A UNICEF report has revealed the devastating effect on children of the financial crisis in Greece. The sharp end of welfare cuts, unemployment, economic deprivation and poor access to health care are all detailed in the “The Status of Children in Greece 2013”, released Thursday, by the Greek National Committee of UNICEF in collaboration with University of Athens.
In Greece, in 2012, 465,000 (23.7%) of children were living in poverty, up slightly (0.7%) on 2011, with 686,000 (35.4%) facing the risk of poverty or social exclusion, up from 30.4% in 2011. The number of children were living in unemployed households numbered 292,000 in 2012, up by 70% or 204,000 since 2008. The rate of foreign children living in poverty in 2o12 reached 53.1% from 49.6% in 2011.
The living conditions of children in Greece has worsened, as 74.1% of poor households with children have reported that they can’t cover their basic needs. The report showed that many families have difficulties in paying utility bills or loans, with the number of children going without a healthy diet including meat or fish more than doubling from 2010 to 2011 to reach 44.3%. In addition, in 2012, 86.5% of poor households with children revealed that they couldn’t afford a week’s holiday.
According to the report, social security benefits decreased by 4.9% in 2011 compared with 2009. It is estimated that a significant number of children in Greece have no access to medical care as their parents are uninsured.
Extended adolescence is another outcome of the Greek crisis. The high rates of poverty and increasing unemployment among 16-24 year-olds lead to a high economic dependency on parents.