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22 per cent Thai children living in multidimensional poverty

Last update: 12/09/2019
BANGKOK, Sept 12 -- A study shows that about 22 per cent of Thai children are living in multidimensional poverty with the highest deprivation in the areas of education and health.

The analysis based on Child Multidimensional Poverty Index (Child MPI), a newly developed methodology to measure multiple deprivations faced by children beyond monetary poverty in Thailand, found that multidimensional child poverty rates were higher in rural areas at 23 percent compared to 19 per cent in urban areas.

Thailand is one of the first countries in the world to develop a child-focused MPI, a methodology to measure multiple deprivations faced by children beyond monetary poverty in Thailand.

In a statement, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Thailand said the study found the highest child poverty rate to be in the Northeast region, followed by the North region, while the lowest rate was in Bangkok.

“The drivers of multidimensional poverty vary by region and province, depending on the context, including deprivation in learning and education, such as not being engaged in learning activities with caregivers or not attending school which contributed to the most child poverty (42 per cent), followed by nutrition (15 per cent).

“In Satun province, deprivation in education and learning contributed to child poverty at a much higher rate of 57 per cent. The deprivation in health dimension was a major driver of multidimensional poverty in the Northeast region,” it said.

The analysis revealed Mae Hong Son and Tak were the two provinces with the highest severity of poverty among those who are multidimensionally poor.

The study found that there was a significant reduction in child poverty between 2005 and 2016 both in terms of rates of children living in multidimensional poverty, as well as severity.

“It reflects the remarkable progress Thailand has made in reducing child poverty in all its dimensions over the last decade. As Thailand becomes an aging society, improving child well-being will contribute to the quality of human capital in the future,” it said.

Child MPI is developed under the the partnership National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) and UNICEF Thailand with technical support from Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Oxford University.

The child MPI, based on data obtained from the 2015-2016 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), takes a broader and more comprehensive concept of poverty than monetary poverty alone.

The analysis reflects on four areas of deprivations that children face: education, child welfare, living standards and health.

UNICEF Representative for Thailand, Thomas Davin, welcomed the new tool that puts children at the heart of poverty analysis.

“The Child MPI is an important tool for achieving the principle of leaving no one behind under the Sustainable Development Goals efforts.

“It presents reliable data to identify children who are most vulnerable, by offering detailed information on poverty in its various dimensions beyond monetary income, such as education and health. Having the baseline data for Thailand gives all of us a remarkable starting point and will guide national budgeting and policy-making process.

“UNICEF is committed to working with partners to further strengthen policies and programmes to ensure that no child in Thailand has to live in poverty, in any form or dimension,” he said.


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