In Brussels, one child in three lives in conditions of relative income poverty, i.e. lives in a household with disposable income below 60% of the median national income. This rate is one in five in the 41 wealthy countries examined by UNICEF, a report released on Thursday by the UN agency said. It assesses the conditions of children in these countries in relation to the Sustainable Development Objectives identified as the most important for well-being.
At the national level, an average of 18.8% of young people live in conditions of relative income poverty and 21% of children are confronted with multidimensional poverty (deprivation of income as well as education, health, social security, housing, basic services and food).
The relative income gap would also be 44% higher if there were no social security coverage, UNICEF reports, placing Belgium 14th in the ranking of the Sustainable Development Objective (ODD) to end poverty, a situation described as “particularly worrying” by Olivier Marquet, the director general of the Belgian branch of the UN agency. According to him, this ranking might seem good but Belgium is a rich country and the situation of children in Brussels is “not acceptable”, he emphasised.
The report ‘Bilan Innocenti 14’ is the first of its kind. If we consider all the indicators together, Belgium appears in 26th place out of 41 countries, a score that Unicef Belgium describes as “relatively mediocre” because “inequalities are increasing” and “the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children continue to be left behind.”
“Either we are average or we have very poor results”, summarised the director of the Belgian branch of the agency. For him, this is due in particular to an approach that does not always integrate the multi-faceted problems mentioned, “because efforts are nevertheless being made.”
The Brussels Times