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Child poverty increases in Sweden: report

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 1 Feb 2011, 13:06

Published: 01 Feb 2011 08:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2011 13:06 GMT+01:00

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The report, which is the eighth annual from the organisation addressing the issue, urges Sweden to meet its obligations enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The proportion of children in Sweden living in families unable to afford to provide the most basic items such as food, clothing and housing, increased to 11.5 percent in 2008, from 10.9 percent in 2007 - the lowest levels since records began in 1991.

"While most families have benefited from a hefty increase in wealth the condition of the poorest has remained unchanged," said Elisabeth Dahlin, secretary-general of Save the Children Sweden in a statement.

"The richest tenth of Sweden's families are today so well off, that each family would be able to support more than three families of equivalent size," she added.

There are also variations in the incidence of child poverty across the country, and according to whether they live in single-parent families or whether their parents are born in Sweden or overseas.

The differences between children with Swedish and foreign backgrounds respectively increased from 2007 to 2008 and is more than five times as common (29.5 percent) in the latter group, according to the report.

Among children in single-parent families the incidence of poverty is more than three times as high (24.7 percent) than those in families with two parents (8.1 percent).

Almost every other child (49 percent) living in single-parent families with an immigrant background is reported to live in economic poverty, in comparison to only 2.3 percent of children to Swedish-born parents.

In Täby, a wealthy suburb of Stockholm, the incidence of child poverty was 3 percent, according to the report, while in Malmö the corresponding figure was 31 percent.

Child poverty was generally higher in Sweden's major cities and lowest in wealthy suburbs, Save the Children concluded.

Save the Children argued that Sweden has obligations as a signatory of the CRC and urged the government to act.

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"We can and should impose stringent conditions on one of the world's richest countries. Without a doubt Sweden has the resources required for the task. We think it is disgraceful and a violation of Article 4 (of the CRC) to do nothing to combat child poverty in Sweden," Elisabeth Dahlin argued.

The charity has worked to raise awareness of child poverty in Sweden since releasing its first report on the issue in 2002 and called for a national action plan to address the issue and combat the growing incidence of child poverty.

Save the Children Sweden defined child poverty on an index combining two factors - low levels of relative income (according to Statistics Sweden figures on normal basic consumption), or living with income support (a guaranteed minimum level established by the Riksdag in 1998).

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:57 February 1, 2011 by isenhand
Everything going along as expected (or was that "as planed?").

Should also see other social problems on the increase as well.
10:12 February 1, 2011 by Great Scott
This is to be expected with a conservative party in government.

"The richest tenth of Sweden's families are today so well off, that each family would be able to support more than three equal-sized families,"

Quote of the week.

In pure English this translates to "the other 90% can go to hell"
10:34 February 1, 2011 by rabbemos
^^ Very Funny and quite true.
11:18 February 1, 2011 by johnny1939
Save the Children Fund is not an outfit that I trust for a minute. This does not sound right at all. There is so much help to be had but you have to ask for it.. That particular fund has been investigated for wrong doings on numerous occasions since the WW11 and found guilty. Maybe it is a question of tit for tat. I would not give these people a dimeneither would I UNICEF.
11:47 February 1, 2011 by bubbagump
Before everyone jumps on the anti-capitalist band wagon, I'd like to point out that this article woefully under reports that facts. He briefly mentions that other conditions were taken into account, but doesn't report on one. Just makes it look like Sweden as a whole hasn't helped anyone. This is from SvD.se:

Exempelvis är andelen barn i fattiga familjer två procent i stadsdelen Torslanda i Göteborg, medan den är 61,4 procent i Rosengård i Malmö.


For example, the proportion of children in poor families two percent of the district Torslanda in Gothenburg, while it is 61.4 percent in Malmo

Wholy crap. I mean come on Peter Simpson. To not report that is pathetic. This shows a huge correlation of the increase in child poverty directly linked to immigrant families. And for those who don't live here, here are the facts: The Swedish govt. gives each family at least1050SEK a month for each child, medical and dental are taken care of. This is enough for food and clothes for the children. If the parents work, this money covers child care provided by the state (who gives the children breakfast and lunch plus two in between snacks). If the parents are working full time, they have the money for the housing. If they are not working, the govt. take care of them ESPECIALLY if they are immigrants under refugee status and provides language school AND vocational school if they pass the language school. What we are seeing here is the poverty of the third world being redistributed to Sweden due to lax (not salmon) immigration. People are not immigrating here with needed job skills, but are coming as refugees. For Rädda Barn to not take this into account is to say that the children are worse off here than in their native country. Bull. As for their statement that the rich here could easily take care of 3 of those families, well, they already do. For those in Sweden making more than $55,000 a year, the incremental tax rate is 55%. That's not including the 25%VAT or other taxes. That's just income tax. The govt. takes more than the individual takes home.
11:50 February 1, 2011 by RobinHood
All Swedes are amongst those with the highest disposable income in the world. Either through their salaries, or by receiving some of the most generous social benefits in the world; particularly for children. Any kid in Congo, or Niger would happily trade economic circumstances with the poorest Swedish child in an instant. If Rädda Barnen think there is child poverty in Sweden, they really ought to get out more.

