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Material Shortage among Icelandic Children on the Rise

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Material Shortage among Icelandic Children on the Rise

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

One out of every eleven children in Iceland suffers material shortage, according to a UNICEF report presented this morning. The rate of shortage has more than doubled in five years, mbl.is reports. The largest influence factor is parents’ participation in the workforce, but the major shortage suffered is that of housing.

The main finding of the report, which bears the title Children Suffering Material Shortage, is that the proportion of children aged 1-15suffering shortage in Iceland was 9.1 percent in 2014, but 4 percent in 2009. Also, the rate of children suffering substantial shortage has tripled during the same period, bringing it to 2.4 percent. Over 6,100 children in Iceland are believed to suffer material shortage, close to 1,600 of those considerably.

The children likeliest to suffer shortage are those whose parents are less than 50 percent employed, or out of a job. More than 25 percent of those children suffer shortage. That group is followed by the children of parents under 30, and the children of parents who rent the housing in which they live.

Shortage is divided into many categories, including that of housing, social life, clothing, nutrition and access to information. In 2009, no child suffered shortage of more than four items on the list, whereas in 2014, they lacked up to seven items.

The most common shortage suffered by children in Iceland is that of housing, defined as the living facilities being crowded or lacking adequate daylight, which affects 9,000 children. The only condition which has improved since previous reports is that of nutrition and access to information. Likewise, the situation of the children of immigrants has improved.

UNICEF sees the result of the report as a reason for concern.

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