developed World
The data and observations in this
Innocenti Report Card reveal a
strong and multifaceted relationship
between the impact of the Great
Recession on national economies
and a decline in children’s well-being
since 2008. Children are suffering
most, and will bear the
consequences longest, in countries
where the recession has hit hardest.
For each country, the extent and
character of the crisis’s impact on
children has been shaped by the
depth of the recession, pre-existing
economic conditions, the strength
of the social safety net and, most
importantly, policy responses.
Remarkably, amid this
unprecedented social crisis, many
countries have managed to limit –
or even reduce – child poverty. It
was by no means inevitable, then,
that children would be the most
enduring victims of the recession.
The impact of the recession
on children
This report offers multiple and
detailed perspectives on how the
recession has affected children in
the developed world. Official data
have been used to rank the impact
on children for countries in the
European Union (EU) and/or the
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development
(OECD):
» In 23 of 41 countries analysed,
and in many of the highly
populated countries, child
poverty (children living in
households whose income is
below the poverty line) has
increased since 2008. In 18
countries child poverty has fallen,
sometimes markedly.
» The number of children entering
into poverty during the recession
is 2.6 million higher than the
number that have been able to
escape from it since 2008
(6.6 million, as against 4 million).
Around 76.5 million children live
in poverty in the 41 most affluent
countries.
» The recession has hit young
people extremely hard, with the
NEET (not in education,
employment or training) rate
rising dramatically in many
countries. In the EU, 7.5 million
young people (almost the
population of Switzerland) were
NEET in 2013 – nearly a million
more than in 2008. The United
States and Australia have had the
largest increases in the NEET rate
across non-EU OECD countries.
» Beyond income and employment
levels, the recession has affected
a number of other important
dimensions of people’s lives. From
2007 to 2013, feelings of insecurity
and stress rose in 18 of the 41
countries, according to measurable
self-perception indicators
(including access to food and
satisfaction with life). The
recession’s impact on personal
experiences and perceptions is
not yet over, and many indicators
have even worsened in the most
recent years.
Universal aftershocks
Those countries most affected by
the recession have seen a steady
deterioration in the situation of
families, mostly from job losses,
underemployment and cuts to
public services. The median income
in households with children has
decreased in almost half of the
countries with available data. The
number of families stating that their
situation is ‘very difficult’ has risen
in most countries. Having a child or
children in a household increases
the risk of ‘working poverty’
(working, but below the poverty
line) from 7 per cent to 11 per cent.
Since 2008, the percentage of
households with children that are
unable to afford meat, chicken or
fish every second day has more
than doubled in Estonia, Greece
and Italy. Inability to cope with
unexpected financial expenses has
increased by almost 60 per cent, on
average, in households with
children in the
12 most affected countries.
Such changes have huge
consequences for the young.
Children feel anxious and stressed
when parents endure
unemployment or income loss, and
they suffer family downturns in
subtle and painfully evident ways.
Housing, a large part of every
family’s budget, is one important
indicator of poverty. Evictions,
mortgage defaults and foreclosures
all spiked in many countries
affected by the recession. Such
constraints at home have been
Children of the Recession
Executive summary
2 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
compounded by weakened safety
nets in healthcare, education and
nutrition. Some 1.6 million more
children were living in severe
material deprivation in 2012
(11.1 million) than in 2008
(9.5 million) in 30 European
countries. The longer these children
remain trapped in the cycle of
poverty, the harder it will be for
them to escape.
Poorer children suffer most
The poorest and most vulnerable
children have suffered
disproportionately. Inequality has
increased in some countries where
overall child poverty has decreased,
suggesting that tax changes and
social transfers intended to help the
poorest children have been
relatively ineffective.
The ‘poverty gap’ (a measure of the
distance between the poverty line
and the income of people below it)
has worsened in countries where
poverty has increased most,
meaning that deprivation in those
countries is more extensive and
intense. It is notable that this
inequality has also increased in
some places where overall child
poverty has decreased. Moreover,
children in particularly vulnerable
situations – such as those in
jobless, migrant, lone-parent and
large households – are overrepresented
in the most severe
ranges of poverty statistics.
In 28 out of 31 European countries
(EU plus Iceland, Norway and
Switzerland) the poverty rate has
increased more rapidly (or has
decreased more slowly) for the
young than for the elderly. In 24 of
the 31 countries, poverty levels
have decreased among the elderly,
while among children they have
increased in 20 countries,
suggesting that safeguards for the
old have been more effective than
for the young.
A generation cast aside
Unemployment among adolescents
and young adults is a significant
long-term effect of the recession.
Among those aged 15–24,
unemployment has increased in 34
of the 41 countries analysed. Youth
unemployment and
underemployment have reached
worrying levels in many countries.
Even when unemployment or
inactivity decreases, that does not
necessarily mean that young people
are finding stable, reasonably paid
jobs. The number of 15- to 24-yearolds
in part-time work or who are
underemployed has tripled on
average in countries more exposed
to the recession. Contract work has
become more common,
contributing to the general
precariousness of labour markets.
An uneven response
Many governments adopted
economic stimulus packages in the
initial phase of the recession,
pushing up public spending. The
persistence of the recession led to
a decrease in national revenues and
an increase in deficits. Pressure
from financial markets forced many
governments to cut budgets. The
Eurozone’s U-turn was particularly
abrupt, and there was a fall in social
spending on children and families.
Social protection responses have
varied considerably in magnitude
and makeup. When budget cuts
became unavoidable in certain
countries, particularly in the
Mediterranean region, the shift from
stimulus to consolidation increased
inequality and contributed to
worsening living conditions for
children. During the second phase
of the recession, the effectiveness
of child poverty reduction efforts
declined in a third of EU countries.
Extreme child poverty in the United
States increased more during the
Great Recession than it did in the
recession of 1982, suggesting that,
for the very poorest, the safety net
affords less protection now than it
did three decades ago.
No government was prepared for
the extent or depth of the recession
and none reacted in the same way.
Many countries with higher levels
of child vulnerability would have
been wise to strengthen their safety
nets during the pre-recession period
of dynamic economic growth,
which was marked by rising
disparity and a growing
concentration of wealth.
Governments that bolstered existing
public institutions and programmes
helped to buffer countless children
from the crisis – a strategy that
others may consider adopting.
E x e c u t i v e s u m m a r y
I n n o c e n t i Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3
The consequences of a Great
Leap Backward
All countries faced difficult choices,
limited budgets and worsening
recessions. The enormity of the
challenges should not be
underestimated. Demand for
austerity measures was intense,
as were pleas from other vulnerable
sectors. Compromises were
undoubtedly necessary.
But if protection policies had been
stronger before, and if they had
been strengthened during the
recession, how many more children
could have been helped?
A calculation of the impact of the
crisis on the median income of
households with children suggests
that, between 2008 and 2012,
Greek families lost the equivalent
of 14 years of progress; Ireland,
Luxembourg and Spain lost a full
decade; and four other nations lost
almost as much. The Great
Recession has brought suffering
and life-long risks to an extra
619,000 children in Italy, 444,000
in France and 2 million in Mexico.
The problems have not ended for
children and their families, and it
may well take years for many of
them to return to pre-crisis levels of
well-being. Failing to respond boldly
could pose long-term risks – for
example, there has been a break in
the upwards trend in fertility rates.
In no region are these risks more
problematic than in Europe, where
inequality is rising within and
between Member States,
threatening to undermine the
ambitious targets of Europe’s
2020 agenda.
The children of the recovery
What lies ahead for children
neglected by the global response
to the Great Recession? If the
neglect persists, the crisis among
children will continue well after
any economic recovery. The longterm
well-being of our societies
is at stake.
The analysis in this report suggests
the following principles and
recommendations for governments
to consider in strengthening child
protection strategies:
» Make an explicit commitment to
end child poverty in developed
countries. Countries should
place the well-being of children
at the top of their responses to
the recession, aligning their
ethical obligations with their
self-interest.
» Rescue, prevent and give hope.
Opportunities to break cycles of
child vulnerability should be
promoted. Guaranteed minimum
social standards would make a
positive difference.
» Produce better data for informed
public debate. Availability,
timeliness and relevance of
information about the well-being
of children should be improved.
4
E x e c u t i v e s u m m a r y
I n n o c e n t i Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
SECTION 1
Introduction
Twenty-five years after the
Convention on the Rights of the Child
became international law, many of its
commitments remain unrealized, and
the developed countries most
capable of delivering on them are
losing ground. The Great Recession,
which was triggered by a financial
meltdown that started in the United
States and spread rapidly across the
globe, has inflicted the economic
crisis on children. The gap between
rich and poor families has widened in
an alarming number of industrialized
countries. For many of these
children, once again place of birth
may determine their rights and
opportunities in life.
As the data in this new edition of
the Innocenti Report Card series
show, in the past five years, rising
numbers of children and their
families have experienced difficulty
in satisfying their most basic
material and educational needs.
Unemployment rates not seen since
the Great Depression of the 1930s
have left many families unable to
provide the care, protection and
opportunities to which children are
entitled. Most importantly, the
Great Recession is about to trap
a generation of educated and
capable youth in a limbo of
unmet expectations and lasting
vulnerability.
To be sure, the situation described
here varies from country to
country. A small but significant
group of countries responded to
the crisis with ambitious and
timely plans that have sheltered
children from the recession’s
most debilitating consequences.
Many others have implemented
partial reforms to safeguard such
essentials as health services,
housing and food. In some cases,
the honest efforts of governments
have been hindered by the weight
of the conditions imposed on
them by the financial markets
and the providers of financial
assistance.
“The child should be fully prepared to live
an individual life in society, and brought up
in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the
Charter of the United Nations, and in
particular in the spirit of peace, dignity,
tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.”
– Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2 5
This report is not intended to
recommend specific responses to
the economic downturn or to
comment on the austerity policies
that some countries are pursuing.
Rather, its goal is to highlight the
fact that the current and future lives
of children have been – and are
being – neglected in the global
response to the Great Recession.
Should this neglect persist, the
crisis for children will continue
to be felt well after the economic
recovery. The long-term social
health of our societies is at risk. If
generations have defining moments,
this is certainly one of them.
The structure of the report is as
follows: Section 2 features ‘league
tables’, the flagship tool of the
Innocenti Report Card series. The
tables rank the change, since the
onset of the crisis, in the poverty
levels of children; the impact of the
recession on youth; and what
repeated rounds of the Gallup
World Poll show about the change
in people’s perceptions of their life
circumstances over the past five
years. Section 3 describes the
impact of the Great Recession on
families, analysing the magnitude of
the shock on children and
comparing it with the condition of
other social groups. It also explores
the effects of the recession on
youth seeking to enter or remain in
the labour force in the middle of a
recession. Section 4 offers an
explanation for why this happened,
looking at the period that preceded
the crisis and describing the
responses of different
governments. Section 5 presents
conclusions and recommendations.
6
S E C T I O N 1 I ntr o d u ction
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Surveys and polls produced in the
European Union (EU) and/or the
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development
(OECD) countries offer valuable
insights into the impact of the
recession on children and families.
Using such data, three important
rankings have been constructed:
the evolution of child poverty by
country since 2008; the change in
the rate of young people not in
education, employment or training
(NEET); and individuals’ selfperception
of their living conditions.
Each of these league tables
describes a different dimension of
a complex concept – how children
have fared during the Great
Recession. The first covers
monetary poverty, a measure of the
availability of resources to purchase
goods and services to ensure
material well-being. The second
ranking reports on the schooling
and employment status of young
adults, who have arguably been the
hardest hit during this period. And
our third league table is somewhat
innovative, employing data from
the Gallup World Poll to see what
individuals themselves say about
their experiences during these
tumultuous economic times.
SECTION 2
The league tables
The rankings focus on 2007/2008
up to the latest period for which
data are available. A light blue
background indicates a place in
the top third of the table, mid
blue denotes the middle third,
and dark blue the bottom third.
While some macroeconomic
indicators in most affluent
countries show signs of recovery,
economic growth is slow and
unemployment remains
abnormally high. The impact of
the recession on children, in
particular, will be felt long after
the recession itself is declared
to be over.
Countries should place the well-being of
children at the top of their responses to the
recession. Not only is this a moral obligation
but it is in the self-interest of societies.
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2 7
0 10 20 30 40 50
Iceland
Greece
Latvia
Croatia
Ireland
Lithuania
Spain
Luxembourg
Italy
Estonia
Mexico
France
Hungary
Cyprus
United States
Slovenia
United Kingdom
Denmark
Portugal
Netherlands
Malta
Bulgaria
Israel
Germany
Czech Republic
New Zealand
Austria
Sweden
Belgium
Romania
Canada
Japan
Turkey
Finland
Republic of Korea
Norway
Switzerland
Slovakia
Australia
Poland
Chile
Child poverty rate
2008 2012
31.4
22.8
22.4
14.5
19.2
13.0
16.7
11.1
19.5
14.7
9.6
5.3
16.8
13.4
12.0
8.8
33.0
30.2
21.7
19.0
23.2
20.8
32.9
30.6
17.2
16.4
12.9
12.1
14.9
14.2
18.8
18.4
13.2
12.8
15.2
15.0
35.1
35.6
25.5
26.1
20.4
21.0
12.9
13.9
22.8
23.8
9.1
10.2
24.0
25.6
11.6
13.4
30.1
32.2
14.0
16.7
19.7
22.6
15.6
18.6
29.3
34.3
17.1
22.2
24.7
30.4
19.8
26.3
28.2
36.3
22.8
31.1
18.0
28.6
15.8
27.6
23.6
38.2
23.0
40.5
11.2
31.6
League Table 1 Change in child poverty (anchored in 2008)
Rank Country
Change
(2008–2012)
1 Chile -8.67
2 Poland -7.90
3 Australia -6.27
4 Slovakia -5.60
5 Switzerland -4.80
6 Norway -4.30
7 Republic of Korea -3.40
8 Finland -3.20
9 Turkey -2.76
10 Japan -2.70
11 Canada -2.44
12 Romania -2.30
13 Belgium -0.80
13 Sweden -0.80
15 Austria -0.70
16 New Zealand -0.40
17 Czech Republic -0.40
18 Germany -0.20
19 Israel 0.55
20 Bulgaria 0.60
20 Malta 0.60
22 Netherlands 1.00
22 Portugal 1.00
24 Denmark 1.10
25 United Kingdom 1.60
26 Slovenia 1.80
27 United States 2.06
28 Cyprus 2.70
29 Hungary 2.90
30 France 3.00
31 Mexico 5.00
32 Estonia 5.10
33 Italy 5.70
34 Luxembourg 6.50
35 Spain 8.10
36 Lithuania 8.30
37 Ireland 10.60
38 Croatia 11.80
39 Latvia 14.60
40 Greece 17.50
41 Iceland 20.40
See data sources and notes on page 44.
8
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2
A commonly used indicator of child
poverty is the proportion of those
living below an established poverty
line. League Table 1 ranks the
change in child poverty in 41 EU
and/or OECD countries between
2008 and 2012. This change is
calculated by computing child
poverty in 2008 using a poverty line
fixed at 60 per cent of median
income. Using the same poverty line
in 2012, adjusted for inflation, the
rate is computed and the difference
in the two rates is shown. A positive
number indicates an increase in
child poverty. Additional
explanations of these trends are
provided in Section 3.
Key findings:
» The impact of the recession can
be felt in more than half of the 41
countries (and in most of the
highly populated countries) listed
in League Table 1. In 23
countries, the income poverty of
children has increased since
2008, with wide variations among
countries (from 0.55 percentage
points in Israel to 20.40
percentage points in Iceland).
» The largest increase in child
poverty has been in southern
European countries – Greece,
Italy and Spain – as well as in
Croatia, the three Baltic States
and three other states that have
been hard hit by the recession:
Iceland, Ireland and Luxembourg.
In the five countries at the
bottom of the table, child poverty
rose by 10 to 20 points – an
increase of over 50 per cent.
» In a remarkable group of
18 countries, families and
governments found some
way to cope with the worst
consequences of the recession
and saw their child poverty
numbers reduced. This is the
case in Chile, Finland, Norway,
Poland and Slovakia, all of which
reduced poverty levels by some
30 per cent.
» The number of children entering
into poverty during the recession
is 2.6 million higher than the
number that have been able to
escape it since 2008 (6.6 million,
versus 4 million). Around
76.5 million children live in
poverty in the 41 most affluent
countries.
» In a surprisingly high number of
cases, average comparisons hide
the scale of the situation. In over
half of the countries, more than
one child in five lives in poverty.
Greece, Latvia and Spain have
child poverty of above 36 per
cent. In the United States, child
poverty is 32 per cent, and in
Italy it is 30 per cent.
Interpreting the data – League Table 1
Poverty in affluent countries is usually measured using a relative
poverty line defined at either 50 per cent or 60 per cent of median
