Multidimensional Child Poverty in Rich Countries

Unlike adults, children’s current well being is a key determinant of their future well being. They also have little control over, or responsibility for, the factors determining their own well being. Empirical evidence indicates that, in most countries, children are more likely to live in poor households than adults. Children are therefore often identified as a priority group in the policy arena. The European Union, for instance, is now in search of child-focused indicators to monitor progress on its poverty reduction and social inclusion objectives as part of its Lisbon strategy. Addressing a social problem such as poverty is challenging because it is multi-dimensional and complex in nature. Depending on other private and public resources, growing up in a low income household may or may not mean nutritional deficiencies, inadequate housing, unmet health needs, unsafe playing environment, less extracurricular learning and so on. Many factors influence outcomes in child well being, policy being only one of them.

The research for this assignment will be based on European household survey data from EU-SILC, the EU Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions data. The EU-SILC is the key data source used for estimating and comparing the degree of monetary poverty and social inclusion across member states in the European Union. It is the only dataset that has cross nationally comparable information to estimate both monetary (i.e. income) poverty and a range of non-income deprivation indicators for every individual in the survey. It is thus also an interesting database to explore the possibilities of constructing child-focused indicators of deprivation which could be used to evaluate and compare levels of child deprivation across member states.

IDS and the University of Ottowa have been commissioned by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre to undertake an empirical study on multidimensional child poverty in at least 4 rich countries. The study consists of two major parts each leading to a separate paper: a) a study exploring empirically the methodological issues when constructing multidimensional child poverty estimates in rich countries using the most recently available data; and b) a paper studying the overlap (or lack thereof) between different domains and indicators used in a multidimensional child poverty study.

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Project details

start date
29 November 2010
end date
30 March 2011


In partnership with
University of Ottowa

About this project

OECD Europe


Recent work