Child poverty plagues our nation and the world at large. A recent global study has shed light on a deeply troubling reality: worldwide, a staggering 333 million children still endure the cruel grip of poverty. These innocent souls are deprived of the most basic necessities, including food and shelter, as inflation soars to unprecedented heights.
The joint analysis conducted by UNICEF and the World Bank paints a grim picture, estimating that one in six children globally, approximately 333 million in number, live in conditions of extreme poverty. This revelation serves as a grim reminder that the Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating extreme child poverty by 2030 is in grave jeopardy, with current rates of reduction falling far short.
The “Global Trends in Child Monetary Poverty” report, for the first time, delves into the heart-wrenching realm of extreme child poverty. While there was a glimmer of hope as the number of children living on less than $2.15 a day decreased slightly between 2013 and 2022, the economic upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed us of three crucial years of progress.
As we grapple with the staggering figure of 333 million children living in extreme poverty in 2022, there is an urgent and moral obligation to address the structural root causes that perpetuate this heartbreaking crisis. These findings are unveiled just ahead of the high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly, where global leaders will convene to deliberate on the midway progress of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is a sobering fact that children shoulder more than 50 percent of the burden of extreme poverty worldwide, despite comprising only a third of the global population. What is even more distressing is that they are more than twice as likely as adults—15.8 percent versus 6.6 percent—to dwell in households grappling with extreme poverty. This cruel reality deprives them of the most basic necessities for survival and growth, including access to food, sanitation, shelter, healthcare, and education.
We stand at a crossroads where our collective conscience must drive us to take resolute action. It is a call not just for our leaders but for every compassionate individual to unite in the fight against child poverty. Together, we must strive to break the shackles that bind these innocent lives, granting them the chance to thrive and fulfil their potential.