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Society

Inequality still rife with one in five children living in poverty

Translated Tuesday 11 July 2017, by Sophie Roche

On Thursday, Unicef’s Innocenti Research Centre published a report on the well-being of children in developed countries. France’s results were mixed.

With repect to education, France comes in 14th place

Photo : Martin Bureau/AFP

Children’s well-being in developed countries differs. The report published on Thursday by Unicef’s Innocenti Research Centre shows there is still a lot of inequality in the 41 countries of the EU and the OECD. The research was based on nine criteria such as health, well-being and education, and on reducing inequality, poverty and hunger. Countries of northern Europe rank highest with Norway, Germany and Denmark in the lead. France has more mixed results and comes 19th, ahead of Canada (25th) and the US (37th).

France does better on the socioeconomic front. Only 6% of children under 15 live with an adult lacking food security, childhood obesity levels are below average (11.7% versus 15.2%) and the benefits system has halved the impact of poverty. Nevertheless, 31% of French children are living in ‘multidimensional poverty’ (in other words, suffering material deprivation). France comes 14th in education; 69.7% of 15-year-olds have basic skills in reading, maths and science.

The report also highlights significant social issues affecting France. The country comes fourth highest for physical assault against youths under 15 years of age. 11.6% of teenagers suffer systematic bullying and 27.9% claim to have mental health problems more than once a week, which is slightly higher than average (23.1%). France also ranks poorly with respect to sexual assault committed by adults on girls under 15 (26th out of 28). The figure is from 2012 but the report confirms that it is still a matter of concern.

Once again, the report proves that inequality is still rife in developed countries. Director of Unicef’s Innocenti, Sara Cook, never doubted it, and states that, “Even in countries with the highest income, improvements do not benefit all children.”


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