The Breadth of Child Poverty in Europe
In recent years, widespread acknowledgement has grown in both academic and policy circles that children deserve a special focus in poverty measurement. It is now generally accepted that children have different basic needs from adults and are harder hit, both in the short- and long-term, when their basic needs are not met. The European Union (EU) has acknowledged the need for child-focused indicators in monitoring poverty and social exclusion and is currently developing, testing and comparing indicators of child well-being across member states. This UNICEF working paper explores the degree of overlap and accumulation of child deprivations across monetary and multidimensional indicators of poverty. The EU monetary 'at-risk-of-poverty' indicator (a measure of family income) is compared with a range of child deprivation indicators (e.g., related to aspects of housing, health, education, etc.) in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The paper’s findings provide a strong call for the need to take a multidimensional approach to the measurement of child poverty. In essence, many children experience poverty in some aspects of their lives and some children experience poverty in many aspects of their lives. How they experience poverty varies from country to country and is affected by policy choices. In Canada, there is no official national measure of poverty, and provincial and territorial governments and other institutions use a range of measures, but few take a child-focused view of the way children experience poverty across many aspects of their lives.