Child poverty

Being born into poverty reduces a child's chances for a brighter future

Children still die because their parents cannot get the treatment they need, or afford enough food to keep them healthy. And in the UK, 1.6 million children are living in severe poverty. Being born into a poor family dramatically reduces a child’s chances of a brighter future. This must change.

More than 8 million children died last year, most from preventable conditions and diseases. Almost all of these child deaths take place in developing countries, and within these countries children from the poorest backgrounds are least likely to survive. That’s wrong.

Our research has shown that even relatively poor countries like Bolivia and Ghana have reduced the numbers of children dying. They’ve done this by focusing resources on helping the poorest and most disadvantaged people.

Countries making slow or no progress on reducing the number of children dying tend to have greater disparities between the richest and poorest people living there. This shows that the approach a government takes – not its resources – is most important in reducing child mortality.

Video: Aftin's story —  growing up hungry and poor in Kenya  

Aftin, 12, lives in El Wak, in Northeastern Kenya. Rising food prices and the downturn in the economy have made it impossible for Aftin's parents to provide enough food for him to eat.

Giving families a fair chance at life is critical. Governments need to focus on helping disadvantaged groups in their country and adopt an explicit goal of universal access to good-quality essential services, such as free healthcare.

Find out more

Read A Fair Chance at Life

Watch our video: How to Save 9 Million Children's Lives a Year... in 2 mins

Blog: Addressing the inequalities of child survival

Guardian article: Fairer spending could save 4 million children by 2020