Photo: Kids seen in a street alley in N’djamena, Chad, on June 22, 2015. One of the main problems faced by children is poverty. Chad, a crossing point between sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world [ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES].
The world is failing impoverished kids.
Although the rate of extreme poverty is declining worldwide, children are disproportionately impacted, according to two new reports.
The number of people living in extreme poverty ― or on less than $1.90 a day ― has declined, per a report the World Bank released Sunday. In 2013, the year with the latest comprehensive data, 767 million people worldwide were living in extreme poverty, down from 881 million the previous year.
However, among the world’s poorest, children are by far the worst-hit: Kids are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty, according to a joint World Bank and UNICEF report released Tuesday.
This report is based on data from 89 countries, representing 83 percent of the developing world. Although children make up one third of the population studied, they represent half of the extreme poor ― or almost 385 million kids worldwide.
“Children are not only more likely to be living in extreme poverty; the effects of poverty are most damaging to children. They are the worst off of the worst off,” UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said in a release. “This not only limits their futures, it drags down their societies.”
The situation is most severe in sub-Saharan Africa, where almost half of children are surviving on less than $1.90 a day.
And it may only get worse in the future: In 2013, sub-Saharan Africa was home to more than 50 percent of children worldwide living in extreme poverty, per the World Bank. By 2030, the year by which the United Nations has committed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide, sub-Saharan Africa may account for almost 90 percent of extremely poor children, according to a report released in September by United Kingdom-based think tank the Overseas Development Institute.
The World Bank-UNICEF report makes several recommendations to countries to help end extreme poverty among children. It suggests investing in social programs that target the poorest, including cash transfer programs that give money directly to families to help pay for food, healthcare and other necessities, and proposes prioritizing funding for education, clean water, health and other sectors that benefit poor children.
“The sheer number of children in extreme poverty points to a real need to invest specifically in the early years—in services such as prenatal care, early childhood development programs, quality schooling,” the World Bank’s Ana Revenga said in a release. “Improving these services is the only way to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”
By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman