Poverty and the Child Protection System – Ontario, CA

Report shines light on poverty’s role on kids in CAS system, By Sandro Contenta and Jim Rankin, August 15, 2016, Toronto Star: “A new report that for the first time calculates the effect of poverty in Ontario child protection has found it plays a significant role in kids being taken from their families and placed into care.  Children whose families ran out of money for housing were twice as likely to be placed with foster parents or group homes, according to an analysis of Ontario children taken into care in 2013.  Similar rates were found for families who ran out of money for food or for utilities. Children with a parent suffering from addiction or mental health problems were also placed in care at about twice the overall rate…”

Child Well-Being in Wealthy Nations

Report: U.S. is lagging in child well-being, By Karina Shedrofsky, July 22, 2016, USA Today: “The USA ranks ninth among the world’s 19 wealthiest nations in terms of overall child well-being – despite having the world’s largest economy, according to a Save the Children report released Friday.  The Child Prosperity Index looks at indicators in eight areas affecting children around the world, including health, education, income, safety, employment, gender equality, infrastructure and the environment…”

Teenage Pregnancy in the UK

How the UK halved its teenage pregnancy rate, By Amelia Hill, July 18, 2016, The Guardian: “Rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have halved in the past two decades and are now at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in the late 1960s. It is a dramatic turnaround: in 1998, England had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in western Europe. Last week, the Office for National Statistics released data revealing the fall in the conception rate among females aged 15 to 19 as the standout success story in the public health field: just 14.5 per 1,000 births were to women in their teens, with drops in all age groups under 25…”

Teenage Pregnancy – England

England’s teenage pregnancy strategy to become global blueprint, By Sally Weale, May 23, 2016, The Guardian: “A teenage pregnancy prevention strategy that is credited for halving the rate of conceptions among teenagers in England is to be used as a blueprint in countries that want to emulate its success. Alison Hadley, who led the 10-year programme resulting in record lows in teenage pregnancies, has been asked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to share the lessons of the project so they can be applied globally…”

Poverty in the UK

A third of people in the UK have experienced poverty in recent years, By Katie Allen, May 16, 2016, The Guardian: “One in three people have experienced poverty in recent years, according to figures that underline the precarious nature of work in Britain. Anti-poverty campaigners welcomed news that the proportion of people experiencing long-term, or persistent, poverty had declined to one of the lowest rates in the EU. But they highlighted Britons’ relatively high chances of falling into poverty as the latest evidence that a preponderance of low-paying and low-skilled jobs left many families at risk of hardship…”

Single Adults in Poverty – Ontario, CA

Ontario’s soaring poverty gap ‘starkest’ for single adults as welfare rates stagnate, By Laurie Monsebraaten, May 9, 2016, Toronto Star: “After five years on welfare, Pauline Bryant figures she was probably over-qualified to help others ‘get by on next to nothing’ as a part-time community engagement worker last year. Although the job gave Bryant an extra $600 a month, it didn’t provide medical benefits or enough money to escape welfare. But it eased her sense of isolation…”

Youth Homelessness

Poverty the leading cause of youth homelessness: Study, By Laurie Monsebraaten, April 4, 2016, Toronto Star: “Poverty — not delinquency — is the leading cause of youth homelessness around the world, according to a groundbreaking international study led by a University of Toronto researcher.  The study, published online Monday by JAMA Pediatrics, analyzes research on youth homelessness involving more than 13,500 young people in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States and is believed to be the first of its kind…”

Global Poverty Measurement

The tricky work of measuring falling global poverty, October 12, 2015, The Economist: “‘This is the best news story in the world,’ said Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, of the announcement this month that the proportion of the world living in poverty is now in single digits, at 9.6%. The claim has rekindled a long smouldering debate over the reliability of such statistics.  Counting the poor is no easy task. The Bank bases its poverty figures on household surveys, which are undertaken by developing countries every few years…”

Global Poverty Line

Planet’s poor set to swell as World Bank revises poverty line, By Shawn Donnan, September 23, 2015, CNBC: “The World Bank is to make the most dramatic change to its global poverty line in 25 years, raising its measure by a half to about $1.90 per day in a move likely to swell the statistical ranks of the world’s poor by tens of millions…”

Randomized Trials and Poverty Alleviation

Can randomized trials eliminate global poverty?, By Jeff Tollefson, August 12, 2015, Nature: “In 70 local health clinics run by the Indian state of Haryana, the parents of a child who starts the standard series of vaccinations can walk away with a free kilogram of sugar. And if the parents make sure that the child finishes the injections, they also get to take home a free litre of cooking oil. These simple gifts are part of massive trial testing whether rewards can boost the stubbornly low immunization rates for poor children in the region. Following the model of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that are commonly used to test the effectiveness of drugs, scientists randomly assigned clinics in the seven districts with the lowest immunization rates to either give the gifts or not…”

Global Poverty

UN states set goal to end poverty, hunger in next 15 years, By Edith M. Lederer (AP), August 3, 2015, ABC News: “The 193 member states of the United Nations have reached agreement on a new development agenda for the next 15 years that calls for eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality, improving living standards and taking urgent action to combat climate change. The draft agreement reached Sunday evening outlines 17 goals with 169 specific targets on issues ranging from ending poverty ‘in all its forms everywhere’ to ensuring quality education and affordable and reliable energy, and protecting the environment…”

Global Poverty

Global poverty drops sharply, with China making big strides, U.N. report says, By Somini Sengupta, July 6, 2015, New York Times: “Dire poverty has dropped sharply, and just as many girls as boys are now enrolled in primary schools around the world. Simple measures like installing bed nets have prevented some six million deaths from malaria. But nearly one billion people still defecate in the open, endangering the health of many others.  These are among the findings that the United Nations released Monday as part of a final report on the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of targets established 15 years ago to improve the lives of the poor…”

