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Understanding child poverty and wellbeing

The Innocenti Report Cards and Social Monitors have focused on child income poverty and linked these to characteristics of families and deprivations/inequalities in areas where the public section can play a special role in addressing it. The two series have adapted different approaches: relative income poverty in rich countries for the Report Card (under the assumption that ‘basic needs’ are met), and absolute poverty in the Social Monitor which considers the CEE/CIS region. Each explicitly acknowledge the limitations of the approach in providing a full picture of the reality of children living in poverty and of the challenges confronting the realization of their rights.

Efforts to adapt a broader concept of child poverty have run into methodological and operational issues caused by lack of data which often leads to a very general level of deprivation indicators and sketches gross barriers to the realization of children’s rights but may be less telling in terms of capturing the interplay between areas of deprivation and disparities among regions within countries.

Based on considerable information and experience gathered for the SM06 on linking absolute income poverty with deprivations, the Centre has been able to support Country Offices with information on opportunities and limitations in using existing (international) micro/household survey instruments to assessing the covariance between income poverty and deprivations. The material, which will be released as an Innocenti Working Paper has the potential to inform the development of Situation Analysis, and of methodologies for assessing child poverty.

This will also inform IRC organized studies in a selection of lower and upper middle income countries to understand child income poverty and associated deprivations, as well as factors hampering the fulfillment of the rights of children in poverty in terms of public policies, social exclusion etc. It will be complemented with data from other sources, including the UNICEF Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey and the most recent DHS.

The dynamic dimensions in the short term (transitory poverty) or the much longer term (intergenerational transmission) will be considered, together with the role of public policies and transfers in mitigating adverse impact on the enjoyment of children’s rights. This analysis is expected to shed light in these areas and contribute to the medium to long term policy formulation.

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