And Croatia’s Child Poverty Is Alarming – UNICEF

Child poverty in Croatia

Child poverty in Croatia

 

A UNICEF report “Children of the Recession” released Tuesday 28 October in Rome says that 2.6 million children have sunk below the poverty line in the world’s most affluent countries since the financial crisis began in 2008. The total number of children living in poverty in rich countries has risen to an estimated 76.5 million.
The report found that the social policy responses of countries with similar economic circumstances varied markedly, with differing impacts on children,” said Jeffrey O’Malley, UNICEF’s head of global policy and strategy, in a press release on the organization’s website.
UNICEF’s analysis showed that early economic stimulus programs in some countries were effective in protecting children, but that things changed after 2010. that year, most developed countries pivoted sharply from budget stimulus to budget cuts. That had negative effects on children – especially in the Mediterranean region.
Many affluent countries have suffered a great leap backwards in terms of household income, and the impact on children will have long-lasting repercussions for them and their communities,” O’Malley said, adding that “all children need strong social safety nets to protect children in bad times and good – and wealthy countries should lead by example.”
Children in Croatia are among the hardest hit by the current recession.
In 23 of the 41 countries analysed, child poverty has increased since 2008. In Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland, rates rose by over 50 per cent.
The report analysed 41 countries and found that 76.6 million children there were living below the poverty level. Poverty has increased in 23 countries, mostly in Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Croatia and Iceland, while the number of children who live in families with incomes below the poverty line has fallen in 18 countries, most markedly in Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Norway and Finland.
Croatia ranked 38th as the number of its poor children has increased by 11.8 percent since 2008. The largest increase was recorded in Ireland (20.4%), and increases were also observed in the United States (2.6%) and the United Kingdom (1.6%). Among Croatia’s neighbours, in Hungary child poverty increased by 2.9% and in Slovenia by 1.8%.
Croatia ranked 39th in terms of the proportion of young people aged 15-24 who are not in education, employment or training, whose number has gone up by 8.5%. The largest increases were observed in Cyprus (9%) and Greece (8.9%), and increases were also recorded in Italy and Romania (5.6% each), Hungary (3.9%) and Slovenia (2.7%).
“Failure to respond boldly may have long-term negative implications for societies,” the report said, warning of possible reduced population growth, as young people were not motivated to start their own families because of economic conditions.

Excerpt from UNICEF Report on Child Poverty

Excerpt from UNICEF Report on Child Poverty (click to enlarge)

UNICEF called on governments to ensure minimum social standards, saying that they should have worked on reducing poverty during the time of growth in order to protect themselves against future shocks.
What an important topic!
While this UNICEF Report may not be without flaws in the criteria used in the research to measure poverty, in its definition of poverty, in its assumptions about causes of poverty (e.g. effects of recession, austerity measures etc.) or increased poverty one thing is for sure: child poverty is one of the most important issues all governments need to take seriously, regardless of whether the economy is good or bad. Children are our future world and will shape it one day. Peace and comfort cannot be guaranteed in any country where many live in or on the brink of poverty. Poverty in itself breeds unrest and discomfort and it’s time the political elites took serious the recommendation of creating and maintaining acceptable minimum social standards, which see all having the opportunities to live above the poverty line. Otherwise, the future looks much bleaker than we can imagine.
Because real median incomes fell in many countries, UNICEF used an “anchored” poverty line, which was the equivalent of 60% of median income in 2008, but increased only by prices over the period between 2008 and 2012.
The use of an anchored poverty line recognises that when household incomes fall dramatically, the use of a purely relative poverty line will underestimate the effects of recession and budget cuts on family well being.
For many countries, this UNICEF report card makes for grim reading and Croatia is one of those countries. Certainly the ever rising numbers of job losses and unemployment statistics in Croatia have seen the past six years of unrelenting recession and consequent difficulties for large numbers of families in satisfying their most basic material and educational needs. Unemployment rates have left many families unable to provide the care, protection and opportunities to which children are entitled.
The gap between rich and poor families is widening in an alarming number of developed countries and Croatia is no exception. However, one does get that uneasy feeling that many in Croatia have amassed relatively high wealth through corruption and shonky or fraudulent privatisation deals of public companies.
The disquieting thought comes to mind: will the place of birth determine the children’s rights and opportunities in life (not just in Croatia)? Will such history in human societies of the so-called developed world we left behind decades ago slowly grow new paws and take over the not so distant future? Surely not! All we need is a solid lead by the government that would decentralise much of the welfare initiatives to local levels so that no child is left unattended particularly given that most of the children in Croatia who live below the poverty line live in rural areas, villages and local authorities know local needs best. The whole society needs to be included in fighting child poverty and lack of opportunities because the society of tomorrow will be based on what we do today. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on MrMilitantNegro™.