Global Child Poverty

Report: economic growth failing to help world’s poorest kids, By Katy Daigle (AP), June 23, 2015, Washington Post: “Global resolve to rescue impoverished children from lives of squalor, disease and hunger has fallen short, with economic development in many countries still leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind, according to a UNICEF report released Tuesday. The data show a bleak situation: The world’s poorest children are almost twice as likely to die before their 5th birthday as children from wealthier homes, and the proportion of those dying within days of being born is even increasing…”

UN Zero Hunger Challenge

A road map for eradicating world hunger, By Beth Gardiner, June 24, 2015, New York Times: “A lot has changed in Ethiopia since hundreds of thousands of people died in the famine of the mid-1980s. Rates of undernourishment have plummeted in the past 25 years, child mortality is down by two-thirds and 90 percent of children go to primary school. Now, the country whose name was once a byword for hunger is part of a global effort to end it entirely. Around the world, nations as varied as Brazil, Cambodia, Iran and the Philippines have reported progress toward the goals of the Zero Hunger Challenge, a campaign that the United Nations began in 2012. The campaign’s ambitious target of eradicating hunger, experts say, helps lend structure and clarity to efforts to ensure that even the very poorest have enough to eat and to make food systems more resilient in the face of climate change, droughts, floods and other pressures…”

Experimental Poverty Programs

The anti-poverty experiment, By Jason Zweig, June 5, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. and other wealthy nations have spent trillions of dollars over the past half-century trying to lift the world’s poorest people out of penury, with largely disappointing results. In 1966, shortly after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty, 14.7% of Americans were poor, under the official definition of the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2013, 14.5% of Americans were poor.  World-wide, in 1981, 2.6 billion people subsisted on less than $2 a day; in 2011, 2.2 billion did. Most of that progress came in China, while poverty has barely budged in large swaths of sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Is it time for a new approach? Many experts who study poverty think so. They see great promise in a new generation of experimental programs focusing not on large-scale social support and development but on helping the poor and indebted to save more, live better and scramble up in their own way…”

UN Hunger Report

  • U.N. reports about 200 million fewer hungry people than in 1990, By Rick Gladstone, May 27, 2015, New York Times: “The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday.
  • Number of African countries facing severe food shortages doubles, By Nicholas Bariyo, May 28, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “The number of African countries facing severe food shortages has doubled over the past two decades, as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and insurgencies disrupt farming across the continent, aid agencies said on Thursday…”

Poverty in the UK

Poverty – and child poverty in particular – is rising, By Patrick Butler, April 29, 2015, The Guardian: “Poverty in the UK is increasing after two years of heavy welfare cuts have helped to push hundreds of thousands of people below the breadline, according to an independent study of the coalition government’s record.  Although middle-earners saw incomes rise marginally after 2013, policies including the bedroom tax and below-inflation benefits rises have reduced incomes for the poorest, pitching an estimated 760,000 into poverty since the last official figures were produced, according to the New Policy Institute (NPI) thinktank…”

Child Poverty – Canada

  • 25 years after Ottawa’s pledge to end child poverty, it’s time to hit ‘reset’, By Marco Chown Oved, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “It’s been 25 years since members of Parliament unanimously voted to eradicate child poverty. Their self-imposed deadline came and went almost 15 years ago. In that time, millions of children in Canada have grown up in deplorable conditions, often cold, hungry and ill — and some of them are now raising their own kids in the same situation. On the anniversary of the government’s unfulfilled pledge, almost 1.2 million children go to school hungry, don’t have a good winter coat or can’t afford to play sports. Religious leaders, economists, teachers and doctors say it’s time to reset the clock on the pledge to ending child poverty and embark anew on the road to ensuring that every Canadian child gets a good start in life…”
  • Patchwork of employment perpetuates poverty cycle for Toronto family, By Sara Mojtehedzadeh, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “Richard Wang is a man of many trades. He is a dishwasher, a doorman, a food taster and a tour guide. He scrubs toilets and flips hamburgers. When luck strikes, he gets paid $50 to be CT-scanned or x-rayed at a teaching hospital. But most of all, Richard Wang is a father. His dizzying schedule and patchwork of low-paid work are stitched together for a single mission: to be the best dad possible to his 8-year-old son. ‘I want to make sure that Noah’s development, especially emotionally, is OK. Whatever he needs, I provide it,’ says Wang. It’s not easy. Like a growing number of Canadians, Wang is stuck in the kind of precarious work that grants him few rights, no benefits, and little control over his life…”

UK Cost of Living and Poor Households

300,000 more people live in poverty than previously thought, study finds, By Larry Elliott, November 4, 2014, The Guardian: “The number of people living in dire poverty in Britain is 300,000 more than previously thought due to poorer households facing a higher cost of living than the well off, according to a study released on Wednesday. A report produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that soaring prices for food and fuel over the past decade have had a bigger impact on struggling families who spend more of their budgets on staple goods. By contrast, richer households had been the beneficiaries of the drop in mortgage rates and lower motoring costs…”

U.S. Child Poverty

Why child poverty in the US may be much worse than you realize, By Danielle Kurtzleben, October 30, 2014, Vox: “Nearly 44 percent of all US kids were in poverty for two or more months from 2009 to 2012, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. Poverty is unevenly spread, and for many college-educated, urban-dwelling, well-to-do Americans can be almost entirely hidden. It might be that none of the kids in your neighborhood or church or school district were in poverty during this period. But that means that there’s some other neighborhood where many — even most — of the kids were. And this is just the beginning of the staggering figures on US child poverty…”