Malta has more chil­dren at risk of poverty than EU av­er­age

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Around 21,000 Mal­tese chil­dren are es­ti­mated to be at risk of poverty.

This amounts to 28.2% of the to­tal child pop­u­la­tion.

The fig­ures re­fer to 2015 and are worse than the fig­ures in 2010 when chil­dren at risk con­sti­tuted 26.7% of the to­tal child pop­u­la­tion.

On a scale, the Mal­tese chil­dren at risk of poverty are higher than the EU av­er­age, which stands at 26.9%.

These fig­ures are be­ing pub­lished this week by Euro­stat, the sta­tis­ti­cal of­fice of the European Union, on the oc­ca­sion of the Uni­ver­sal Chil­dren’s Day cel­e­brated on 20 Novem­ber

In 2015, around 25 mil­lion chil­dren, or 26.9% of the pop­u­la­tion aged 0 to 17, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or so­cial ex­clu­sion.

This means that they were liv­ing in house­holds in at least one of the fol­low­ing three con­di­tions: at-risk-of-poverty after so­cial trans­fers (in­come poverty), se­verely ma­te­ri­ally de­prived or with very low work in­ten­sity.

Hav­ing 21,000 chil­dren clas­si­fied as be­ing at

Ed­i­tor’s pick

risk of poverty is 21,000 too much. The fig­ure be­lies all boasts about the econ­omy of Malta grow­ing by leaps and bounds and be­ing the best grow­ing econ­omy in Europe.

Hav­ing 21,000 chil­dren at risk of poverty makes a mock­ery of our wel­fare state. These chil­dren, after all, have free health­care, free ed­u­ca­tion, and a wel­fare sys­tem that aims at help­ing them to develop skills and find a job.

Some­how 21,000 chil­dren at risk of poverty means our sys­tem fail­ing 21,000 over.

This is ob­vi­ously only one as­pect of the whole sit­u­a­tion, high­lighted like this be­cause of the ap­proach­ing World Chil­dren’s Day. Be­hind this fig­ure there stand an un­quan­ti­fied num­ber of fam­i­lies at risk of poverty where ei­ther there is no one to get home a wage or else where for any rea­son (such as ill­ness) what­ever wage, so­cial as­sis­tance, etc the head of the fam­ily gets is pal­pa­bly in­suf­fi­cient for the needs of the fam­ily.

A vi­cious cir­cle then kicks in – poverty means lack of mo­ti­va­tion to do well at school, which in turn leads the next gen­er­a­tion to re­peat the tragic his­tory of the first one, hence gen­er­at­ing gen­er­a­tions upon gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren at the risk of poverty.

So many decades after the in­tro­duc­tion of oblig­a­tory ed­u­ca­tion for all, we still have 21,000 chil­dren at risk of poverty. So many years after the in­tro­duc­tion of the wel­fare state we still have 21,000 chil­dren, on av­er­age more than the EU av­er­age.

And the sit­u­a­tion, de­spite all boasts to the con­trary, is get­ting worse: At least per­cent­age­wise. The 21,000 chil­dren at risk of poverty in 2015 amounted to 28.2% of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion, whereas in 2010 they were 26.9% of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

Our coun­try has over the years, un­der dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tions, thrown mil­lions and mil­lions to help al­le­vi­ate poverty. It still spends mil­lions to help these 21,000 come out of poverty till this very day. If that has not hap­pened; if, on the con­trary, the num­ber of chil­dren at risk of poverty is in­creas­ing, we must look to see why this is hap­pen­ing, where we have gone wrong and how we can im­prove, in re­al­ity not just in words, the sit­u­a­tion.

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