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  2. This makes very sad reading but thank you, Ina, for posting and for making us aware.
    Bless You!
    john

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  3. Michael Silovic says:

    Thank you for the article Ina as the statistics are alarming. One would think that after 20 years of Independence that our children would be better off by now.Corruption plays a small part in this matter as it is true in any goverment in the world that politicians are corrupt and full of greed.Until laws are passed that are harsh on those who steal from the public we will continue to see this happening. Now the real reason for the poverty increase is due to the fact that we do not have a Croatia First Policy in place. Joining in the EU and NATO is also contributing to this increase because we are focusing our resources in areas that we should not be spending in and the laws governing our businesses have hurt a lot of family owned businesses. The statistics prove me right that we should not allow immigration on non Croats into the country because we can not even take care of our own.We must also blame our elected leaders not only for the corruption but failure to insure that those who live in the villages were given a fair share of investments. It seems we are spending more money in tourist regions rather then internal Croatia.In the many years we have joined together here a lot has been said of changing the way our country and leadership is going . Soon we will have a chance to replace our leaders and hope a good team will come into place.If they fail to initiate a Croatia first policy then nothing will change.

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  4. Heartbreaking, for the children. For the parents. For all impacted. It leaves one feeling so helpless. Holding good thoughts that some change will find its way to help.

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    • Thank you, Paulette. Poverty devastates and when it touches children it’s even worse because it can cause loss of hope in future and that needs to be avoided.

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  5. It’s shameful since we are a Roman Catholic state and Rome has the money to help. The VAtican is the richest corporation on this planet and yet allow children to go hungry. Shame.

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    • I think all sectors of community need to chip in and solve poverty, Ines but the greatest responsibility lie in the government who should be creating opportunities for people to work, be productive, earn money in the long run so that threat of poverty is not measured by the size of a bank account, which can dry out…Thanks for your comment

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    • Sorry Ines, but until Croatia gets its act together first and cleans up its own mess, no amount of donations from anyone or anywhere will actually fix the problem in the long term. Anything that doesn’t involve getting rid of corruption & the communist mindset and that doesn’t involve effective strategies for developing local business and bringing together all Croats to contribute to the nation (as Michael Silovic said, “Croatia First” Policy), is an ineffective band aid strategy.

      It is very sad indeed that Croatian children are in this situation, but outside help is not the answer for Croatia when there’s something that’s destroying the country from within.

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  6. First off I am a dog person. I have a dog. But listen to this: In 2011 a Chinese businessman purchased a red Tibetan mastif dog for $1.5 million. The businessman can chooses to do what he wants with his money but I can’t help but wonder if part of the money were better spent diminishing the poverty gap. This is just one example. I don’t know what the solution is but there is certainly an imbalance.

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  7. Child poverty should alarm us wherever we live. New Zealand has done far less than it should have.