annual income. Using this approach, changes in poverty over time
reflect changes in income and changes in the distribution of income.
This report, however, uses a fixed reference point, anchored to the
relative poverty line in 2008, as a benchmark against which to
assess the absolute change in child poverty over time. This measure
is particularly useful for assessing impacts of the recession, when
incomes of the entire population may be changing, and when
individuals compare their income to that of their neighbours, as well
as to their own circumstances before the crisis.
Using a relative poverty line each year obscures the impact on
poverty of the overall decline in median income. In the United
Kingdom, for example, relative child poverty decreased from
24 per cent in 2008 to 18.6 per cent in 2012 due to a sharp decline
in median income and the subsequent lowering of the relative
poverty line. Using the anchored indicator, it actually increased from
24.0 per cent to 25.6 per cent from the start of the recession.
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2 9
0 10 20 30 40
Cyprus
Greece
Croatia
Romania
Italy
Bulgaria
Spain
Hungary
Portugal
Poland
United States
Slovenia
Slovakia
Belgium
Estonia
Czech Republic
Lithuania
Australia
Denmark
Netherlands
Malta
Latvia
Finland
Norway
Chile
Republic of Korea
United Kingdom
Ireland
Iceland
France
Israel
Switzerland
New Zealand
Austria
Canada
Sweden
Mexico
Luxembourg
Japan
Germany
Turkey
NEET rate (%)
2008 2013
37.0
25.5
8.4
6.3
8.5
6.9
6.2
5.0
21.5
21.1
7.8
7.5
7.1
7.1
9.6
9.6
12.9
13.7
6.3
7.1
29.8
30.7
10.2
11.2
4.5
5.5
14.9
16.1
14.6
15.8
11.8
13.0
12.1
13.3
19.0
20.5
7.8
9.3
4.1
5.6
4.3
6.0
3.4
5.1
8.3
10.0
9.9
12.2
8.8
11.1
6.7
9.1
10.1
12.7
8.7
11.3
11.1
13.7
6.5
9.2
12.0
15.0
9.0
12.2
11.5
15.4
10.3
14.2
17.4
21.6
14.3
18.6
16.6
22.2
11.6
17.2
10.1
18.6
11.7
20.6
9.7
18.7
League Table 2 Youth aged 15 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET), percentage
Rank Country
Change
(2008–2013)
1 Turkey -11.5
2 Germany -2.1
3 Japan -1.5
4 Luxembourg -1.2
5 Mexico -0.4
6 Sweden -0.3
7 Austria 0.0
7 Canada 0.0
9 New Zealand 0.8
10 Switzerland 0.8
11 Israel 0.9
12 France 1.0
12 Iceland 1.0
14 Ireland 1.2
14 Latvia 1.2
14 Republic of Korea 1.2
14 United Kingdom 1.2
18 Chile 1.5
18 Finland 1.5
18 Norway 1.5
21 Denmark 1.7
21 Malta 1.7
21 Netherlands 1.7
24 Australia 2.3
25 Lithuania 2.3
26 Czech Republic 2.4
27 Belgium 2.6
27 Estonia 2.6
27 Slovakia 2.6
30 Slovenia 2.7
31 United States 3.0
32 Poland 3.2
33 Hungary 3.9
33 Portugal 3.9
35 Bulgaria 4.2
36 Spain 4.3
37 Italy 5.6
37 Romania 5.6
39 Croatia 8.5
40 Greece 8.9
41 Cyprus 9.0
See data sources and notes on page 44.
1 0
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2
The NEET rate is the percentage of
young people aged 15 to 24 who
are not participating in education,
employment or training. League
Table 2 shows the NEET ranking of
the 41 countries between 2008
and 2013.
Key findings:
» The recession hit young people
extremely hard, with the NEET
rate rising dramatically in most
EU countries. The largest
absolute increases were in
Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy
and Romania, all with relative
changes of around 30 per cent
or higher.
» Across the EU, 7.5 million young
people (almost the entire
population of Switzerland) were
NEET in 2013, nearly a million
more than in 2008. In Italy alone,
more than a million young
people aged 15–24 were neither
studying nor working in 2013.
» Of the OECD countries that are
not in the European Union, the
United States saw the largest
increase in the NEET rate,
followed by Australia.
» Across all the countries, the
sharpest NEET rate decrease was
in Turkey. Even so, that country
retained the highest rate in the
comparison: one young person in
four was NEET in 2013. Similarly
in Mexico, though the NEET rate
has remained stable, one young
person in five was NEET.
» Generally speaking, young people
have suffered more in countries
that have seen a greater decline
in economic output. The two
notable exceptions are
Luxembourg (where the NEET
rate fell during a specific period
of economic turbulence) and
Poland (where the NEET rate
increased, despite sustained
economic growth).
» In countries such as Croatia and
Greece, the deterioration in the
circumstances of youth went
hand in hand with an increase in
child poverty, but there does not
appear to be a strong relationship
between the two. Iceland
mitigated a rise in the NEET rate
despite a dramatic increase in
child poverty, while Romania saw
the NEET rate rise even as child
poverty fell.
Interpreting the data – League Table 2
High NEET rates suggest an interrupted transition from school to
work, or from school to further education, with long-term individual
and societal costs. Increases in the NEET rate reflect the recession’s
impact on a generation of young people; the kind of productive
adulthood their parents took for granted is slipping away.
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2 1 1
League Table 3 How people say their lives have changed
What people say about their living situation when asked…
Country rankings based on change 2007–2013, Gallup World Poll. Figures in columns 1 to 4 show the relative
position of each country in relation to the rest, and column 5 indicates the number of these indicators that had
worsened in each country between 2007 and 2013.
Countries ranked based on change 2007–2013 Direction of
change Recent Impact
Country
1 Have there been
times in the past
12 months when you
did not have enough
money to buy food
that you or your family
needed?
2 Did you
experience
stress today?
3 Overall
satisfaction
with life?
4 Do most
children in
(country) have
the opportunity
to learn and grow
every day, or not?
5 Number of
indicators
worsening
2007–2013
6 ! = >2
indicators
worsened
2011–2013
Germany 4 9 3 6 0
Switzerland 3 12 8 11 1
Israel 4 29 6 2 1 !
Slovakia 26 13 3 4 2
Chile 1 32 1 14 1
Iceland 18 16 3 11 2
Australia 13 6 15 15 1
Austria 4 16 8 21 2
Japan 8 7 27 8 1
Bulgaria 1 n.a. 11 29 1
Latvia 28 15 7 5 2
Sweden 4 11 10 34 2
Denmark 8 9 28 15 1
Mexico 23 8 2 28 2
Lithuania 29 4 28 1 2
Republic of Korea 32 2 12 17 1 !
Norway 16 21 15 11 2
Czech Republic 8 25 12 19 1
France 26 5 15 19 1
Malta 20 25 15 8 2
Poland 18 20 28 3 3
United Kingdom 8 25 15 21 2 !
Belgium 13 18 24 17 3
Italy 13 21 36 8 3
Luxembourg 16 25 15 26 3 !
New Zealand 23 1 31 31 3
Canada 8 32 15 34 2
Hungary 41 18 24 6 3
Estonia 35 13 15 36 3 !
Croatia 29 n.a. 15 33 2
Netherlands 29 30 24 21 4 !
Romania 32 3 33 37 3
Slovenia 20 34 12 39 3
Finland 20 34 31 21 4
United States 37 21 33 21 4 !
Portugal 35 21 35 31 4 !
Spain 23 30 40 38 4 !
Ireland 32 36 38 30 4 !
Turkey 40 38 37 27 4 !
Cyprus 38 37 38 40 4 !
Greece 39 39 41 41 4 !
See data sources and notes on page 44
1 2
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2
Another way of looking at the impact
of the Great Recession is simply to
ask people about their experiences
and perceptions. The Gallup World
Poll does that every year, using a
representative sample of 1,000
respondents in each country. The
four questions in League Table 3
come from those polls.
Key findings:
» Beyond income and
employment levels, the
recession affected a number
of other dimensions of
people’s lives. In 18 of the 41
countries, three or more of
these indicators reveal rising
feelings of insecurity and
stress from 2007 to 2013. The
most severely affected
countries are clustered at the
bottom of the table.
» In 29 of the 41 countries, the
survey shows an increase in the
percentage of respondents who
reported not having enough money
to buy food for themselves and
their family. Again in 29 countries,
the stress indicator increased. In
almost half of the countries, overall
life satisfaction decreased. And in
21 of the 41 countries, fewer
respondents agreed with the
statement that children have the
opportunity to learn and grow.
» In terms of its impact on personal
experiences and perceptions, the
recession is certainly not over. In
13 countries, negative responses
to three or four questions were still
rising between 2011 and 2013,
particularly in countries such as
Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Israel, the
Netherlands, Spain and Turkey.
» Some of the trends indicate that
dramatic societal changes are
under way. In Greece, the share
of respondents saying they
“experienced stress today”
jumped from 49 per cent in 2006
to 74 per cent in 2013. In the
United States, the share of
respondents that have
experienced not having enough
money to buy food doubled, from
10 per cent to 20 per cent. The
share of respondents who think
children have an opportunity to
learn and grow dropped by
between 10 and 20 percentage
points in five countries:
Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Spain
and Romania.
Summary
The overall evidence from our three
league tables paints a vivid picture
of how children and families have
fared during the Great Recession.
Although each league table
provides somewhat different
dimensions of well-being, countries
like Croatia, Greece and Spain are
consistently placed in the bottom
third across all dimensions,
highlighting how badly they have
been hit by the recession. On the
other hand, some relatively wealthy
countries (such as Canada, Finland,
the Netherlands and the United
States) have seen only small
increases – or even declines – in
child poverty and yet rank in the
bottom third of the Gallup league
table, suggesting that monetary
poverty alone does not tell the
whole story of the well-being of
families during this period. The next
sections of the report provide more
details behind these aggregate
numbers, in order to help us
understand who suffered most and
how countries responded.
Interpreting the data – League Table 3
Countries are ranked based on their average score across the four
indicators, each of which measures how responses changed
between 2007 and 2013. The highest number indicates the sharpest
change. Column 5 indicates how many of the responses to the four
were negative over the full period. Note that these data are collected
in a different way from those reported in official statistics and should
be interpreted with care when it comes to individual data points.i
Due to data availability, the numbers in the table refer to the
population in general, not to families with children. However, for the
question on not having enough money to buy food, it was possible
to disaggregate respondents living in families with children for a
subset of 31 countries. In the 10 countries where responses changed
the most, the increase was even higher in families with children (in
all but one country).
i For a more in-depth exploration of the Gallup World Poll, as well as a
validation exercise where Gallup World Poll indicators are compared to
corresponding indicators from other established data sources, see:
Holmqvist, G. and L. Natali, ‘Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis
using Gallup World Poll Data: A note’, Innocenti Working Paper 2014-14,
UNICEF Office of Research, Florence, 2014.
S E C T I O N 2 T h e l e a g u e t a b l es
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2 1 3
This section presents arguments
and data that show how the global
financial shock and ensuing
recession turned into a crisis for
children. It reveals a strong
correlation between the extent to
which the recession ravaged
national economies and the decline
in child well-being since 2008. In
countries where the Great
Recession hit hardest, children are
suffering the most and will bear the
consequences the longest. Below, a
conceptual framework traces the
paths that increased the risks to
children and weakened the ability of
families and states to mitigate those
risks. The variables triggering the
risks are numerous and diverse in
intensity and duration. Two factors
prove particularly important for
households with children: the
position of parents in the labour
market and the depleted capacity of
states to protect families.
SECTION 3
How a financial crisis turned
into a crisis for children
Bearing in mind that the recession was different in each country, we
have separated the countries into three groups, in order to assess
their exposure to the crisis: most, moderately and least affected.i
Most affected: a) Countries that are supported by International
Monetary Fund (IMF)/EU/European Central Bank programmes and
that promptly implemented fiscal adjustments: Estonia, Hungary,
Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania. b) Countries with evident fiscal
problems that experienced market pressure (with a Credit Default
Swap spread higher than 500 in 2012): Croatia, Cyprus, Greece,
Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Moderately affected: Countries that are highly indebted (more than
60 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)) or that suffered a
large debt increase (more than the average): Austria, Belgium,
Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Malta, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United
Kingdom and the United States.
Least affected: Countries least affected by the crisis:i i Australia,
Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Luxembourg, Mexico,
Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
i For a more extensive explanation of the rationale behind this
classification see: Natali, L., B. Martorano, S. Handa, G. Holmqvist and
Y. Chzhen, ‘Trends in Child Well-being in EU Countries during the Great
Recession: A cross-country comparative perspective’, Innocenti Working
Paper 2014-10, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence, 2014.
i i Although Luxembourg and Mexico suffered more than other countries
during the recent economic crisis, they are included in the least affected
group because a) they did not come under intense market pressure and
b) debt levels were lower than 60 per cent of GDP. More detail about
these two countries is reported in Natali et al. ‘Trends in Child Well-being
in EU Countries during the Great Recession’.
Box 1 Measuring the exposure
to the Great Recession
1 4 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
Trapped in the cycle of poverty
Children rarely manage to sidestep
the stress and suffering of parents
enduring unemployment or a
significant reduction in income.
They experience downturns in
family fortunes in both subtle and
painfully evident ways. They suffer
minor slights and major humiliations
in front of friends and classmates.
They are consciously or
unconsciously affected by changes
in their diets, the elimination of
sports, music or other activities, or
a lack of funds to buy school
materials. Extreme circumstances
may force their families from their
homes or even their countries.
Poverty is a self-reinforcing cycle.
A child with unemployed parents
may do less well at school. Doing
less well at school may bring
more stress at home. And so on.
The longer a child is locked in the
cycle, the fewer the possibilities
of escape.
Global financial crisis
sovereign debt, economic crisis
The crisis originated in the banking and housing sectors in developed
countries and rapidly spread to other parts of the world. Although it
started as a financial crisis, it quickly evolved into an economic crisis, and
in several European countries took the form of a sovereign debt crisis.
Policies to contain the
negative consequences of
the macroeconomic shock
In the majority of the cases
monetary policy was
accommodating but
inadequate, since policy
interest rates were close to
zero. Many countries
depreciated their national
currencies to counter the
drop in international demand.
However, in the majority of
cases the only tool available
to policymakers was fiscal
policy (e.g. Eurozone).
Governments also
implemented active and
passive labour market policies.
Transmission channels
Labour market: The decrease in demand for goods and services led to a
reduction in jobs and a tightening of labour conditions, provoking a drop
in household income.
Financial market: Loss in private wealth due to asset deterioration and
restricted access to credit.
Public sector channel: Rapid deterioration of public finances prompted
aggressive austerity programmes and diverse responses in the form of
higher taxes and/or lower spending on public services.
Household impact
Reduced income due to
unemployment, increased
taxes and reduced transfers
Family asset depletion
Deterioration in access to
and quality of services
Direct impact on children and youth
Material deprivation
Nutrition/food security
Human capital investment
1. Health
2. Education
Reduced consumption
Stress and domestic violence
Lack of nurture and care
Social exclusion
Policy responses
Mental health
Protection
Employment opportunities
Fertility
Social protection
system responses:
Automatic stabilizers,
such as unemployment
insurance and
minimum income.
Discretionary policies,
such as cash payments
in the early period and
cuts in public spending
with different priorities
in the second period.
Conceptual framework: How did the financial crisis turn into a crisis for children?
Source: Natali et al. ‘Trends in Child Well-being in EU Countries during the Great Recession’.
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 1 5
Difficulty making ends meet
Figure 1 and Figure 2 show the
evolution of median income in
European households1 with
children, and the percentage of
those households that are having
great difficulty in making ends
meet. The households are
categorized according to the
exposure of their national
economies to the recession (see
Box 1). The first case shows a
group of 14 (out of 30) countries
whose median income decreased,
with sharp falls in Ireland, Spain and
the United Kingdom (all around
15 per cent), and even larger drops
in Greece, Iceland and Latvia (all
24 per cent or higher).
These trends are confirmed in
Figure 3, which reports how
families say their circumstances
have changed. The proportion of
households stating that their
situation is ‘very difficult’ has risen
on average in all categories, with
the greatest intensity in the
countries most affected.2
Children with workless parents
Labour market exclusion and cuts
in social transfers appear to be the
underlying factors driving these
changes. From 2008 to 2012, the
proportion of households where all
adults were workless increased
most in those countries with the
highest incidence of child poverty.3
The results of our own research
show that the proportion of children
up to age 17 living in jobless
households nearly doubled in
Portugal and Spain, and nearly
tripled in Denmark. The largest
absolute increases (above 5 per
cent) were in Bulgaria, Greece,
Ireland and Spain.
80
90
100
110
120
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Most affected Moderately affected Least affected
Year
Median income – hhs
with children
Figure 1 Median income in European households with children
(per exposure)
Source: Eurostat. Median income is expressed in 2007 prices, national currency.
Note: No data for Cyprus, Croatia, Slovakia and Turkey.
80
100
140
120
160
180
200
2006 2008 2010 2012
Most affected Moderately affected Least affected
Year
Hhs with children making ends
meet with great difficulty
Figure 2 European households with children making ends meet with great
difficulty (per exposure)
Source: Eurostat.
Note: No data for Turkey and Croatia; Switzerland (2006); Ireland (2012).
80
90
100
110
120
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Most affected Moderately affected Least affected
Year
Very difficult to live on
household income
Figure 3 Proportion of households reporting that their feeling about
household income is ‘very difficult’ (per exposure)
Source: Gallup World Poll.
Note: Out of the 41 countries covered in this report, the following are not included in this figure:
Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia
and Switzerland.
1 6
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Figure 4 shows these trends by the
exposure of the different groups to
the recession. The implications of
this rise in unemployment were
