Child poverty

Children across the world still die because their parents cannot afford enough food to keep them healthy, or get the treatment they need. Poverty affects every area of a child's development - mental, physical, and emotional.

Around the world, 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.

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 bright future.

Read more about poverty in the UK

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.

Tackling child poverty

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.

The countries that have made the least progress on reducing the number of children dying tend to have greater disparities between the rich and poor. This shows that the approach a government takes – not its resources – is most important in reducing child mortality.

Giving families a fair chance at life is critical. Governments need to focus on helping disadvantaged groups in their country. They should work to provide universal access to quality essential services, such as free healthcare.

Find out more

Child poverty in the UK

Read A Fair Chance at Life

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