What an insult to the millions of malnourished, half-naked, pot-bellied, malaria-ridden kids, wondering where their next bowl of watery soup is coming from.

If Rädda Barnen spend their money on surveys like this, instead of using it to feed starving children in the hell holes of the earth, it's time for them to pack it in. Disgusting!
11:50 February 1, 2011 by Mib
Oh come on! Save the Children Fund and other similar charities are politically motivated. They also like climate scientists that they have to say there is a problem to justify their own existence to encourage donations to pay high salaries to their executves etc. Give to small charities only! Never to these big cumbersome organisations, poltically motivated except for the Bill Gates charity, which is organised in a professional and non-political manner!

So, in a country which is supposed to have the highest taxes in Europe and a good social benefts system with heavily subsidised childcare, child benefit and up to 380 days of paid leave and we are supposed to believe that 11.5% of families cannot afford the basics of food, clothing and housing........it doesn't make sense...something does not add up. Where is the evidence for this? WHo and how were the stats collated?
11:51 February 1, 2011 by bubbagump
well said RobinHood.
12:58 February 1, 2011 by LonelyLove
Are Swedish people really that dumb that they believe this nonsense?

Look at the explanation by bubbagump #5 above, and to the journalists and Rädda Barnen, please stop treating us as if we were as retarded as a SD voter.
13:11 February 1, 2011 by Kevin Harris
What a curious document. It reads more as if it were written by a speech writer for the Social Democratic Party than by an independant charity.

Presumably it was written for people living outside Sweden. Anyone who actually lives in Sweden would instantly recognise it as nonsense. Posters #1, #2, and #3 above must live somewhere else, or they would know better.
13:51 February 1, 2011 by Syftfel
How many of these "poverty stricken" children are a direct result of alien cultures, whose reference points are different from yours and mine, and whose measuring stick is being used when the word "poverty" is used? The whole story smacks of social dem propaganda as a tool to increase taxes even more because we are to feel sooooooorry for the chiiiiildren.A lot is missing from thsyi story. You have a try a luttle better than that social dems. I'm not convinced.And if, against all assumptions it is true how do we rectify it without raising taxes?
15:18 February 1, 2011 by Bostonexpat
Agree RobinHood..."poverty stricken" here, given the social benefits, is no where near actually being poverty stricken
16:47 February 1, 2011 by BobWas
"Save the Children Sweden defined child poverty on an index combining two factors - low levels of relative income (according to Statistics Sweden figures on normal basic consumption), or living with income support (a guaranteed minimum level established by the Riksdag in 1998)."

So, they're not measuring poverty at all.
17:16 February 1, 2011 by Maler1971
Bubbagump- Yes. This is what I was thinking. So this article pertains to 'immigrant children' . Same goes in US- immigrants and children of illegals ar among the poorest. Swede-poor though better that 3rd world homeland -poor.

All the while being "carried" by the working and tax paying middle and higher classes.
17:37 February 1, 2011 by KATHLEEN7546
Yes Robinhood. Redistribution of the poor. In Denmark 5%are immigrant and consume 40% of welfare.

Rich could take care of 3 more families:It is just not their job to do so. There will always be poverty. Need to ask the immigrants if they think they are poor or actually better off then what they came from. Perhaps are relatively satisfied for now..

Index combining 2 factors: hard to gage meaning. I read that in the US 94+% of poor have hot and cold running water, heat, color TV, VCR, car. 50+% have airconditioning. How is this poverty - just less than many have. Not poverty. 40% of US children now have food stamps.

UN's definitions: Good Grief. The UN is so corrupt. They have not completed an internal audit/investigation in a year and cut their internal monitoring staff in half. They do not reacognize the concept of the need to self monitor. There is no such thing as a human org. that does not need self assessment for corruption. They have not done the recommendations of the audit on them after the 'oil for food' scandal It called the org 'inherantly corrupt' due to their org. structure and recommended External Monotoring yearly. They operate with other countries money [22% from USA} and should be scrutinized.
19:01 February 1, 2011 by Great Scott
Why are conservatives always in denial when the truth comes out? Concentrate on the 10%, are you one of those, if no why do protect a party that's only thought is to make itself and it friends rich.

You have to learn to deal with.

This report is about Sweden no other country, don't try and use other counties as a scapegoat, especially third world.
19:45 February 1, 2011 by dobermann
I would like to see what does it mean poverty in Sweden. Somehow I do not beleave, that there are actually any children suffering from hunger or etc.
01:41 February 5, 2011 by dan_sparrow
it means 1 plasma 42" tv, vacations in greece, late 90´s volvo, and new i phone...

poverty doesnt exist here, the problem is, that no one take a look in the other side of the world, example, south america, africa...
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