highlighted by the OECD in a recent
report: “With more than one in eight
working-age individuals in most
countries now living in workless
households, the success of
redistribution measures and active
social policies is gauged to a large
extent on whether they can improve
economic security for families
without any income from work.”4
The working poor and other
vulnerable groups
Households with two children have
spending needs that are, on
average, 40 per cent higher than
comparable families without
children.5 As a consequence,
households with children are much
more likely to be poor. Add in other
layers of vulnerability – such as
100
120
140
160
180
2006 2008 2010 2012
Most affected Moderately affected Least affected
Year
Children 0-17 living in jobless
households
Figure 4 Children in jobless households (per exposure)
-10
0
10
20
30
40
50
Change (2008–2012) 2008 2012
Hungary
Greece
Cyprus
Latvia
Italy
Malta
United Kingdom
Bulgaria
Ireland
Lithuania
Estonia
Iceland
Spain
Belgium
Denmark
Netherlands
Luxembourg
Slovenia
France
Czech Republic
Sweden
Finland
Norway
Slovakia
Romania
Portugal
Austria
Switzerland
Germany
Poland
Per cent
Figure 5 Change in severe child material deprivation in Europe (2008–2012)
migrant or lone-parent families – and
the risks multiply. Having a child or
children in a household increases
the risk of ‘working poverty’
(working, but below the poverty line)
from 7 per cent to 11 per cent. For
lone parents, this almost doubles
(20.2 per cent).6 In the most affected
countries, the proportion of
households with children unable to
face unexpected financial expenses
has increased by almost 60 per
cent, on average. For many
households, their toehold on the
lower rungs of middle-class life is
increasingly fragile (see Box 2).
Source: Eurostat.
Note: No data for Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden.
Source: Eurostat.
Note: No data for Croatia.
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 1 7
Box 2 Europe: Less income, less protection,
more material deprivation
The overall picture of material well-being of families
is broadly captured by the ‘severe material
deprivation’ indicator. Children (0–17) are considered
to be severely materially deprived when the
household in which they live cannot afford at least
four of the following nine items: 1) to pay rent,
mortgage or utilities; 2) to keep the home adequately
warm; 3) to face unexpected expenses; 4) to eat
meat or proteins regularly; 5) to take a holiday; 6) to
have a television; 7) to have a washing machine;
8) to have a car; 9) to have a telephone. In contrast
to purely monetary measures of the financial
resources of households, this indicator shows the
satisfaction of material fundamental needs.i
In 2008, there was an abrupt break in the positive
trend of previous years. In the first phase of the
recession (2008–2010), the proportion of children
with severe material deprivation increased sharply in
the countries most affected by the Great Recession,
and was relatively stable in the remaining countries.
After 2010, deprivation worsened, on average,
everywhere. Two-thirds of the European countries in
this analysis saw material deprivation worsen after
2008 (see Figure 5), with the largest absolute
increases in Cyprus, Greece and Hungary. In relative
terms, the severe child material deprivation rate
doubled in Greece and tripled in Iceland, albeit from
a very low base. In the group of hard-hit countries,
the proportion of severely deprived children nearly
doubled in four years.
The magnitude of this change is worthy of note. The
absolute number of children living in severe material
deprivation in the 30 European countries analysed
was 11.1 million in 2012 –1.6 million more than in
2008. This trend is the result of a net effect that
includes substantial decreases (more than 300,000
fewer deprived children in Germany and Poland) and
unprecedented increases in four countries (Greece,
Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom).i i Almost half of
the severely materially deprived children (44 per
cent) in 2012 lived in three countries: Italy (16 per
cent), Romania (14 per cent) and the United Kingdom
(14 per cent).
Provisional estimates for 2013 show that some
countries – notably Estonia and Latvia – started on
the road to recovery in 2012. However, there are still
reasons to be concerned. The deterioration in the
severe material deprivation indicator is mainly related
to the first five components on the list, those most
sensitive to household income. The last four
deprivation items – the so-called ‘durables’ – are
likely to worsen in the latter phase, as the recession
continues and families are unable to repair or replace
their assets.i i i
Material deprivation and income poverty can be
combined for a more complete story of the impact of
the recession on households with children. Figure 6
shows that in Greece and Iceland – the two countries
at the bottom of the child poverty league table – not
only has the absolute number of poor children risen
dramatically, but it has done so in the context of
increased severe material deprivation. The proportion
of children who are income poor and severely
deprived has tripled in Greece and quadrupled in
Iceland.
i de Neubourg, C., J. Bradshaw, Y. Chzhen, G. Main, B.
Martorano and L. Menchini, ‘Child Deprivation,
Multidimensional Poverty and Monetary Poverty in
Europe’, Innocenti Working Paper No. 2012-02, UNICEF
Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, 2012, p. 1.
i i There was a break in 2012 in the United Kingdom
series: the figures should be interpreted with caution.
i i i McKnight, A., ‘Measuring Material Deprivation over
the Economic Crisis: Does a re-evaluation of “need”
affect measures of material deprivation?’, Gini Policy
Paper 4, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London
School of Economics, 2013. www.gini-research.org/
system/uploads/553/original/PP4.pdf?1380631527
1 8
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I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Total poor 23.0
Poor only 16.9
Total deprived 10.4
Deprived only 4.3
Poor and deprived 6.2
Neither poor nor 72.7
deprived
Greece 2008
Total poor 11.2
Poor only 10.7
Total deprived 0.9
Deprived only 0.4
Poor and deprived 0.6
Neither poor nor 88.4
deprived
Iceland 2008
Total poor 40.5
Poor only 22.6
Total deprived 20.9
Deprived only 2.9
Poor and deprived 17.9
Neither poor nor 56.6
deprived
Greece 2012
Total poor 31.6
Poor only 29.1
Total deprived 3.1
Deprived only 0.6
Poor and deprived 2.6
Neither poor nor 67.8
deprived
Iceland 2012
Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Per cent
Figure 6 Child poverty and severe material deprivation in Greece
and Iceland (2008 and 2012)
Food, shelter and nurture
A shortfall in family income is
particularly hard on children. The
food they eat, where they live, the
time they spend with parents and
friends, and the public services to
which they are entitled – these are
important factors that determine
their well-being.
Access to food
Daily nutritional intake and the
consumption of nutritious food, such
as fish and vegetables, declined in
the most affected countries during
the recession. After 2008, the
percentage of households with
children unable to afford a meal with
meat, chicken, fish (or a vegetable
equivalent) every second day more
than doubled in Estonia, Greece,
Iceland and Italy, reaching 10 per
cent, 18 per cent, 6 per cent and 16
per cent, respectively, in 2012.
UNICEF National Committees report
that diverse public and private
initiatives have sprung up across
Europe to combat the increasing
problem of malnutrition, including
school meal programmes, food
banks and meal vouchers.
Furthermore, some 9 million poor
women and children in the United
States receive federal food
assistance annually,7 with more than
47 million Americans living in
households that have difficulty in
putting food on the table.8 Between
2008 and 2013, the use of food
banks by families in Canada
increased by 23 per cent.9
Housing conditions
Evictions, mortgage defaults and
foreclosures have been a tragic
reality in a number of countries hit by
the recession. In Spain, 244,000
evictions were registered from 2008
to 2012 by the European Federation
of Public, Cooperative & Social
Housing. In Ireland, 400,000
Source: EU-SILC.
mortgages were in negative equity
in 2013. In Greece, at least 60,000
house owners faced immediate
danger of eviction in 2013.10 In the
United States, where the financial
crisis began, more than 13 million
foreclosures have been filed since
2008. The recession has also
affected savings and economic
opportunities throughout the
country.11
The cost of housing may be a
challenge for many people long
before evictions and foreclosures
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 1 9
take place. Rent, mortgage
payments and other housing costs
are generally the largest
expenditure in a family budget. The
proportion of children in families
overburdened by housing costs has
increased in 19 European countries
since 2008.12 In some cases, lack of
access to affordable housing leads
to homelessness of children and
other extreme consequences.13
Parental time and care
The quantity and quality of time that
parents spend with their children is
affected by income reductions and
contextual stress. Loss of parental
time is more acute in poorer
families, contrary to conventional
wisdom.14 Long working hours, less
help at home and a lack of leisure
activities can have a debilitating
effect on family relationships,
affecting children in critical periods
of intellectual and emotional
development. For separated or
divorced couples in Italy, for
instance, income constraints caused
by the recession add to the
pressure on already stressed
relationships.15 Trends in violence
against children also feel an impact:
in the United States, the drop in
consumer confidence since 2007
has been associated with a
considerable increase in the
incidence of mothers hitting their
children frequently. We find that the
large decline in consumer
confidence during the Great
Recession, as measured by the
Consumer Sentiment Index, has
been associated with worse
parenting behaviour. In particular,
lower levels of consumer
confidence are associated with
increased levels of high-frequency
spanking, a parenting behaviour that
is associated with greater likelihood
of being contacted by child
protective services.16
Essential services
As family incomes decrease and
contextual conditions deteriorate, so
risk in children’s lives increases. And
the capacity of governments and
public institutions to protect them
has not improved accordingly in
critical areas such as health and
education. In European countries
that have been moderately and
severely affected by the recession,
the proportion of young adults with
unmet health needs has increased
significantly since 2008. More than a
third of OECD countries reduced
public education spending after
2010, and several more froze it.17
These cuts will have both short-term
and long-term impacts.
Have children suffered most?
How does an economic crisis affect
inequality? Inequality can lessen if
better-off households lose income,
while poorer sectors of society
remain protected by existing public
policies and safety nets. But
inequality can worsen if the weight
of the recession falls on the weakest
in the income chain. In the end, how
the impacts are spread depends less
on the depth of the recession and
more on the existing economic
structure and social safety nets and,
most importantly, on policy
responses.
To assess whether the impact of the
recession did fall disproportionately
on children, the situation of average
children was compared to that of
the poorest children in the income
distribution chain. The impact on
children in particularly vulnerable
groups, such as migrants, loneparent
families and workless
households, was also assessed, as
were the impacts on children
compared to the impact on other
traditionally vulnerable social groups,
such as the elderly, as well as on
society in general.
Impacts on the poorest
Since 2008, the position of the
poorest children has actually
worsened in most of the countries
studied. The poverty gap indicator
(see Figure 7) captures the depth of
this phenomenon by measuring the
distance from the poverty line to the
-10 0 10 20
-10
0
-5
5
10
Change in poverty gap (anchored)
Change in headcount (anchored)
R-squared=0.1426
Change poverty gap= 1.0352 + .22455 change headcount
Fitted values
ES
IE
LT
LU
IT
DK HU
CY
FR EE
AT SE NL
BE PT
RO
NO
FI
PL
SK
MT
DE UK
BG
GR
IS
LV
CZ SI
CH
Figure 7 Change in poverty gap vs change in headcount (2008–2012)
Source: Eurostat for the anchored headcount; EU-SILC for the anchored poverty gap.
2 0
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Box 3 The crisis in Greece through a child’s eyes
The indicators in this Report Card do not fully capture
how children’s views of their lives have changed. To
gain a deeper insight into the perspectives of
children, we commissioned early analysis of the
most recent Health Behaviour in School-aged
Children (HBSC) survey (2014) on the behaviour of
11-, 13- and 15-year-old students in Greece, one of
the countries most affected by the recession. The
results are instructive.
Despite the best efforts of families to insulate their
offspring from the worst consequences of the
recession, school children in Greece revealed that
they are highly aware of problems that affect their
immediate context. Those reporting that their
family’s economic situation is ‘not well off’ doubled
from 7.2 per cent in 2006 to 14.5 per cent in 2014.
An increasing share of them said that the economic
situation of the area where they live had worsened
(from 22.2 per cent to 29.5 per cent in the same
period).i In 2014, more than one child in five reported
that at least one parent had lost their job, 5 per cent
said their family could not afford to buy food, and
almost 30 per cent reported that the family had
stopped going on holiday trips (see Figure 8).
Around one student in ten had to stop tutoring
sessions or had to move to another area or to a
relative’s house, and 3 per cent switched from
private to public schools.
The children surveyed were perceptive about other
consequences of the recession, such as increased
stress on parents from income cuts or job losses.
These events affect family relationships, as seen in
the large share (as high as 27 per cent) of those
reporting tension and fights within their families. The
proportion of children reporting high satisfaction with
relationships within the family dropped by 3 per cent
between 2006 and 2014. As for their overall life
satisfaction, the share of children reporting a high
quality of life dropped by almost 10 per cent over the
same period.
i Kokkevi, A., M. Stavrou, E. Kanavou and A. Fotiou.
‘The Repercussions of the Economic Recession in
Greece on Adolescents and their Families’, Innocenti
Working Paper No. 2014-07, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence, 2014.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
family tension
Per cent
moved to other area
changed school
stopped tutoring
no vacation/travelling
inability to buy food
at least one parent lost job
27.3
8.2
3
10.5
27.9
5.4
21.3
Figure 8 Children’s self-reporting of the effects of the crisis in Greece
Source: 2014 HBSC survey.
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
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median income of those below the
line, expressed as a percentage of
the poverty line. For children, this
proportion increases as the
recession advances in countries
that are more affected by it. The
poverty gap is higher in countries
where poverty has increased most,
meaning that poverty in those
countries is more extensive and
more intense. In Greece and Spain,
poor children were further below
the poverty line in 2013 than they
were in 2008. It is notable that this
form of discrimination increased in
some countries where overall child
poverty decreased, such as Belgium
and Slovakia, suggesting that the
tax changes and transfers intended
to help the poorest children were
relatively ineffective.
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
Greece
Iceland
Slovenia
Lithuania
Belgium
Italy
Portugal
Spain
Cyprus
United Kingdom
Estonia
Netherlands
Malta
France
Sweden
Latvia
Denmark
Austria
Switzerland
Ireland
Luxembourg
Germany
Norway
Finland
Total child poverty rate decreased Total child poverty rate increased/stayed the same
Percentage points
Figure 9 Absolute difference in anchored poverty change (2008–2012) between children in migrant households
and other children in Europe (percentage points)
Impacts on the most vulnerable
The poverty trends discussed above
may mask the situation of children in
particularly vulnerable situations, such
as those in workless, lone-parent,
large families, or migrant households.
Their deteriorating living conditions
have already been highlighted in
Report Card 10, which called for
policies and actions to protect
them.18 Recent data show how these
groups consistently appear in the
most-severe range in poverty
statistics. Their needs call more than
ever for specific types of attention
and services, which are often first to
disappear in a financial crisis.
Figure 9 shows that the impact of the
recession on children in migrant
households19 in Europe was often
greater than it was on children from
non-migrant households. In many
European countries, child poverty
increased faster (or fell more slowly)
for children in migrant households
than for other children. Most notable
is Greece, where poverty rates rose
by 35 percentage points for children
in migrant households, compared
with 15 percentage points for all
other children. In Iceland, the
poverty rate for children in migrant
households increased by
38 percentage points, twice the
increase among non-migrant
households. Thus, in the two
countries where child poverty
increased the most, children in
migrant households suffered
disproportionately.
Other groups of children bearing a
heavier burden in the recession
Source: EU-SILC.
Notes: Data for 2011 are used for Belgium and Ireland. Countries with insufficient case numbers of children in migrant households excluded.
Bars are changes in absolute poverty with positive values indicating a worsening among chldren in migrant households relative to other children.
2 2
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I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Source: Eurostat (last update 14.07.2014).
Notes: Sorted by the difference in the anchored poverty rate increase between children and the population.
Break in the series for Austria and the United Kingdom in 2012.
-20
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Difference in differences under 18 (2008–2012) 65 or over (2008–2012)
Latvia
Cyprus
Spain
Bulgaria
Romania
Croatia
Estonia
Greece
Malta
Ireland
Italy
United Kingdom
Norway
Iceland
France
Denmark
Portugal
Luxembourg
Lithuania
Netherlands
Belgium
Slovenia
Sweden
Slovakia
Finland
Czech Republic
Austria
Hungary
Germany
Switzerland
Poland
Percentage points
Figure 10 Absolute difference in anchored poverty change (2008–2012) between children and the elderly
(percentage points)
include those in households with lone
parents, low work intensity and large
families. Among 30 European
countries, the inequity of the impact
on children is highest in Greece. The
trend is similar in Iceland for children
in workless households and loneparent
families. However, in some
countries at the highest end of the
range of child poverty, poverty
decreased for children in vulnerable
households, such as lone-parent
households in Cyprus and the Czech
Republic, workless families in Belgium
and the United Kingdom, and large
families in Lithuania and Spain.
Mixed trends are also observed in
some non-EU/OECD countries. In
lone-parent households in Israel, for
example, children have experienced
an increase in poverty, even as
poverty fell slightly in couple-parent
families. In contrast, child poverty
