Children of the Recession

The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Child well-being in Rich Countries

image of Children of the Recession
The data and observations in this Innocenti Report Card reveal a strong and multifaceted correlation between the impact of the Great Recession on national economies and a decline in children’s well-being since 2008. Children are suffering most, and will bear the consequences longest, in countries where the recession has hit hardest. For each country, the extent and character of the crisis’s impact on children has been shaped by the depth of the recession, pre-existing economic conditions, the strength of the social safety net and, most importantly, policy responses. Remarkably, amid this unprecedented social crisis, many countries have managed to limit – or even reduce – child poverty. It was by no means inevitable, then, that children would be the most enduring victims of the recession.

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How a financial crisis turned into a crisis for children

This section presents arguments and data that show how the global financial shock and ensuing recession turned into a crisis for children. It reveals a strong correlation between the extent to which the recession ravaged national economies and the decline in child well-being since 2008. In countries where the Great Recession hit hardest, children are suffering the most and will bear the consequences the longest. Below, a conceptual framework traces the paths that increased the risks to children and weakened the ability of families and states to mitigate those risks. The variables triggering the risks are numerous and diverse in intensity and duration. Two factors prove particularly important for households with children: the position of parents in the labour market and the depleted capacity of states to protect families.

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