Study: 30 Million Children In East Asia & Pacific Suffer From Severe Poverty
November 30, 2011
A UNICEF study analyzing child poverty in East Asia and the Pacific has found that over 30 million children were unable to go to school, or access basic health care, safe drinking water, a sanitary toilet or adequate nutrition.
AsianScientist (Nov. 30, 2011) – A new UNICEF study analysing child poverty in East Asia and the Pacific has found that of the 93 million child population, over 30 million suffered from at least one form of severe deprivation, such as the inability to go to school, or access basic health care, safe drinking water, a sanitary toilet or adequate nutrition – and more than 13 million suffered from two or more forms of severe deprivation.
The study, entitled “Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities,” reviewed child poverty studies carried out in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam from 2007 to 2010. It revealed the following trends:
Rural versus urban – child poverty was 30 percent higher in rural Cambodia than in urban areas, 60 percent higher in rural Thailand, 130 percent higher in rural Philippines, and 180 percent higher in rural Vietnam;
Geographic disparities – sub-national disparities within countries were pronounced – for example, the number of children suffering from severe deprivation in Vietnam was over 6 times higher in the north-west region than the Red River Delta; and 50 percent higher in southern Thailand than the North;
Disparities among ethnic minorities – disproportionately high levels of poverty and deprivation are evident among some ethnic minority children, at about 60 percent higher than among dominant ethnic groups in both Lao PDR and Mongolia, 9 times as large in the Philippines and nearly 15 times larger in Thailand;
Education of household head- severe deprivation more than doubled in households where the household head had only a primary-school education or less, compared to households where the household head had secondary or higher education;
Family size – the incidence of severe deprivation in Mongolia and Vietnam almost doubled in households with more than seven members, compared to those with four or fewer. In Thailand, the incidence more than tripled under these conditions.
“The study demonstrates that income gains, including in middle income countries in the region, have not necessarily translated into gains for all children,” said Mahesh Patel, UNICEF Regional Advisor for Social Policy.
“Any national equity and disparity reduction policy must start with child poverty reduction at its center.”
The seven Asia-Pacific countries were among 53 worldwide that participated in UNICEF’s Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparity, which draws attention to the daily deprivations suffered by children and their negative impact on national development.
The full report can be downloaded here (2.48 MB, PDF): Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities.
Source: UNICEF; photo: © UNICEF/Jim Holmes.
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