Child poverty rates have more than doubled in Greece since 2008, affecting two in every five children, the UN’s child agency has said, in a report that underlines the negative impact of austerity measures on children, particularly in the Mediterranean region..
A report (pdf) issued on October 28, as thousands of children were taking part in school parades across Greece, Unicef found that 40.5% of children in Greece were living households were income is below the poverty line in 2012, the highest rate in world’s 41 most affluent countries.
Unicef said that 2.6m children have sunk below the poverty line in these countries since 2008, bringing the total number of children in the “developed” world living in poverty to an estimated 76.5m.
In 23 of the 41 countries analysed, child poverty has increased since 2008, with Iceland experiencing the greatest jump, followed by Greece, Latvia, Croatia and Ireland, where the difference was more than 50% on pre-crisis levels.
In Greece’s case, the child poverty rate jumped 17.5 points, from 23% in 2008 to 40.5% in 2012. The country also witnessed a trebling in the proportion of children who are income poor and severely deprived.
The report said that in Greece and Spain, poor children were further below the poverty line in 2013 than they were in 2008. Children in migrant households were more adversely affected, with poverty rates increasing by 35 percentage points compared with 15 percentage points for all other children.
The report also found that the 2012 median Greek household incomes for families with children sank to 1998 levels – the equivalent of a loss of 14 years of income progress. In real terms, that meant that the since 2008, the percentage of households with children unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or a vegetable equivalent) every second day increased by 18% Greece in 2012.