Three million French children living in poverty

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
Three million French children living in poverty
Photo: AFP

More and more children in France are living below the poverty line, according to a worrying new report from Unicef, which described it as an "wake up call" for French authorities.


The report, published on Tuesday, contains some statistics that will be of great concern to the French government.

In all more than three million children in France are living below the poverty line, which represents one in five of the country’s child population.

That number has been boosted by an extra 440,000 children who have fallen into hardship between 2008 and 2012, as authorities failed to take into account the impact of the economic crisis.

Around 30,000 children in France are homeless with around 9,000 living in makeshift slums. Around 140,000 drop out of school each year.

France's Samu social, a service which offers emergency care to homeless people dealt with 29,000 parents and children in 2013, that's four times more than in 2004.

The report staes that around 18 percent of French children are living in a "precarious" or "very precarious" social situation.

The figures, according to the head of Unicef France Michèle Barzach, are a wake-up call to the French government, whom she urges to take action.

“The report is an alarm that should push the authorities to take urgent and more efficient action for every child,” she said.

Much of the criticism in the report centres on how France has failed to implement a real strategy towards dealing with child poverty.

"A global strategy towards childhood and adolescence still does no exist," it said, "nor is there an adequate monitoring and evaluation process."

"France could do much better with the same resources."

The organisation has also highlighted areas where France has failed to properly implement the Convention on the Rights of a Child and calls on the government to make progress.

“Despite considerable efforts France has failed in part with regards to childhood and youth and these are the most vulnerable to poverty, social exclusion and discrimination,” said the report. 

Unicef France also highlighted the "unacceptable situation" surrounding many unaccompanied migrant children, which leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking.

Despite repeated recommendations by charities and and experts the situation surround migrant children remains "totally unsatisfactory and leads to undignified situations", Unicef's Barzach said.

The report also highlighted the problem with France's education system, which it said only helped "entrench inequality". 


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