Children and adolescent suffer the most from poverty in Mexico, with over half living under the poverty line, illustrating the persistent and serious inequality the country faces when it comes to children's rights, a new report by the U.N.'s body for children revealed Thursday.
“These poverty levels reveal persistent and grave inequities in the fulfillment of child rights,” Erika Strand, UNICEF’s Chief of Social Policy in Mexico, which conducted the study, said in a statement. Focusing on children is important “because in them—he (President Enrique Peña-Nieto) said—lies the future of the Mexico we want to have.”
The 2010-2014 report, “Child and Adolescent Poverty and Social Rights in Mexico,” also found that 4.6 million children live in extreme poverty. They tend to have young parents with low levels of education and live in rural, Indigenous and matriarchal communities.
UNICEF worked with Mexico on the study through its National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, Coneval, which emphasized the importance of government coordination to break the poverty cycle. Investing in youth—especially in nutrition, health and education—is important because “the costs are higher in the future” and “it can help in creating parity for all.”
Children must especially not be neglected under austerity, added Isabel Crowley, UNICEF representative in Mexico, since, “There is no poverty reduction any other way.”
The report stated the urgency of policy reform, which it said should measure poverty beyond income.