Photo via Los Andes

Almost half of Argentine children lived under the poverty line during the last quarter of 2016, according to a study conducted by UNICEF. The United Nation’s program, which used data from the Indec statistics agency, reported that out of that total, 1.3 million children were living under the extreme poverty line, which means they were affected by hunger as a result of their households not being able to afford the food necessary to guarantee basic nourishment.

The study also revealed that more than 10 percent of children between the ages of five and 17 “perform intensive domestic activities” or “are in the job market.” Using statistics from the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA), it indicates that more than 80,000 children have been forced to drop out of school to look for work, even though Argentine legislation forbids the employment of children under 16.

The report goes on to inform that households with children are disproportionately more affected by poverty and extreme poverty than those without. While 29.7 percent of the entire population is under the poverty line, the number reaches 47.7 percent when looking at households with children. Moreover, extreme poverty affects 10.8 percent of children in the country, almost twice as much as the general population’s rate of 5.6 percent.

The study delved into aspects that make children more likely to be in this situation, such as the education level reached by their parents received and whether they are employed. It also observed differences in the rates depending on gender and age.

“While poverty 47.7 percent of children, the rate goes up to 85 percent when the child lives in a household whose head is unemployed, to 64 percent when the head is not active and 65 percent when it works in the informal economy. Child poverty is also higher in households whose head is female (55.3 percent), when the head has received poor education (72.5 percent) or is under 25 years old (51.6 percent),” the survey explains.

“When dividing the population of children into three large groups, it can be observed that the largest incidence of poverty can be seen in kids between the ages of 13 and 17 (51 percent), followed by the group of 5 to 12 (48 percent) and 0 to 4 (45 percent.) The differences are not that clearly defined when it comes to gender , but male children have higher poverty rates, except for the group of children between the ages of 0 and 4, where there’s a clear disadvantage for female children,” it adds.

Finally, the study highlighted the importance of the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) to reduce poverty, especially extreme poverty: it aims to reduce extreme poverty by 30.8 percent and general poverty by 5.6 percent.