on the whole decreased in Canada
and Japan; but although child
poverty rates fell faster among
children in lone-parent families,
they remained substantially higher
than for those in couple-parent
families. This underscores the fact
that economic conditions affect
children in lone-parent families
more than other children.
Impacts on children versus
other groups
Another approach to assessing
how hard children have been hit by
the recession is to compare the
number of them in poverty against
the general population. In many
countries, households with children
have experienced more intense
increases in poverty and material
deprivation than the national average.
In half of the European countries
studied, poverty increased faster (or
else fell more slowly) for children
than for the population as a whole.
The elderly, also vulnerable, fare
better than the young in this
analysis. Figure 10 shows the at-riskof-
poverty rate in populations aged
under 18 and over 65 in 2008–2012.
The blue dots measure the change
in poverty among children versus
the change in poverty among the
elderly over this time period, with
positive values indicating that the
position of children worsened
relative to the elderly. In all but three
of the 31 countries analysed, the
rate increased more rapidly (or
decreased more slowly) for the
S E C T I O N 3 H o w a f ina ncia l c r isis t u r ned into a c r isis f o r chil d r en
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 2 3
young than for the elderly (positive
values for the blue dots). In 24 of
the 31 countries, the trend shows a
reduction in at-risk-of-poverty levels
among the elderly, whereas child
100
150
200
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Most affected Moderately affected Least affected
Year
Youth unemployment 15–24
-10
0
20
10
30
40
50
60
70
Greece
Latvia
Poland
Slovenia
Ireland
Slovakia
Bulgaria
Italy
Portugal
Croatia
Cyprus
Spain
Czech Republic
Lithuania
Hungary
Estonia
Netherlands
Belgium
United Kingdom
France
Denmark
Romania
New Zealand
Finland
Australia
Sweden
United States
Iceland
Canada
Mexico
Norway
Switzerland
Malta
Austria
Republic of Korea
Japan
Turkey
Israel
Luxembourg
Germany
Chile
Per cent
Change (2008–2013) 2008 2013
Figure 11 Youth unemployment (15–24) per exposure
Figure 12 Change in the youth (15–24) unemployment rate, 2008–2013
poverty increased in 20 countries. In
eight countries, the gap in the
change in poverty between the two
groups exceeds 10 percentage
points. These numbers suggest that
protection for the elderly works when
it is needed. This is less true for
children.
A generation cast aside
One of the long-term impacts of the
Great Recession is to be found in
adolescent and young-adult
unemployment. Youth unemployment
and underemployment have reached
worrying levels in many countries. In
addition to the data in League Table 2
(see Section 2), this Report Card looks
at key indicators in the labour market
for young people, including recent
data on self-perception. It is the story
of a generation that has been cast
aside, and failure to address it could
lead to high societal costs.
An epidemic of youth unemployment
Figures 11, 12 and 13 paint a picture
of youth labour in the recession,
something European Union Human
Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks
calls a “pathology of austerity”.20
Source: Eurostat.
Notes: Long-term unemployment: Long-term unemployment (12 months or more) for young people 15–24.
No data for Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania; Sweden (2006); Luxembourg (2007 and 2009).
Underemployment: ‘Involuntary’ part-time workers, 15–24, percentage of active population. No data for
Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania or Luxembourg.
Temporary employment: Temporary employees (15–24) as percentage of the total number of employees
(15–24).
Source: Eurostat; OECD.Stat.
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Unemployment in the 15–24 age
group increased in all but seven of
the 41 countries covered in this
report between 2008 and 2013.
Four stand out as having increases
in excess of 25 percentage points:
Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Spain.
Youth unemployment in the same
four countries had fallen steadily
from 2004/2005 to 2007/2008. The
recession reversed that trend.
In Greece and Spain, the pattern is
particularly striking. Unemployment
in the 15–24 age group increased
from an already high base of over
20 per cent to more than 50 per
cent in 2013. Half of all young job
seekers remained unemployed.
Nations where such a large
percentage of young people are not
working face extraordinary
challenges, such as the
sustainability of national pension
plans. Generally, youth
unemployment evolves in parallel
with overall adult unemployment,
but exceptions do occur: in Italy’s
15–24 age group, unemployment
levels increased nearly four times
more than in the 25–54 age group.
Too many young people not in
education, employment or training
As a tool for measuring the youth
labour market, unemployment rates
have significant limitations, because
they overlook those who are not
economically active. So surveys
gather data on young people who
are not in education, employment or
training. The NEET rate includes
both those who are seeking work
(the unemployed) and those who
are not (the inactive). The rate offers
a measure of the percentage of the
youth population that is absent from
the labour market and education, as
well as of those who are
discouraged and disengaged.
In certain countries, including Mexico
and Turkey, high inactivity rates
appear to be driven by large
proportions of young women raising
families.21 In countries where the
NEET rate has increased most,
notably Cyprus and Greece, the
change is dominated by rising youth
unemployment. In countries such as
Latvia and Lithuania (which have
seen a moderate upturn in the NEET
rate) and Slovakia and Spain (which
have had a larger surge), the
increase has also been driven by
rising youth unemployment, in spite
of a concurrent decrease in inactivity.
By contrast, in Romania the increase
in the NEET rate has been dominated
by increased inactivity. And in Turkey,
a vast decrease in the NEET rate has
been almost entirely due to a
decrease in inactivity.
Unfortunately, even when
unemployment or inactivity rates
decline, it rarely means that youth
have found stable, reasonably paying
jobs (see Figure 13). In the 15–24
age group in countries more
exposed to the recession, the
100
150
200
250
300
350
Long-term unemployment Underemployment Temporary employment
Year
Index
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Figure 13 Trend in youth underemployment, temporary employment and
long-term unemployment in the most affected countries
percentage of those who are in parttime
work or underemployed has
tripled. Full-time contract work for
young people has become more
common, contributing to the
precariousness of labour markets.
Increases in long-term
unemployment rates (12 months or
more) in countries more exposed to
the recession are largely due to
youth unemployment.
The labour market for adolescents
and young adults was already a
problem before 2008, but the
recession has magnified it for a
whole generation. The relevance of
these trends should not be
underestimated. A long period of
underemployment or inactivity can
have an enduring impact on one’s
lifelong financial security. It can
stifle career plans, reduce
expectations and lead to
demoralization. For whole societies,
it increases demand for social
benefits, decreases workforce
contributions to social security
systems, and erodes a pillar of
social cohesion.22
Source: Eurostat.
Notes: Long-term unemployment: Long-term unemployment (12 months or more) for young people 15–24.
No data for Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania; Sweden (2006); Luxembourg (2007 and 2009).
Underemployment: ’Involuntary‘ part-time workers, 15–24, percentage of active population. No data for
Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania or Luxembourg.
Temporary employment: Temporary employees (15–24) as percentage of the total number of employees
(15–24).
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Summary
The Great Recession had the
greatest impact on the weakest,
and possibly for the longest time.
This section has shown the many
overlapping ways in which children
suffered from the crisis, while
others – such as the elderly –
managed to be protected. It has
proved how many countries saw
large increases in the material
deprivation of children (possibly a
better longer-term measure of
poverty), and has highlighted the
lifetime risks of entering the labour
market in a recession.
By any measure, this is a
discouraging reversal in what
was a positive trend in the
consolidation of young people’s
rights. The progress made in
education, health and social
protection over the last 50 years
is now at stake.
Still, there are some signs of hope.
Eighteen of the countries analysed
for this report managed to limit, or
even reduce, child poverty amid this
economic storm. Four of them also
reduced the gap between poor and
the poorest children. Despite the
recession, disproportionate youth
unemployment was avoided in
several countries, and, in many
others, public and private safety
nets have proved resilient in a time
of great need. Nothing is inevitable.
Section 4 looks at how countries
have responded, and the
implications for children.
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SECTION 4
Uneven responses
At the beginning of the Great
Recession, some countries were
better positioned than others to
weather the economic storm, and
some had strong social protection
measures in place. Yet how
governments responded to the
crisis mattered a great deal.
Poverty increased in most
countries, but decreased in some.
The recession was global, but it
did not result in a severe crisis for
children in every country.
Figure 14 compares changes in
child poverty to changes in
national GDP. Of the 41 EU/
OECD countries listed, those
more exposed to the recession
had larger increases in child
poverty. Yet a closer examination
of the data shows that, while
child poverty increased in most
countries, in others it declined.
Croatia and Cyprus, with similar
economic circumstances, had
very different outcomes for the
well-being of children. Lithuania
and Mexico had modest (or
even dynamic) economic
growth, yet child poverty
indicators deteriorated.
To understand how governments
addressed the recession and, more
importantly, what worked well in
countries where child poverty
indicators did not deteriorate (or
where they even improved), this
section looks at the quantity and
quality of government responses
over the past five years, with some
final considerations around the
period before the recession.
0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2
-10
0
10
20
Change in child poverty headcount (anchored)
Exposure (GDP ratio)
R-squared=0.4924
Change headcount = 71.806 – 70.946 GDP ratio
Fitted values
CL
PL
AU
NO CH
FI TR KR CA RO
PT BG
EE MX
LU
ES LT
IE
HR
LV
GR
IS
JP
UK
CY
NZ
AT
IL
DE
BE
SE
DK
SI
MT
SK
NL
HU FR
IT
US
CZ
Figure 14 Change in child poverty headcount (anchored) vs exposure
What was spent, and how
At the start of the recession, not
surprisingly, child poverty was lower
where public spending on families
and children was higher. During the
recession, welfare states were
expected to increase their public
protection spending, and many
did.23 In such countries, the health
and well-being of citizens, especially
those in financial or social need, are
safeguarded by grants,
unemployment assistance
programmes, pensions and other
benefits. In a recession, these
benefits act as counter-cyclical
economic stabilizers.
Beyond that, OECD countries and
many others adopted stimulus
packages in the initial phase of the
recession, pushing up public
spending (see Figure 15). With the
persistence of the recession,
however, national revenues fell and
deficits increased significantly in
many countries. Increasing pressure
from financial markets forced many
governments to make budget cuts.
The Eurozone’s U-turn was
particularly abrupt.
Source: See Data Sources: League Table 1 on page 44 for changes in anchored poverty; IMF World
Economic Outlook.
Note: The x-axis shows exposure to the recession, using the ratio of GDP from 2007 to 2012. The y-axis
shows change in child poverty from 2007 to 2012 (positive values indicate increases).
I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2 2 7
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Hungary
Sweden
Czech Republic
Romania
Poland
Bulgaria
Switzerland
Malta
Austria
France
Italy
Germany
Cyprus
Portugal
Belgium
Norway
Netherlands
Slovenia
Greece
Spain
Denmark
Slovakia
United Kingdom
Latvia
Iceland
Finland
Luxembourg
Lithuania
Estonia
Ireland
Change in public expenditure (GDP percentage points)
Figure 15 Change in public expenditure, 2007–2009
While Europe retrenched, Chile,
Japan, Republic of Korea and the
United States maintained
expansionary policies to support
their economies. Norway was
Europe’s sole exception, while in
Sweden and Switzerland the
consolidation measures that were
implemented amounted to less than
0.5 per cent of GDP.
In countries that made a similar
fiscal effort and were equally
exposed to the recession (see Box 1
in Section 3 for exposure criteria),
the impact of the spending is mixed.
An assessment of government
responses suggests that their
effectiveness was related to the
initial margin of action, as well as to
the magnitude and design of the
government initiatives. Targeting
cash payments at the poorest
families with children helped to
protect vulnerable families and
boost the economy at the same
time. Some examples:
» Chile and Mexico had
experienced extraordinary
economic and social
improvements in the decade
before the financial crisis, but in
2008–2009 they were hit hard by
recession-induced trade declines.
Chile, which had more fiscal
space, spent twice as much as
Mexico on its stimulus package,
supporting families with children
by expanding existing social
protection programmes,
extending cash transfers to the
poorest families with children,
and expanding labour market
measures such as unemployment
insurance. Mexico introduced a
similar stimulus package in the
early years of the recession, but
worsening fiscal conditions
pushed the country into a
consolidation process from
2010 onwards.
» Australia’s increase in spending
on families had a more positive
impact than the ambitious tax
cuts implemented in New
Zealand, where poverty and
inequality stagnated (see Box 4).
Source: Eurostat.
2 8
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Box 4 The Australian Household Stimulus Package
As with most other OECD countries, the Great
Recession hit Australia. But unlike many other
countries, Australia managed to protect
families as part of its economic recovery
strategy. One of the most important
contributory factors was a fiscal stimulus of
more than 4 per cent of GDP (a move that was
facilitated by the fact that the country had the
necessary fiscal space). A portion of the
stimulus package was designed to support
families in economic difficulties and to sustain
their consumption. In particular, the 2009
household stimulus packages were made up
of three main one-off payments: the Tax Bonus
for Working Australians, provided to eligible
taxpayers; and the Back to School Bonus and
Single Income Family Bonus, which were
targeted at low- and middle-income families
with children.
As Figure 16 shows, the Single Income Family
Bonus and the Back to School Bonus were
clearly more progressive than the Tax Bonus.
And while all these payments were able to
protect people from the risk of poverty, only
the cash payments targeted at low-income
families with children were able to stimulate
consumption among the poor, as can be seen
from Figure 17.
It is possible to extract useful policy lessons
from the Australian story. First, counter-cyclical
policies are crucial in mitigating the negative
consequences associated with economic
recessions. Indeed, the prompt and robust
reactions of the Australian government limited
the possible negative effects of the crisis
without jeopardizing growth – GDP growth has
increased steadily in Australia since 2009.
Second, maintaining a sound fiscal balance
during normal times obviously provides the
policy space that allows a government to react
effectively during an economic downturn. But
some policies are more effective than others.
In this case, cash payments targeted at lowincome
families with children appear to have
had a win-win effect, by protecting the poorest
children and stimulating consumption to
promote economic recovery.
0
1
2
3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Decile
Share on income
Figure 16 Incidence rate of the Single Income
Family Bonus, the Back to School Bonus, and
the Tax Bonus for Working Australians
Back to School Bonus + Single Income Family Bonus
0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Decile
Share on income
Tax Bonus for Working Australians
Figure 17 Impact of the Australian Single
Income Family Bonus and the Back to School
Bonus on consumption expenditure, percentage
change between 2008 and 2009
-0.1
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
all deciles poor families with children
Consumption expenditure
(percentage change)
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 2 9
0.33
0.34
0.35
0.36
0.37
0.38
0.39
0.036
0.038
0.04
0.042
0.044
0.046
0.048
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Social protection – share of total spending
Family- and child-related spending, share of total social protection spending
share of family and child spending share of social protection spending
Figure 18 Social protection spending, share of total spending (blue line, left axis) and family- and child-related
spending, share of total social protection spending (blue bars, right axis).
In general however, social spending
suffered (at least in absolute terms),
particularly for children and families.
Although the recession increased
the need for unemployment and
pension benefits, driving up social
protection spending in many
countries, the share spent on familyand
child-related needs became a
lower priority. Figure 18 shows that
2009 marked a turning point in this
regard, just when families were
under increasing pressure. While
the contribution of overall social
Source: Eurostat.
spending to public spending (blue
line) levelled off and then began to
rise again, the share of that
spending on families and children
(blue bars) declined.
The same is true in Europe, where
social transfers had an uneven
impact on child poverty (Figure 19).
In the first phase (left panel), 19
countries demonstrated an ability
to reduce child poverty (or to
support the income of families
with children) through social
transfers, compared to only 11 in
the second phase (right panel).
Interventions in Denmark, Finland
and the United Kingdom were
effective and sustained during the
recession. But in more than a third
of European countries, including in
France and Hungary, the ability of
governments to reduce child
poverty declined, which contributed
to worsening living conditions for
children. The design and
implementation of social
programmes clearly matters.
3 0
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
-6
Czech Republic
Sweden
Slovakia
Norway
Hungary
Poland
France
Austria
Germany
Romania
Belgium
Malta
Finland
Italy
Bulgaria
Slovenia
Switzerland
Denmark
Netherlands
Cyprus
Greece
Portugal
Spain
Latvia
United Kingdom
Ireland
Estonia
Iceland
Luxembourg
Lithuania
Hungary
Lithuania
Estonia
France
Latvia
Iceland
Sweden
Switzerland
Greece
Slovenia
Portugal
Italy
Slovakia
Cyprus
Spain
Ireland
Netherlands
Luxembourg
Bulgaria
Germany
Romania
Denmark
Norway
Austria
Poland
Finland
Czech Republic
Belgium
Malta
United Kingdom
-4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Child poverty reduction 2008–2010 Child poverty reduction 2010–2012
