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Child poverty in industrialized countries

In 1999 the Centre published the most comprehensive survey of child poverty ever undertaken in industrialized countries. Child Poverty Across Industrialized Nations (Innocenti Occasional Paper 71) examined the situation in 25 countries. It found wide variations in the percentages of children living in poor families, ranging from 1.8 per cent in the Czech Republic to 26.6 per cent in the Russian Federation. The paper was highlighted in UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2000. The speed at which children and their families move in and out of poverty, and the length of time they spend in poverty, is a largely unexplored area. There is far too little documentation on the factors that push people into the poverty trap, or on the positive forces that can help them lift themselves out. In 1999 the Centre continued its work on a comparative study of this issue in seven industrialized countries – Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States – to examine why children become impoverished and for how long. The findings will be published towards the end of 2000 and are intended to spur Governments to do more to gather and analyse such fundamental information.

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