Half of the world’s children live in poverty and face the constant risk of conflict, discrimination and abuse. Here are five countries with the highest levels of child poverty around the world and the current state of these countries.
Five Countries With the Highest Levels of Child Poverty
- Romania – Roughly half of Romania’s children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Romania’s child poverty rate increased from 50 to 51 percent after Romania entered the European Union. Child labor in Romania is at one percent; although this is encouraging, it is still an issue in the case of child development. Along with a poor economy, healthcare in Romania is minimal for children. It is estimated that 12 percent of children in Romania die before the age of five.
- Israel – The child poverty rate in Israel showed a decrease from 2006 to 2015, but from 2015 to 2016 there was a slight rise in the poverty levels from 30 percent to 31.2 percent. The poverty levels for ultra-Orthodox families and single-parent families in Israel increased in 2016. One out of three children in Israel live in poor conditions and suffer from malnutrition. One cause to the poor state of children in Israel is due to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. This conflict has injured and killed many children in Israel, and Israeli school buses have been the target of many attacks.
- Turkey – 17 percent of Turkey’s population lives in poverty, and the gap between rich and poor is becoming wider and wider. Babies born in Turkey are suffering as soon as they are born; 11 percent of babies are born with dietary deficiencies and 20 percent of children die before the age of five. Education in Turkey is progressing, but five percent of children still do not attend school. The majority of those children are girls.
- Bulgaria – Children under the age of 18 in Bulgaria have reached the highest risk of poverty and social exclusion. It is estimated that 52 percent of these children are at risk. Disabled people, ethnic minority groups and children are some of the most vulnerable groups in Bulgaria and are ill-equipped to be deprived of their basic rights of clean water, food and security.
- Mexico – The majority of the poor in Mexico are children. It is estimated that 53.8 percent of children in Mexico live in poverty. In addition, 14 percent of children in Mexico have suffered from slow development and are malnourished. Many of the problems regarding child poverty in Mexico can be linked to the lack of trust in the government and decreases in income; this often prohibits children from attending school, forcing them instead into the workforce to help provide for their family.
There are many ways to help the millions of children living in poverty around the world. Here are five ways that one person can change the future of child poverty.
Five Ways to Make an Impact on Child Poverty
- Contact your representatives in Congress – One of the easiest ways to make a difference is by simply sending an email or making a quick phone call to support bills that can greatly affect the lives of those suffering in extreme poverty. If support is shown for a bill, members of Congress are more likely to push the bill forward.
- Support The Hunger Project – The Hunger Project is a non-governmental organization that is fighting to end global hunger. The Hunger Project builds confidence in those who are suffering from social suppression and hunger and helps them find a voice to take charge of their own development. As an example, an outcome evaluation in Ghana and Malawi showed significant improvements in gender equality after The Hunger Project stepped in to help.
- Promote proper water quality – Women and girls spend roughly six hours a day going out and collecting water. This keeps young girls from educational opportunities and emphasizes the limited access to clean water for children in developing countries. Access to clean water can unlock significant potential for millions of children. Reduced time spent collecting water has shown an increase in school attendance for children.
- Empower Women – By empowering women, closing gender gaps and eliminating gender discrimination, the wellbeing and progress of children will increase. When girls are discriminated against, they are less likely to attend school. There is a correlation between educated women and child survival and development; a lack of proper education decreases the child survival rate. One study suggested that if men and women had the same influence in decision-making, it could allow 13.4 million fewer children in South Asia to be undernourished.
- Sponsor a child – Sponsoring a child can provide the child with opportunities for success that they might never have. It also shows the child that there is someone who cares enough to encourage them and provide them with the basic necessities. When children know that they are supported, it pushes them to try their hardest and reach their full potential.
Children are the future, and each person around the world has the responsibility to help the future grow. It is important to be aware of child poverty around the world and take steps to reduce it.
– Victoria Fowler