Europe 2017: Four in Ten children in Greece are at risk of poverty


The Europe 2020 strategy promotes social inclusion,  through the reduction of poverty, by aiming to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The percentage of children living in a household at risk of poverty or social exclusion is a significant social indicator.  The main factors affecting child poverty are the labour market situation of the parents, which is linked to their level of education, the composition of the household in which the children live and the effectiveness of government intervention through income support and the provision of enabling services. This indicator corresponds to the sum of persons who are: at risk of poverty or severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity.

However this noble aim of the European Union seems to be set back by so called  ‘Stability and Growth’ austerity policies that put the poorer social groups in the poorer member states, at a disadvantage.

The latest  Eurostat study on Poverty and Social Exclusion, based on 2016 figure found that  the percentage of children  living in a household at risk of poverty or social exclusion  in Greece  between 2010 and 2016, jumped from 28.7% to 37.5%, an increase of 8.8%. What that means is that in 2017  four in ten children in Greece under the age of 17 face the risk  of poverty.

Cyprus (+8%) and Italy (+5.4%) also recorded an increase in the number of children in the at risk of poverty category. (Surprisingly,  Sweden has also recorded a slight  increase).

Greece has the third highest proportion of children at risk of poverty among European Union Member States with 37.5% of the under 17 population at risk,  and the highest among Eurozone countries.  In  Romania (49.2%) and Bulgaria (45.6%)  risk of poverty for minors is higher than that of Greece, and significantly higher than the EU average,  but at least the situation in these two countries who started from a very low base,  is slightly improving.

In total,  24.8 million children; that is 26.4% of the population aged under 17, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2016 in the EU.

The lowest rates were recorded in Denmark (13.8%), Finland (14.7%) and Slovenia (14.9%).

The EU average showed a decrease in the percentage of children at risk of poverty, with the figure improving from 27.5% in 2010, to 26.4% in 2016 which translates to  approximately 900,000 children . 

The largest improvement was recorded in Latvia by 17.5% (from 42.2% in 2010 to 24.7% in 2016); Poland (-6.6%); Ireland (5.3%); Hungary (5.1%), and Lithuania (-3.4%).

Source: Greek Reporter, Eurostat

Edited for Apokoronas News