First phase 2008–2010 Second phase 2010–2012
Figure 19 Amount of reduction in child poverty
Source: EU-SILC.
Interpreting the data – Figure 19
Comparing child poverty before and after the receipt of government support offers a measure of how effective
governments were at reducing the number of poor children.
The horizontal bars represent how government responses to the crisis affected countries’ capacities to protect
poor children, by comparing the changes in child poverty reductions after social transfers in different periods:
between 2008 and 2010 (after the implementation of stimulus packages), and between 2010 and 2012 (during the
early stage of austerity). Positive values indicate that government interventions through social transfers have been
more redistributive. Negative values indicate that social transfers became less effective in reducing child poverty.
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3 1
-0.05
-0.04
-0.03
-0.02
-0.01
0.00
0.01
0.02
0.03
0.04
Taxes Transfers Market
Spain
Denmark
Cyprus
Hungary
Austria
Slovakia
Estonia
Sweden
Italy
Greece
France
Luxembourg
Slovenia
Czech Republic
Finland
Ireland
Malta
United Kingdom
Poland
Belgium
Portugal
Latvia
Germany
Lithuania
Netherlands
Bulgaria
Norway
Romania
Switzerland
Iceland
Gini index change
Figure 20 Contribution of income, taxation and social transfers to changes in the Gini index, 2008–2012
Source: EU-SILC.
Notes: For Belgium and Ireland data refer to the period 2008–2011.
Although the need for budgetary
cuts was undeniable in some
countries (the Mediterranean region,
in particular), the shift from stimulus
to consolidation widened inequality.
This is broadly reflected in Figure 20,
which shows the net evolution of
the Gini index during the recession,
broken into different income
components. In many countries, the
burden of the adjustment fell on
those in the lowest income brackets.
By contrast, despite a reduction in
fiscal space during the crisis, Iceland
replaced a flat tax with a
progressive tax structure and used
the additional revenue to increase
social protection, leading to a
reduction in inequality and a recent
decline in child poverty between
2012 and 2013.
Interpreting the data – Figure 20
The Gini index is a common measure of inequality, which ranges from 0 (perfect equality) to 1 (perfect
inequality). Figure 20 shows how different income sources (private household income, taxes and social
transfers) contributed to changes in the Gini between 2008 and 2012. Positive bars indicate that the
particular source of income increased inequality during this period. In Spain, for example, all three sources
contributed to an increase in inequality.
3 2
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Variations on a theme
Highlights from Table 1 (overleaf),
which summarizes recent significant
changes in government
interventions directly related to
children, show that, among non-EU
OECD countries, a number adopted
more generous and less restrictive
policies for children:
» Since 2009, Chile has increased
family-related benefits. These
policies take an integrated
approach, including child care,
education and health, as well as
labour integration programmes
for parents (mothers, in
particular). Targeted cash
transfers for families in extreme
poverty were increased in 2012
and in 2014.
» In 2010, Japan passed a child
allowance act that increased the
value and coverage of benefits
for those under 15, part of a
multi-sector plan to improve tax
deductions and assist families
and lone-parent households.
» Turkey is working to integrate a
rights-based social protection
system. Most remarkable, in
2012 it introduced general health
insurance that covers health
services for all children,
regardless of parental income or
employment status.
In the European Union, a range of
recently implemented reforms have
been positive:
» Bulgaria increased child benefits
and child-care leave benefits in
2013–2014.
» Latvia eased conditions for childcare
benefits in 2014, after
scaling back the parental leave
benefit in 2010.
When the storm of the Great Recession struck, some countries were
better prepared than others to shelter the most vulnerable sectors of
their societies.
The reality is that “in most industrialized countries, at least a decade
before the start of the Great Recession, time and again children were
found to be at a greater risk of poverty than populations as a whole”,
according to a background paper for this report. “Moreover,
substantial differences in the risks of poverty persisted among
households with children long before [2008].”i A previous edition of
this Report Card shows how, at the beginning of the recession, the
levels of poverty and deprivation among the most vulnerable families
(jobless, lone-parent and migrant families and households with low
levels of parental education) were already intolerably high in some
OECD and/or EU countries.i i
With hindsight, many countries with higher child vulnerability would
have been wise to strengthen their safety nets during the preceding
period of dynamic economic growth. Social spending by OECD
countries had been in decline since 1995; it increased temporarily in
the first phase of the recession, but went on to resume its previous
trend (see Figure 21). For children, the recession followed a long
period of rising disparity and concentration of income (see Figure 22)
– a trend, some argue, that undermines fairness, lowers commitment
to social cohesion and restricts social mobility.i i i
i Chzhen, Y., ‘Child Poverty and Material Deprivation in the European
Union during the Great Recession’, Innocenti Working Paper No. 2014-06,
UNICEF Office of Research, Florence, 2014.
i i UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New
league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti
Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, 2012.
i i i Deaton, Angus, The Great Escape: Health, wealth and the origins of
inequality, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2013; Wilkinson, R. and
K. Pickett, The Spirit Level: Why equality is better for everyone, revised
edition, Penguin, London, 2010; Corak, Miles, ‘Inequality from Generation
to Generation: The United States in comparison’, in Robert Rycroft (ed.),
The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st
Century, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA, 2013.
Box 5 Did the crisis for
children begin before 2008?
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3 3
Country Type of
benefit
Year
phased
in
Benefit
level/
duration
Eligibility Details
Australia Various 2011–
2014
+/- – New paid parental leave. More generous family tax benefit supplement for
dependent 16- to 19-year-olds in full-time secondary education. Temporary
freeze on indexation of benefit amounts and income thresholds of family tax
benefits. Child birth benefits more restrictive and less generous.
Austria Family 2011 – - More restrictive to over-18s. Less generous supplement for low-income
families with multiple children.
Belgium Child 2013 – - More restrictive and less generous to over-18s. Cuts to school bonus
supplement.
Bulgaria Child 2013–
2014
+ More generous child allowances and child-care leave benefits.
Canada Parental
leave
2011 + Paid maternity and parental leave extended to the self-employed, subject to
conditions.
Tax
credits
2011 + Two new narrowly targeted non-refundable tax credits.
Chile Various 2010–
2013
+ + Higher family allowance and maternity benefit (including a new bonus
payment from March 2014). More generous cash-transfer programme for
families in extreme poverty.
Croatia Tax break 2012 + Income tax allowances for dependent children increased.
Cyprus Family 2011–
2012
+/- – More restrictive and less generous child benefit and student grant; new
lone-parent supplement.
Czech
Republic
Family 2011–
2012
- Social allowance abolished, but care allowance for disabled children
increased; birth grant more restrictive.
Denmark Family 2012 + + Abolished ceiling on number of children eligible. Increased allowances for
disabled children.
2014 + _ Income ceiling introduced. New benefit supplement for parents in vocational
training.
Estonia Family 2013 + More generous child benefit. New supplementary benefit for low-income
families.
Finland Family 2013 – Freeze on indexation of child benefit amounts until 2015.
Child care 2014 + Increased amounts of basic rates of maternity/paternity/parental leave
benefits; child home care, private day care and partial care allowances.
France Family 2014 -/+ – Reduction in the basic child allowance for under-3s (in families above a
certain income level); baby bonus eligibility more restrictive; gradual increase
in supplement for large families and lone-parent families.
Tax break 2014 – Child tax allowances reduced. ‘Family quotient ceiling’ reduced.
Germany Family 2010 + More generous child benefit and child tax benefit. More generous meanstested
child allowance (from 2014).
Parental
leave
2011 – - Stricter eligibility and lower earnings-replacement rate.
Greece Family 2013 + + New means-tested single child benefit introduced.
Hungary Family 2011 – Family allowance more restrictive with respect to child age.
Tax break 2011–
2014
+ + Family tax allowances more generous and less restrictive (alongside the
introduction of a flat rate income tax). From 2014, family tax allowances can
be deducted from social security contributions.
Iceland Family 2013 + Child benefit amounts increased.
Ireland Family 2010–
2013
- + Successive cuts to child benefit amounts; new means-tested benefits for
low income families introduced.
Tax
credits
2011 – Tax credits for lone-parent families decreased.
Israel Family 2013 – - Benefit cuts; income ceiling introduced.
Italy Family 2014 + Cash transfers to low-income families extended to migrants (both EU and
non-EU citizens).
Child care 2013 + Child-care voucher for mothers not using parental leave.
Japan Family 2010 + +/- Child allowance extended to children under 15, income test abolished (but
re-introduced in 2012) and benefit amounts increased. Child rearing
allowance extended to lone fathers.
Tax
breaks
2011 – Tax breaks for dependent children abolished.
Latvia Child care 2014 + + More generous and less restrictive. Formerly for uninsured persons only.
Child care 2013 + New child-care cost subsidy for pre-school children.
Parental 2010 – Income ceiling introduced. Restrictions on work (to be reversed in late 2014).
Table 1 Recent significant changes to family benefits (family/child/birth/child care/tax credits and breaks)
3 4
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Country Type of
benefit
Year
phased
in
Benefit
level/
duration
Eligibility Details
Lithuania Family 2010 – Eligibility criteria more restrictive.
Tax
breaks
2014 + Tax allowance increased for first child.
Luxembourg Parental
leave
2013 + Increased duration of unpaid parental leave.
Malta Child 2011 + Increase in child allowance minimum rate.
Tax
breaks
2011–
2012
+ Temporary exemption from income tax for women with children who return
to work after a five-year absence. New tax regime for parents introduced.
Parental
leave
2012–
2013
+ Paid maternity leave extended by four weeks.
Child care 2014 + Free child care for parents in education or employment.
Netherlands Family 2011–
2013
+/- – Child allowance for second and subsequent children increased (reduced in
2012, increased in 2013). Income ceiling lowered. Reform planned for 2015.
Child care 2012 – - Child-care allowance lowered and eligibility restricted.
New Zealand Tax
credits
2012 + – Higher rate, but lower income ceiling.
Norway Child care 2012 + – ‘Cash for care’ benefit abolished for 2-year-olds, but made more generous
for children aged 13 to 18 months.
Poland Family 2012 + + Benefit amounts and income ceilings increased.
2013 – Income testing of birth grant introduced.
Tax
breaks
2013 + – Tax allowances for families with more than two children increased; income
test introduced for families with one child.
Parental
leave
2013 + Paid parental leave implemented.
Portugal Child 2011 – Income ceiling lowered.
Tax
breaks
2013 + Tax allowances for children increased.
Republic of
Korea
Child care 2013 + Child-care subsidy extended and no longer income tested.
Tax
breaks
2013 + Tax breaks for lone-parent families introduced.
Parental
leave
2011 + More generous parental leave benefit (40% of earnings, up to a ceiling), with
the minimum equal to the former flat rate.
Romania Family 2011 – - Less generous for families with one child. More restrictive income testing.
Slovakia Parental
leave
2011 + Unified parental leave benefit introduced (indexed regularly), allowing parents
to work without loss of benefit. Length of maternity leave extended and
replacement rate increased from 60% to 65%.
Slovenia Family 2012 – - Less generous and more restrictive (until GDP growth exceeds 2.5%).
Spain Family 2010 – - Birth grant abolished. Means-tested child benefit amount cut for under-3s.
Sweden Family 2010 + Benefit amounts increased.
Turkey Other 2012 + General health insurance introduced (free healthcare for all children).
United
Kingdom
Child 2010 – No indexation of benefit amounts for three years. ‘Health in pregnancy’ grant
abolished.
2013 – Income ceiling introduced.
Tax
credits
2009–
2012
- – Income ceiling lowered. Changes in indexation of benefit amounts. Work
requirement for couples with children increased.
Child care 2011 – Child-care element of tax credits reduced.
2013 + 15 hours a week of free child care extended to 2-year-olds.
Other 2013 – Spare room subsidy abolished. Benefit cap introduced.
United States Tax
credits
2010–
2012
+ ‘Additional Child Tax Credit’ extended until 2017. It was due to expire in 2010,
then in 2012.
Other 2009–
2013
+ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased benefit
amounts until 2013.
Source: OECD Benefits and Wages, country-specific information; OECD, Society at a Glance 2014, Table 1.2; ’Investing in Children: Breaking the cycle of
disadvantage‘, analysis by the European Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion; Europe 2020 National Reform Programme reports; UNICEF National
Committees.
Note: A minus sign (-) means less generous: lower benefit levels (through cuts or changes to indexation rules) or duration of benefit receipt; stricter eligibility
conditions or cancellation of a programme. A plus sign (+) means the opposite.
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3 5
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
Total expenditure index GDP index
Index (1995 = 100)
Figure 21 GDP and total expenditure
0.28
0.29
0.30
0.31
0.32
mid-1980s around 1990 mid-1990s around 2000 mid-2000s 2010
Gini index
Figure 22 Evolution of Gini coefficient in 16 OECD countries since the
mid-1980s
Source: Eurostat.
Source: OECD income distribution database.
» Poland introduced modest but
positive reforms in family
transfers, tax breaks and parental
leave in 2012–2013.
» Malta implemented a
comprehensive universal childcare
plan in 2014.
» Greece made a disparate system
of child-related allowances into a
less restrictive, more generous
single benefit in 2013.
In several countries, family-related
benefits were reduced. In Ireland
and Spain, action was limited by
demands for financial adjustment
measures, leaving children behind
precisely when their poverty
indicators began to soar. Romania
and the United Kingdom performed
better in terms of child poverty, but
decisions made, or avoided, in later
years may affect this:
» In Spain, unemployment benefits
have been tightened, child-care
benefits reduced and universal
birth benefits eliminated. The
share of the social protection
budget spent on families and
children declined from 5 per cent
to 3.5 per cent between 2008
and 2011.
» Ireland cut child benefits several
times from 2010 to 2014, while
squeezing unemployment
benefits and social assistance.
On a positive note, tax reform in
2011 reduced deductions for lone
parents and disabled children,
and in 2014 initiatives were
announced to improve health
coverage for children under six
and to reinforce school breakfast
programmes.
» Since 2010, the United Kingdom
has implemented a series of cuts
that have reduced the real value
and coverage of child benefits
and tax credits for families with
children. In 2013, a cap was
imposed on the total benefits a
household can receive, mainly
affecting a small number of large
families with high housing costs,
while housing benefits were cut
(the so-called ‘bedroom tax’),
affecting large numbers of social
tenants. One positive note: childcare
provisions for two-year-olds
have been expanded.
» Romania reformed its family
support system in 2011,
replacing two means-tested
family allowances with a
single benefit, and adding
extra provision for lone
parents. The new benefit,
however, is less generous to
families with one child and
more generous to families
with three or more, and it has
a lower income ceiling.
3 6
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Summary
Millions more children could have
been helped if protection policies
had been stronger before, and had
been strengthened during, the
Great Recession. The recession has
brought suffering and life-long risks
upon an extra 619,000 children in
Italy, 444,000 in France and 2 million
in Mexico.24
All countries faced difficult choices,
limited budgets and worsening
recessions, and the enormity of
the challenges should not be
underestimated. Demand for
austerity measures was intense,
as were pleas from other vulnerable
sectors. Compromises were
undoubtedly necessary. But, as we
have seen, some policies, and the
manner in which they were
implemented, were more effective
than others.
Box 6 Children of the United States’ recession
The Great Recession was preceded by a period of
low interest rates internationally, and was triggered
by the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United
States. The low interest rates, combined with a trend
in the United States toward lower lending standards
and aggressive marketing of higher-risk, sub-prime
mortgage products, inflated real estate prices. In
2007, the bubble burst, asset values plunged and
mortgage defaults and foreclosures surged.
Collapsing housing prices and the ensuing losses by
large financial firms holding securities tied to real
estate values triggered the largest, synchronous
global economic decline since the Second World
War. To counter rising unemployment and a falling
GDP, in 2009 the American government passed the
Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an $800 billion
stimulus package to stabilize the economy and
increase protection for vulnerable groups. The act
expanded food stamp programmes, extended
unemployment benefits from 26 to 99 weeks,
improved the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and
introduced the Making Work Pay tax credit (a refund
of up to $400 for working individuals and up to $800
for married taxpayers filing joint returns). The social
protection components of the stimulus package cost
an estimated $200 billion.
Child poverty in the US, state by state
Between 2006 and 2011, child poverty increased in
34 states. The largest increases were found in
Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii and New Mexico, all of which
have relatively small numbers of children. Meanwhile
Mississippi and North Dakota saw notable
decreases. In several large states, smaller
percentage increases mask substantial increases in
the absolute number of children who slid into
poverty: California (221,000), Florida (183,000),
Georgia (140,000) and Illinois (133,000). In the United
States overall, 24.2 million children were living in
poverty in 2012, a net increase of 1.7 million from
2008. Indeed, of all newly poor children in the OECD
and/or EU, about a third are in the United States.
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3 7
0 10 20 30 40 50
Idaho
Hawaii
New Mexico
Nevada
Montana
Delaware
Alaska
Washington
Indiana
Arizona
Kansas
Oregon
Vermont
South Carolina
Georgia
Florida
Alabama
Illinois
