Irish child poverty ranked near bottom after recession increase

Families in Ireland experiencing additional stress and have lower satisfaction with life - Unicef

The report from Unicef measuring levels of child poverty emphasised the long-term impact policy can have on the lives of children. Photograph: PA

The report from Unicef measuring levels of child poverty emphasised the long-term impact policy can have on the lives of children. Photograph: PA

 

Ireland ranks 37th out of 41 countries in a report measuring relative changes in child poverty published today by Unicef.

The report examines the impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich nations and ranks 41 countries in the OECD and EU according to whether levels of child poverty have increased or decreased since 2008.

The child poverty rate as measured by Eurostat rose from 18 per cent to 28.6 per cent in the five year period, corresponding to a net increase of more than 130,000 poor children in Ireland.

The report says Irish families with children have “lost the equivalent of ten years of income progress”; they are experiencing additional stress and have a lower overall satisfaction with life.

Document: Unicef report

In 23 of the 41 countries analysed, child poverty increased since 2008; it fell in 18 countries.

Policy changes can make a significant impact on children’s lives, said Unicef Ireland executive director Peter Power.

“Countries should place the well-being of children at the top of their priorities during economic recessions,” he said.

“Children living in poverty are more likely to become impoverished adults and have poor children, creating and sustaining intergenerational cycles of poverty.”

Mr Power added: “The right policy choices, regardless of the economic environment, can make lasting positive changes to children’s lives and give every child the best start to ensure that they grow up to fulfil their potential.”