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Every Fifth Child Lives Under Poverty in Georgia UNICEF Says

Every fifth child lives under poverty and every sixth child lives under subsistence minimum; despite the increase in families’ consumption, people’s income has not changed; poor children still have less chances to attend education institutions than their peers living in richer families – these are some of the findings of the UNICEF’s Welfare Monitoring Study that has been unveiled today.

Welfare Monitoring Study is a biennial household survey covering all the government-controlled regions of Georgia. The results for the 2015 round examined the prevalence and distribution of consumption poverty, material deprivation, subjective poverty and social exclusion.

“Georgia is making significant progress in addressing poverty through social transfers, especially pensions and targeted social assistance,” said Laila Omar Gad, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “The poverty indicators have decreased, but children still remain the most vulnerable group. Georgia’s social protection system must respond to the vulnerabilities experienced by its people – especially children. Protecting child rights is more urgent than ever – and a critical key to building stronger, more stable societies. We need to invest more in reaching the most vulnerable children, or pay the price in slower growth, greater inequality, and less stability”.  

The major findings of the Welfare Monitoring Study include:

  • Poverty rates are higher in households that have children than those without. Child poverty rates are about 50 per cent higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • Extreme poverty (1.25 USD per day, less than GEL3) rate reduced from 3.9 (2013) to 2.1 per cent among the population and from 6 to 2.5 per cent in children.
  • General poverty (2.5 USD per day, less then around GEL 5) rate among the population was reduced from 24.6 per cent (2013) to 18.4 per cent, and among children from 28.4 to 21.7 per cent.
  • People’s perception of subjective poverty has worsened. Increased prices, serious illness and a decrease in household income were reported as the main problems faced by people.
  • The average healthcare expenditure of a household has increased by 31 per cent. The purchase of medicines remains the main component of healthcare spending.\
  • Pre-school attendance rates (for 3-5 year-olds) increased from 57.9 per cent in 2013 to 62.3 per cent in 2015.

“Every child has the right to grow up healthy and strong, to be educated and protected, and to have a fair chance in life,” said Laila Omar Gad, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Our commitment to child rights must be matched with action for every child. To combat social exclusion, it is important to develop a multisectoral strategy for children’s rights that will envisage stronger social protection, health and education systems to ensure better life for every child in Georgia.”

The presentation of the Welfare Monitoring Study is part of the activities dedicated to the UNICEF’s 70th anniversary.  In Georgia, the celebrations include the literary campaign- Tiny Stories; public discussions; mural painting on the ‘For Every Child, Hope’; competition among the students of the visual art; the major 70th Anniversary event on 12 December including the exhibition of artwork of children with disabilities, writers reading their stories, children’s para orchestra, theatrical show and music.

Full version of the report is available here: http://bit.ly/2fTioaO