Child Poverty Has Spiked In The Richest Countries Since The Great Recession: Report

Immigrant children wait for food donated by activists from a soup kitchen, in a poor neighborhood in Athens, on February 6, 2
Immigrant children wait for food donated by activists from a soup kitchen, in a poor neighborhood in Athens, on February 6, 2012. Greece today began constructing a fence on its border with Turkey to keep out thousands of undocumented migrants and refugees seeking to cross into Europe, the country's police minister said. AFP PHOTO/ LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Even the richest countries weren’t too big to fail their children after the Great Recession, a new study has revealed.

According to a recent UNICEF report, 2.6 million more children fell into poverty in the world’s most affluent countries since 2008, bringing the total number of impoverished kids up to 76.5 million.

And kids in the U.S. were among the hardest hit.

With 32.2 percent of children living below the poverty line, America ranked 36 out of the 41 well-to-do countries surveyed.

"Many affluent countries have suffered a 'great leap backwards' in terms of household income, and the impact on children will have long-lasting repercussions for them and their communities," Jeffrey O’Malley, UNICEF’s head of Global Policy and Strategy, said in a statement.

The report used the 2008 relative poverty line as an anchored indicator. Because as incomes dropped, so too did the relative poverty line, which would have obscured the data.

Young people suffered the greatest in Greece where the child poverty rate hit 40.5 percent two years ago.

While the U.S. wasn’t at the very bottom of the list of countries analyzed, children across America were affected.

According to the report, child poverty increased in 34 states between 2006 and 2011.

Though the U.S. had safety net systems in place, those programs proved to better serve the working poor more so than the extreme poor.

Those living at or below 50 percent of the poverty threshold experienced a large decrease in earned income and Temporary Aid for Needy Families, and a slight decline in unemployment insurance.

Poor people across the board saw an increase in reliance on food stamps.

And underserved kids in America are hardly out of the woods yet.

A recent JAMA Pediatrics report found that the child poverty rate in the U.S. hit a 20-year high in 2010 and continues to hold steady.

"It shouldn’t be this hard for kids to grow and thrive in the world’s richest, most powerful nation," Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus and co-author of the study, said in a statement. "But children face obstacles at every turn -- from a child poverty rate double that of seniors to a broken immigration system that says kids don’t count."



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