Children of the Recession

The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Child well-being in Rich Countries

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The data and observations in this Innocenti Report Card reveal a strong and multifaceted correlation between the impact of the Great Recession on national economies and a decline in children’s well-being since 2008. Children are suffering most, and will bear the consequences longest, in countries where the recession has hit hardest. For each country, the extent and character of the crisis’s impact on children has been shaped by the depth of the recession, pre-existing economic conditions, the strength of the social safety net and, most importantly, policy responses. Remarkably, amid this unprecedented social crisis, many countries have managed to limit – or even reduce – child poverty. It was by no means inevitable, then, that children would be the most enduring victims of the recession.

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Twenty-five years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child became international law, many of its commitments remain unrealized, and the developed countries most capable of delivering on them are losing ground. The Great Recession, which was triggered by a financial meltdown that started in the United States and spread rapidly across the globe, has inflicted the economic crisis on children. The gap between rich and poor families has widened in an alarming number of industrialized countries. For many of these children, once again place of birth may determine their rights and opportunities in life.

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