North Carolina
New York
California
Michigan
Maine
Rhode Island
Louisiana
Colorado
Ohio
Maryland
South Dakota
New Jersey
Kentucky
New Hampshire
Arkansas
Texas
Minnesota
Oklahoma
DC (District of Columbia)
Connecticut
Nebraska
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Wisconsin
Utah
Iowa
Massachusetts
Missouri
Virginia
Wyoming
West Virginia
Mississippi
North Dakota
Child poverty rate (%)
2006 2011
24.8
19.5
43.4
39.1
36.3
32.2
21.1
18.2
24.0
21.2
31.6
29.5
23.8
21.6
23.6
22.0
26.1
24.9
25.0
23.9
34.8
33.8
27.0
26.6
24.2
23.9
19.0
18.7
41.0
40.9
36.3
36.2
19.3
19.3
36.8
37.1
39.4
40.0
11.4
12.5
36.7
38.0
21.3
22.6
24.1
25.4
18.5
20.0
29.0
30.6
22.7
24.4
38.6
40.7
24.0
26.2
21.2
23.3
27.0
29.6
33.2
36.0
31.2
34.3
34.2
37.9
35.6
39.4
28.8
32.7
30.3
34.5
16.8
21.0
31.5
35.8
32.7
37.2
28.1
32.7
31.7
36.5
26.9
32.0
27.8
33.5
19.7
25.5
17.4
23.3
24.6
31.3
25.6
33.3
22.6
30.6
32.8
41.9
25.1
34.6
26.5
36.5
League Table 4 Child poverty in the United States by state (and the District of Columbia)
Rank US State
Change
(2007–2012)
1 North Dakota -5.4
2 Mississippi -4.3
3 West Virginia -4.2
4 Wyoming -2.9
4 Virginia -2.9
6 Missouri -2.1
6 Massachusetts -2.1
8 Iowa -1.6
9 Utah -1.2
10 Wisconsin -1.1
11 Tennessee -0.9
12 Pennsylvania -0.4
13 Nebraska -0.3
14 Connecticut -0.2
15 DC (District of Columbia) -0.1
15 Oklahoma -0.1
17 Minnesota 0.0
18 Texas 0.2
19 Arkansas 0.6
20 New Hampshire 1.1
21 Kentucky 1.3
21 New Jersey 1.3
23 South Dakota 1.4
23 Maryland 1.4
25 Ohio 1.6
26 Colorado 1.7
27 Louisiana 2.1
28 Rhode Island 2.2
28 Maine 2.2
30 Michigan 2.5
31 California 2.7
32 New York 3.1
33 North Carolina 3.6
34 Arizona 3.7
35 Kansas 3.9
36 Oregon 4.1
37 Vermont 4.2
38 South Carolina 4.3
39 Georgia 4.5
40 Florida 4.6
41 Alabama 4.7
42 Illinois 5.1
43 Indiana 5.7
44 Washington 5.8
45 Alaska 5.9
46 Delaware 6.7
47 Montana 7.7
48 Hawaii 8.0
49 New Mexico 9.1
50 Nevada 9.5
51 Idaho 10.0
Source: CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
Notes: Poverty estimates were computed using
three-year averages (2005-2006-2007 and 2010-2011-2012).
Figures are rounded to the first decimal.
3 8
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2
Box 7 Social safety, American-style
In the United States in recent decades, the social
safety net has favoured the working poor more than
the out-of-work poor. When the federal welfare
programme was reformed in 1996, a workforce
development component was added and a key
programme for the very poorest families was
rewritten: Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)
replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children
(AFDC), in place since 1935. TANF has declined
significantly since 1996. With a budget of $10 billion
in 2010, at the lowest point of the recession, it
reached just 2 million families, compared to more
than 5 million in 1994 (with a $30 billion budget).
Meanwhile, unemployment insurance paid $139 billion
in benefits in 2010. Half of that was from the extra
benefits that were part of the stimulus package,
including increased benefit amounts and extended
coverage periods.
For poor families with children, the most important
part of the safety net is the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the Food
Stamp Program. The stimulus package added
$40 billion in new funding to this, allowing for an
increase in the monthly benefit. As a result, almost
one person in seven in the country received the
benefit, and the budget reached $70 billion in 2011.
How did the safety net perform?
In counting the poor, the United States Census Bureau
(USCB) uses annual income data to define the poverty
line, or the ‘poverty threshold’, as it is called. In 2013,
for example, the USCB poverty threshold for a threeperson
family unit was estimated at $18,552.i
Figure 23 compares income composition in 2010 and
1982, when the last major United States recession
peaked.i i Panel A looks at the families whose income
falls below the poverty threshold; panel B looks at
the ‘extreme poor’, whose family income falls below
50 per cent of the poverty threshold. Several sources
of income are compared: employment earnings,
unemployment insurance, food stamps, the EITC
and the TANF/AFDC programmes.
Among those at or below 100 per cent of the poverty
threshold, a large decrease in earned income and
TANF in 2010 is offset by large increases in food
stamps and the EITC. There was also a modest
increase in unemployment insurance. For this group
as a whole, the increase in child poverty was lower
during this recession than it was in 1982.
For those at or below 50 per cent of the poverty
threshold – the extreme poor – the story is
somewhat different. Panel B still shows a large
decrease in earned income and TANF and a large
increase in food stamps, but it also shows a much
smaller increase in the EITC and a slight decline in
unemployment insurance, in contrast with the
situation of the regular poor.
This highlights how the United States safety net has
changed to provide more support for poor working
families and less for the extreme poor with no work.
As a result, extreme child poverty has also increased
more in this recession than in the recession of 1982,
indicating that the safety net was stronger for the
poorest children 30 years ago.
i Source: https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/
data/threshld/
ii The composition of income is after taxes and transfers
(ATTI).
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Food
stamps
UI/VET/
WC
EITC
AFDC/
TANF
Earned
income
Percentage of ATTI
1982 2010
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Food
stamps
UI/VET/
WC
EITC
AFDC/
TANF
Earned
income
Percentage of ATTI
1982 2010
Figure 23 Composition of after-tax and transfer income by source – below 50 and
below 100 per cent poverty
Panel A: below 100 per cent poverty Panel B: below 50 per cent poverty
Source: Bitler, M., H. Hoynes and E. Kuka, ‘Child Poverty and the Great Recession’, Innocenti Working Paper, UNICEF Office of Research,
Florence, 2014.
Note: UI/VET/WC: Unemployment Insurance (UI), Veterans (VET), Workers Compensation (WC).
S E C T I O N 4 U nev en r esp onses
I nnocenti Rep o r t C a r d 1 2 3 9
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith
famously coined the term
“conventional wisdom” to describe
general statements that most
people accept as true, even if they
are not. In the case of the Great
Recession and its impact on
children, conventional wisdom has it
that the suffering was inevitable,
spread equally among social groups
and alleviated by the
macroeconomic recovery.
This report suggests otherwise.
Children by the millions were
immediately and directly affected
by the recession (more than other
vulnerable groups, such as the
elderly), and many will suffer the
consequences for life. And the
impact certainly has not been
spread evenly across all children
in all countries.
Figure 24 charts decreases in
household income from 2008 to
2012.25 It shows that years of
potential progress have been lost in
the recession. In Greece, families
with children lost the equivalent of
14 years of income progress.
Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain lost
10 years; Iceland lost 9, and Italy,
Hungary and Portugal lost 8. The
situation is probably worse for
children in families at the lowest
income levels.
The larger cost of this lost potential
may be seen in increased social
alienation and reduced population
growth. Upward trends in fertility
rates have slowed for the first time
in a decade, a phenomenon at least
SECTION 5
Conclu sion
Slovenia
Malta
Netherlands
Romania
Lithuania
Bulgaria
Estonia
Portugal
Belgium
Latvia
United Kingdom
Greece
Ireland
Spain
Luxembourg
Iceland
Italy
Hungary
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Years lost
4
4
4
4
5
4
4
8
6
6
6
14
10
10
10
9
8
8
Figure 24 The Great Leap Backward: years of progress lost for families
with children
Source: Eurostat.
Note: Estimates based on median equivalized incomes for households with children in national currency at
2007 prices.
4 0 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
partially linked to young adults
delaying family formation due to
economic conditions. Those worst
affected are countries that were
most exposed to the recession and
young age groups (15–19 and
20–24). Such impacts magnify the
disadvantages of persistent poverty
and reduce educational and
professional achievement potential.
Failure to respond boldly may have
long-term negative implications for
societies.
These risks are most evident in
Europe, where the plight of children
reflects rising inequality in and
among states. An increasing
inequality gap threatens the
European Union’s ambitious
convergence projects, such as the
Europe 2020 strategy to “lift at least
20 million people out of poverty and
social exclusion and increase
employment … to 75%”.26
Government responses to the
recession have varied widely. In
some countries, and in very different
contexts, public institutions and
programmes have been effective at
protecting children. An array of legal
and economic measures – from tax
reforms to protecting families from
eviction – was taken to contain child
poverty and safeguard the
fundamental rights of children.
Since 2008, effective public
interventions have saved 4 million
children from poverty in 18
countries mildly exposed to the
recession.
The effectiveness of these
responses may be debated for
decades to come, but one certainty
is that economic indicators alone do
not reveal the complexity of social
reality. Six years into the recession,
the impact on children and families
is still unfolding. It may be years
before many households get back
to pre-recession levels of well-being.
High unemployment and fiscal
restraint will remain the norm for the
foreseeable future in many
countries. Governments and
institutions must consider how to
ensure that the “superior interest”
of children is guaranteed.27
The analysis in this report suggests
the following principles and
recommendations for governments
to consider in strengthening child
protection strategies:
» Make an explicit commitment to
end child poverty in developed
countries. At a time when the
end of child poverty plays a
central role in the post-2015
development agenda, affluent
countries should lead the way by
placing the well-being of children
at the top of their responses to
the recession, for ethical reasons
and for their own self-interest.
– Child poverty and social exclusion
should be addressed from a child
rights perspective, in accordance
with the commitments made in
the Convention on the Rights of
the Child.
– Comprehensive assessments
should be undertaken of the
recession’s impact on children.
The current and future well-being
of children should be part of a
national conversation, oriented
toward specific outcomes.
– The leave-no-one-behind principle
should form the foundation of
future social strategies in
developed countries. Equity
should be at the centre of any
national plan for children and
adolescents, including education,
housing, special needs and other
key areas.
– States should consider drawing
‘red lines’ – indicators of child
poverty and well-being – that, if
crossed, automatically trigger
public intervention.
» Rescue, prevent and give hope.
Opportunities to break cycles of
child vulnerability should be
promoted. Certain guaranteed
minimum social standards would
make a positive difference.
– Rescue: poverty and deprivation
are at emergency levels in half a
dozen countries and are
intolerably high in many others.
Governments should invest to
eliminate extreme poverty by:
· implementing the
recommendations of the
European Commission report
’Investing in Children: Breaking
the cycle of disadvantage‘,28
which include a call for integrated
strategies, the development of
universal policies and the
involvement of stakeholders;
· guaranteeing an appropriate
balance between universal and
targeted policies aimed at
supporting the most
disadvantaged children; and
· improving the education
system’s impact on equal
opportunities and strengthening
the responsiveness of the health
system to the most
disadvantaged.
– Prevent: increasing investment in
social protection policies and
programmes can reduce poverty,
enhance social resilience in
children and support economic
development in an efficient, costeffective
way. Such measures
include guaranteeing basic
incomes for families, helping
S E C T I O N 5 C oncl u sion
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2 4 1
parents integrate into economic
markets and protecting vulnerable
children from financial and social
exclusion. A child rights impact
assessment is a useful strategy
for decision-making in the best
interests of children.
There needs to be a preventive
focus on children who face
increased risk due to multiple
disadvantage, such as those in
migrant and lone-parent families.
And there needs to be access to
affordable early childhood
education and care to facilitate
parents’ labour market
participation, and also to reduce
inequalities at young age.
– Give hope: adolescents and
young adults must be part of any
economic agenda to recover from
the recession. Governments
should draw up specific plans to
address youth unemployment and
high NEET levels by smoothing
the transition from education to
employment, reducing
underemployment, and
strengthening occupational
adjustment strategies.
» Produce better data for informed
public debate: availability,
timeliness and usefulness of
information about the well-being
of children should be improved.
– All countries should deepen data
collection, the better to measure
poverty levels, age groups, NEET
rates and other factors.
– New data should be released
promptly to help with timely
decision-making.
– Access should be improved to
information for non-profit, publicinterest
research institutions.
Fifty years from now, we will look
back at this period as a critical
juncture in the history of many
affluent countries. The Great
Recession may be remembered for
the generation of vulnerable children
it left behind. But it may also be
remembered as a transcendent
historical moment, when recovering
nations laid the foundations for
more inclusive societies based on
equality and opportunity for all. How
else will we repay the debt we owe
to the children of the recession?
4 2
S E C T I O N 5 C oncl u sion
I nnocenti R e p ort C a r d 1 2
International abbreviations
International abbreviations (ISO) for
countries covered in the Report Card
AT Austria
AU A ustralia
BE Belgium
BG Bulgaria
CA    Canada
CH    Switzerland
CL Chile
CY    Cyprus
CZ Czech Republic
DE Germany
DK Denmark
EE Estonia
ES    Spain
FI    Finland
FR France
GR Greece
HR Croatia
HU Hungary
IE Ireland
IL Israel
IS    Iceland
IT Italy
JP Japan
KR Republic of Korea
LT Lithuania
LU Luxembourg
LV    Latvia
MT Malta
MX    Mexico
NL Netherlands
NO    Norway
NZ N ew Zealand
PL Poland
PT Portugal
RO    Romania
SE Sweden
SI    Slovenia
SK Slovakia
TR Turkey
UK United Kingdom
US    United States
I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2 4 3
DA TA SOURCES – THE LEAGUE TABLES
League Table 1
Data refer to children aged 0 to 17.
For the majority of countries covered,
surveys detailing household conditions
are published annually (the latest available
is 2012) and they typically refer to income
levels of the previous year (2011).
For Canada, Chile, Israel, Mexico, New
Zealand and the Republic of Korea, period
differs from 2008 to 2012 (see sources
below).
Data for Turkey refer to children
aged 0–19.
The 2008 and 2012 (anchored) child
poverty rates for Croatia are not directly
comparable. The estimate for 2008 was
obtained from Eurostat. The anchored
child poverty rate for 2012 was computed
with micro-data from the 2012 European
Union Statistics on Income and Living
Conditions (EU-SILC) using the 2008
poverty line obtained from the Household
Budget Survey (HBS) 2008, and uprated
for inflation.
Sources: The calculations for League
Table 1 are based on the latest Eurostat
estimates for 2008 and 2012 (estimates
from EU-SILC; break in time series for
2012 data for Austria and the United
Kingdom).
For the remaining countries:
» Australia: HILDA 2008 and 2012
(Household, Income and Labour
Dynamics in Australia survey);
» Canada: Survey of Labour and Income
Dynamics (from Luxembourg Income
Study) 2008 and 2011;
» Chile: CASEN 2006 and 2011;
» Israel: Household Expenditure Survey
(from Luxembourg Income Study) 2007
and 2010;
» Japan: Ministry of Health, Labour and
Welfare’s Comprehensive Survey of
Living Conditions 2008 and 2012;
» Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ingresos
y Gastos de los Hogares (ENIGH) 2006
and 2012;
» New Zealand: Household Economic
Survey 2006/2007 and 2011/2012
(estimates taken from B. Perry,
Household Incomes in New Zealand:
Trends in indicators of inequality and
hardship, 1982 to 2013, New Zealand
Ministry of Social Development,
Auckland, 2014);
» Republic of Korea: Household and
Income Expenditure Survey 2007–2011
and Farm Household Economy Survey
2007–2011;
» Turkey: Income and Living Conditions
Survey 2008 and 2012;
» United States: Current Population
Survey (CPS) 2008 and 2012.
The income reference year is the calendar
or tax year previous to the survey year,
with the exceptions of: Chile, Mexico,
Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom,
where the survey and income reference
years coincide; Australia, where the
income reference year goes from July of
the previous year to June of the survey
year; Croatia and Ireland (HBS 2008),
where the income reference period is a
moving 12-month period preceding the
interview. Income reference years for
New Zealand are 2006 and 2011. For Israel,
income is monthly, with the reference
period of the last three months before
the interview.
League Table 2
Data refer to children and young people
aged 15 to 24.
Quarterly and annual estimates are not
directly comparable.
Sources: Latest Eurostat estimates for
2008 and 2013 (estimates from the
European Union Labour Force Survey).
OECD, Society at a Glance 2014:
» Australia: March 2007 and March 2013;
» Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the
United States: Q1-2007 and Q1-2013;
» Japan: Q4-2007 and Q4-2012.
OECD, Education at a Glance 2013 (2008
and 2011): Israel, Republic of Korea.
CASEN 2006 and 2011: Chile.
League Table 3
Gallup collects and makes available
information on a number of self-reported
indicators in some 160 countries. A
representative sample of 1,000 adults (age
15+) is contacted by phone in developed
countries with 80 per cent phone
coverage. Gallup data are increasingly
used by multilateral agencies, but there
are concerns about their statistical
reliability and a scarcity of disaggregated
data on children. Gallup data are available
for 2006–2013 via a paid subscription to
Gallup Analytics. See: http://www.gallup.
com/gallupanalytics.aspx
Where no data for 2007 were available,
the 2008 data were used; if the 2008 data
were not available, the 2006 data were
used. In general, 2008 data were used
for Austria, Finland, Iceland, Ireland,
Luxembourg, Malta, Norway and
Portugal; 2006 data were used for
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovakia,
Slovenia and Switzerland.
For the stress indicator: no data are
available for Bulgaria and Croatia; 2006
data were used for Cyprus, the Czech
Republic, Greece, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia and Switzerland; 2007 data
were used for Chile and Mexico. Data
for the remaining countries refer to 2008;
2012 data were used for Norway and
Switzerland, as data for 2013 were
not available.
n.a.: not available.
4 4 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
DA TA SOURCES – THE BACKGROUND PAPERS
The original research for this report,
including further methodological
explanations, can be found in the
Innocenti Working Papers detailed below
and available at www.unicef-irc.org:
Bitler, M., H. Hoynes and E. Kuka,
‘Child Poverty and the Great Recession’,
Innocenti Working Paper 2014-11,
UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/724

Chzhen, Y., ‘Child Poverty and Material
Deprivation in the European Union during
the Great Recession’, Innocenti Working
Paper No. 2014-06, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence, 2014.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/723

Chzhen, Y. , ‘Subjective Impact of the
Economic Crisis on Households with
Children in 17 European Countries’,
Innocenti Working Paper No. 2014-09,
UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/725

Chzhen, Y. and D. Richardson, ‘Young
People (not) in the Labour Market in Rich
Countries during the Great Recession’,
Innocenti Working Paper 2014-12, UNICEF
Office of Research, Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/726

Chzhen, Y., S. Hämäläinen and J. Vargas,
‘Significant Changes to Family-related
Benefits in Rich Countries during the
Great Recession’, Innocenti Working Paper
2014-13, UNICEF Office of Research,
Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/727

Holmqvist, G. and L. Natali, ‘Exploring the
Late Impact of the Great Recession Crisis
Using Gallup World Poll Data: A note’,
Innocenti Working Paper 2014-14, UNICEF
Office of Research, Florence, 2014.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/728

Kokkevi, A., M. Stavrou, E. Kanavou and
A. Fotiou. ‘The Repercussions of the
Economic Recession in Greece on
Adolescents and their Families’, Innocenti
Working Paper No. 2014-07, UNICEF
Office of Research, Florence, 2014.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/732