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    • It’s getting to the stage, Gallivanta, where the gap between Third world countries and the developed ones when it comes to poverty is disappearing. So terrible how poverty can thrive amidst so much wealth around. Heart breaking

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  8. there are several factors here that I perceive; 1) population reduction; 2) peodophilia; 3) organ trade; 4) Criminal slave industry…resources are deliberately being withheld to cause civil chaos…Child predators are taking advantage of this wealth gap to molest children…many of these children ‘disappear’ and their organs are sold for profit..prisoners, here, literally work for free, which is ideal capitalism, minimizing cost, maximizing gains…peace

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    • That is the darkest reality end of poverty – children vulnerable – RD Revilo, and then there is the slavery industry that’s created and maintained by creating poverty and not doing much, apart from big words, about it.

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      • I agree…and this poverty ‘weapon’ is used against children in developing countries as wealthy sex perverts use them as their play toys…but government is not the answer, here government protects these wealthy criminals socially and legally and imposes their agenda on other countries…

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      • …and cheap labour to wealth creators in within the circles of the poor … just awful … but I always imagine that there will be uprisings against poverty

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      • and they are planning for the civil unrest…we find the AIDS virus was created, and so is the ebola virus…but the killing is mainly done by the drugs and vaccines, not the virus…this is the demonology we are up against…it has no limits…

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  9. oh Ina, I hope you don’t mind, but I posted this on my facebook page…peace

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    • Thank you RD Revilo – all good – poverty affects every one of world’s poor equally and children are the same everywhere and suffer in same ways from same threats and dangers.

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  10. Good morning !
    Thank you for visiting my blog ! 🙂
    Regards,
    Aliosa.

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  11. This is very sad to read and i know such cases myself. It’s especially bad when we talk about children, i hate that children have to suffer because of poverty. Also i think lot of it has to do with parents who get into big debts over foolish things or addictions and therefore cannot help their children properly. Kids shouldn’t have to suffer and feel less optimistic about future.

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    • I agree, dani. There are many irresponsible parents around who get into debts they cannot pay off and I suppose many do that because either they want a lifestyle they cannot afford or they have no jobs. There are also many rural areas and farmlands abandoned and one wonders whether things would be better if the government stimulates agricultural activities more and secures markets etc – Croatia is so rich with underutilised resources – every bit of positive action would help I’m sure

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  12. What kind of world are we a part of if we cannot even feed our children? Everywhere. We continue to create awareness around this great need, yet the challenge to provide sustenance seems elusive. We can and must persevere.

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    • We must persevere. When I was young the urge to reduce poverty in “Third World Countries/TWC” was everywhere and all “we” have done is for poverty to spread beyond TWC, right into our backyards…more action is definitely needed for it is painful, Eric, to even think that children go hungry let alone don’t have opportunities to try and better their lives…

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  13. Something needs to be done.

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  14. The gaps of the haves and have nots is increasingly getting wider and wider.. And those in office of government it seems ( here too in the UK ) live on cloud nine on what is an affordable income.. And does not even comprehend how many are living in poverty.. As families struggle with ever increasing bills and food prices..

    More and more here now rely upon ‘Food Banks’ for their food to help them get through the week with enough food..
    It is disgusting as we see so much squandered waste in government aid send abroad yet so much still needs addressing at home..
    Thank you for sharing
    Sue

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    • It gets hard when food banks run out of food, which is what’s happening in quite a few across Croatia and it’s so nice to see them replenished through giving and donating. Indeed it’s scary to think what future might hold for those who have little or no opportunity to earn, work etc – I tend to think that there has to be a better way and that people will usher it in even if it means a revolution??? We must never forget the Bastille … hunger and poverty do breed the urge to be better, Sue.

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  15. beautifulawareness says:

    Reblogged this on Beautiful Awareness.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] child poverty. It’s risen higher in Croatia than any other European Union country, at a rate that UNICEF calls “alarming”. In Detroit it’s risen faster than in any other major city in the […]

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  2. […] UNICEF’s 2014 report “Children of Recession” had placed Croatia’s levels of children living in poverty and at the brink of poverty at […]

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