Though poverty is measured according to dimensions that include mortality, morbidity, hunger, sickness, illiteracy, homelessness and powerlessness, these measures do not fully encompass the conditions of children living in poverty. Rarely differentiated from poverty in general, child poverty affects individuals at the most crucial stage of their lives, hindering not only their physical development but also their emotional development. Listed below are five statistics about child poverty.

  1. 1 billion children – more than half of those living in developing countries – suffer from one or more forms of severe deprivation, according to a study performed by the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics. Every second child suffers from deprivation of at least one of the following: nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation, health, shelter, education and information. Furthermore, deprivation in one area often causes deprivation in another area – an estimated 700 million children suffer from two or more deprivations.
  2. 180 million children are currently engaged in child labor. Material deprivation often forces desperate children, including those subjected to war, orphaned or weakened by a condition such as HIV/AIDS, into dangerous forms of labor in order to support themselves and their families. Once engaged in child labor, children are deprived of an education and regularly abused. Many of them do not survive until adulthood.
  3. Roughly 1.2 children fall victim to human trafficking each year, and more than 2 million children are sexually exploited in the commercial sex industry each year. Material deprivation leads children to search for additional sources of income, and traffickers capitalize upon their vulnerability. Exploitation exacerbates conditions of poverty, preventing children from attending school and further deteriorating their mental and physical health.
  4. 400 million children (1 in 5) lack access to safe water, and 640 million (1 in 3) live without adequate shelter. Each year 1.4 million children die because of unsafe drinking water or inadequate sanitation.
  5. 22,000 children under the age of five die each day as a result of poverty, amounting to more than 8 million deaths per year.

– Katie Bandera

Sources: UNICEF Global Issues
Photo: Flickr