U.S.: Second-highest child poverty level

May 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM
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BRUSSELS, May 29 (UPI) -- A UNICEF study of 35 developed countries found the United States had the second-highest rate of child poverty after Romania.

The study - -titled Report Card 10 -- found the child poverty rate in Romania was 26.5 percent. The U.S. rate was 23.1 percent, followed by Latvia and Bulgaria at 18.8 percent, Spain at 17.1 percent and Greece at 16 percent.

Iceland had the lowest child poverty rate, 4.7 percent, followed by Finland at 5.3 percent, Cyprus and the Netherlands at 6.1 percent and Norway at 6.3 percent.

Report Card 10, from UNICEF's Office of Research, looked not only at child poverty but child deprivation across the industrialized world. It defined a child as deprived if he or she lacked two or more of a list of 14 basic items, such as three meals a day, a quiet place to do homework, educational books at home, or an Internet connection.

The highest rates of deprivation were in Romania, Bulgaria and Portugal, but even some richer countries, such as France and Italy, have deprivation rates higher than 10 percent. The Nordic countries had the least deprivation among children, all with rates of 3 percent or below.

Governmental policy can have a significant impact on the lives of children. For example, Denmark and Sweden had lower rates of child deprivation than Belgium or Germany, yet all four countries have roughly similar levels of economic development and per capita income, the report said.

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