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Almost 63% of Children and Adolescents in the Region Suffer some Type of Poverty

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22 June 2010|Press Release

A study conducted by ECLAC and UNICEF included the non-compliance of basic rights and economic and social deprivations to measure child poverty.

(22 June 2010) Almost 63% of children and adolescents in the region suffer some type of poverty, defined in terms of the deprivations that affect the exercise of their rights, in addition to household income, according to a study conducted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

In the article, "Child poverty: a priority challenge" published in the latest issue of the newsletter "Challenges", Ernesto Espíndola and María Nieves Rico, of ECLAC's Social Development Division, assert that measuring poverty implies considering a child poor if at least one of his or her human, economic, social and cultural rights is infringed.

The authors advanced some of the results of a study carried out by ECLAC and the Regional Office of UNICEF between 2008-2009, which measured the multiple dimensions of child poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, linking each dimension to the compliance of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The study, which will be released in coming months, considered factors such as nutrition, access to potable water, connection to sanitation services, housing material and the number of people per room, school attendance and years of schooling and ownership of radio, television or telephone and access to electricity whose deprivation contributes to poverty and social exclusion.

Additionally, it included household income levels and the potential capacity of those resources to satisfy their basic needs.


"Total child poverty is an expression of social exclusion and the means by which it is reproduced. Although children who live a situation of moderate poverty do not suffer a serious deterioration of their life conditions, their future opportunities are hampered. Poor nutrition, school repetition and desertion, lack of expectations and the discrimination they face because they are poor not only affect their rights in the present, but will also leave them in the lowest levels of the social ladder, making them reproduce their precarious conditions in their adult life and therefore affecting the future generations," state Espíndola and Rico.

Just as poverty has many dimensions, the response of the State to reduce it must also be multidimensional. The severe and moderate deprivations of the child population may be reversed through direct State intervention to, among other things, ensure the provision of health services and nutrition and access to potable water and sanitation services, as well as through indirect measures, by increasing household income.

The authors suggest additional affirmative actions geared at poor children and adolescents pertaining to social groups that are particularly vulnerable to suffering deprivations, such as those of indigenous origin or from rural areas.

The newsletter Challenges is a joint publication of ECLAC and UNICEF that monitors progress in the compliance of the Millennium Development Goals related to children and adolescents.



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