Martorano, B., ‘The Australian Household
Stimulus Package: Lessons from the
recent economic crisis’, Innocenti Working
Paper No. 2013-09, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence, 2013.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/697

Martorano, B., ‘Is it Possible to Adjust
“With a Human Face”? Differences in
Fiscal Consolidation Strategies between
Hungary and Iceland’, Innocenti Working
Paper No. 2014-03, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence, 2014.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/719

Martorano, B., ‘The Consequences of the
Recent Economic Crisis and Government
Reactions for Children’, Innocenti Working
Paper No. 2014-05, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence, 2014.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/722

Martorano, B., ‘Pre-crisis Conditions and
Government Policy Responses: Chile and
Mexico during the Great Recession’,
Innocenti Working Paper 2014-15, UNICEF
Office of Research, Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/729

Natali, L., B. Martorano, S. Handa, G.
Holmqvist and Y. Chzhen, ‘Trends in Child
Well-being in EU Countries during the
Great Recession: A cross-country
comparative perspective’, Innocenti
Working Paper 2014-10, UNICEF Office of
Research, Florence.

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/730

I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2 4 5
REFERENCES
1. EU-28 plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland
and Turkey. Natali et al. ‘Trends in Child
Welfare’ details cases where these data are
not complete.
2. This figure refers to all households, with
and without children.
3. OECD, Society at a Glance 2014: OECD
Social Indicators, OECD Publishing, 2014.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/soc_glance-

2014-en
4. OECD, Society at a Glance 2014, p. 21.
5. European Union, Social Europe: Many
ways, one objective, Annual Report of the
Social Protection Committee on the social
situation in the European Union, 2014,
p. 127.
6. ibid., p. 78.
7. Data on the United States Special
Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants
and Children (WIC) Program are available
at www.fns.usda.gov/pd/wic-program
8. United States Department of
Agriculture, ‘Food and Nutrition’.
www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/
usdahome?navid=food-nutrition
9. Canada Foodbanks, ‘Hungercount
2013’. www.foodbankscanada.ca/
FoodBanks/MediaLibrary/HungerCount/
HungerCount2013.pdf
10. CECODHAS Housing Europe, Press
release, 2013. www.housingeurope.eu/
resource-144/about-time-to-stop-aeuropean-
wave-of-evictions
11. RealtyTrac, ‘Foreclosure Report’,
2013. www.realtytrac.com/content/
foreclosure-market-report/2013-year-endus-
foreclosure-report-7963
12. European Union, Social Europe: Many
ways, one objective, p. 146.
13. At the end of 2011, when the worst
effects of the recession were still to be
seen, a European report warned about the
effects of the crisis on the shocking levels
of homelessness among children: “The
most alarming tendency is the increase in
children becoming homeless which is
evident in a number of places, either
because their family has been left
homeless or because of a breakdown of
family relationships due to the strain
resulting from the crisis.” See: European
Commission, Directorate-General for
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion,
‘Homelessness during the Crisis’,
Research Note 8/2011, 2011, p. 12.
Interestingly, the Great Recession does
not seem to have had a similar effect in
other countries, such as the United States.
14. UNICEF, ‘The Children Left Behind:
A league table of inequality in child
well-being in the world’s rich countries’,
Innocenti Report Card 9, UNICEF Innocenti
Research Centre, Florence, 2010, p. 29.
15. Caritas Europa, Europe 2020 Shadow
Report, Caritas Europa, Brussels, 2013,
pp. 26ff.
16. Brooks-Gunna, J., W. Schneider and
J. Waldfogel, ‘The Great Recession and
the Risk for Child Maltreatment’, Child
Abuse and Neglect, vol. 37, no. 10, 2013,
pp. 721. www.sciencedirect.com/science/
article/pii/S0145213413002226. For
information on the increase see also:
Corak, M. ‘America’s Children are the
Silent Victims of the Great Recession’,
PBS Newshour, 8 October 2013.
www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/
americas-children-are-the-sile/
17. OECD, Education Indicators in
Focus 18, OECD, 2013.
18. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre,
‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league
tables of child poverty in the world’s rich
countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10,
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre,
Florence, 2012.
19. Migrant households are defined as
those with at least one adult born outside
the European Union.
20. Center for Economic and Social
Rights, ‘European Rights Chief Warns of
Austerity’s “Lost Generation”’, 5 June
2014. http://cesr.org/article.php?id=1608
21. OECD, Education Indicators in
Focus 18.
22. OECD, Society at a Glance 2014.
23. Sources as given for League Table 1
on page 44.
24. These figures are calculated on the
basis of the absolute children population
numbers behind League Table 1
(see page 44).
25. The figure reports the number of
years we must go back to observe median
household income in families with
children as low as it was in 2012.
26. European Commission, Directorate-
General for Employment, Social Affairs
and Inclusion, The Social Dimension of
the Europe 2020 Strategy: A report of the
Social Protection Committee, European
Commission, 2011. http://bookshop.
europa.eu/en/the-social-dimension-of-theeurope-
2020-strategy-pbKEBA11001/
27. OECD, Society at a Glance 2014,
p. 18.
28. European Commission, ‘Investing in
Children: Breaking the cycle of
disadvantage’, Commission
Recommendation, 20 February 2013.

http://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?do

cId=9762&langId=en
4 6 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
Ack nowledgements
The Innocenti Report Card 12 project was
coordinated by the UNICEF Office of
Research – Innocenti, and assisted by a
panel of advisors and reviewers. Research
was completed at the end of June 2014.
The full text and the backgound papers to
this report can be downloaded from the
UNICEF Office of research website at
www.unicef-irc.org.
Research and data analysis
Yekaterina Chzhen (Social and
Economic Policy Specialist, UNICEF Office
of Research)
Gonzalo Fanjul (Independent consultant)
Sudhanshu Handa (Chief, Social and
Economic Policy Unit, UNICEF Office
of Research)
Goran Holmqvist (Associate Director,
UNICEF Office of Research)
Bruno Martorano (Consultant,
UNICEF Office of Research)
Luisa Natali (Consultant, UNICEF Office
of Research)
Advisory board
Peter Adamson (Independent consultant)
Marta Arias Robles (Advocacy Director,
Spanish Committee for UNICEF)
Jonathan Bradshaw (University of York;
Durham University)
Chris De Neubourg (Maastricht University;
Tilburg University)
Liliana Fernandes (Portuguese Catholic
University)
Manos Matsaganis (Athens University
of Economics and Business)
Kenneth Nelson (Swedish Institute for
Social Research, Stockholm University)
Dominic Richardson (Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and
Development, Social Policy Division)
Judit Vall Castello (Centre for Research
in Economic Policy and Health, Pompeu
Fabra University)
Peter Whiteford (Australian National
University)
UNICEF Advisors
Prerna Banati (Senior Planning Specialist,
UNICEF Office of Research)
Aurélie Chun (Consultant, Private
Fundraising and Partnerships,
UNICEF Geneva)
Martin Evans (Social Policy Specialist,
Division of Data, Research and Policy,
UNICEF New York)
Sandrine Flavier (Communication
Specialist, Private Fundraising and
Partnerships, UNICEF Geneva)
Marie-Claude Martin (Director,
UNICEF Office of Research)
Jens Matthes (Senior Policy Specialist,
Division of Data, Research and Policy,
UNICEF New York)
Alison Rhodes (Programme Specialist,
Private Fundraising and Partnerships,
UNICEF Geneva)
Dale Rutstein (Chief, Communication Unit,
UNICEF Office of Research)
Administrative support at the UNICEF
Office of Research was provided by Cinzia
Iusco Bruschi and Laura Meucci.
I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2 4 7
4 8 I n n o c e n t i R e p o r t C a r d 1 2
Previous issues in this series:
Innocenti Report Card 1
A league table of child poverty in rich nations
Innocenti Report Card 2
A league table of child deaths by injury in rich nations
Innocenti Report Card 3
A league table of teenage births in rich nations
Innocenti Report Card 4
A league table of educational disadvantage in rich nations
Innocenti Report Card 5
A league table of child maltreatment deaths in rich nations
Innocenti Report Card 6
Child poverty in rich countries 2005
Innocenti Report Card 7
Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child
well-being in rich countries
Innocenti Report Card 8
The child care transition: A league table of early childhood
education and care in economically advanced countries
Innocenti Report Card 9
The children left behind: A league table of inequality in
child well-being in the world’s rich countries
Innocenti Report Card 10
Measuring child poverty: New league tables of child
poverty in the world’s rich countries
Innocenti Report Card 11
Child well-being in rich countries: A comparative overview
Graphics: MCC Design, UK (mccdesign.com)
Printed by: ABC Tipografia, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy
Innocenti Report Card 12, 2014
Children of the Recession:
The impact of the economic crisis on
child well-being in rich countries
UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti
Piazza SS. Annunziata, 12
50122 Florence, Italy
Tel: +39 055 20 330
Fax: +39 055 2033 220
florence@unicef.org
www.unicef-irc.org
ISSN 1605-7317
© The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
October 2014
Sales No. E.14.XX.6
Stock no. 721U
ISBN: 978-88-6522-030-6

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