330,000 children at risk of poverty in Portugal

By Daisy Sampson, in News · 25-10-2019 01:00:00 · 3 Comments
330,000 children at risk of poverty in Portugal

Data has revealed that the group most at risk from poverty in Portugal is children, with an estimated 330,000 children falling into this category.

The most recent data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that the risk of poverty among children and young people under 18 was at 19 percent, which in a universe of over 1,729,675 minors, represents close to 330,000 children.

Speaking to Lusa, researcher and professor at the University of Minho, a specialist in childhood sociology, Manuel Sarmento confirmed that the population sector between zero and 18 is the group most affected by poverty in percentage terms.

“Which means there are more poor children than poor adults or poor older people,” he said.

A finding confirmed by INE statistics showing that the risk of poverty rate in the 18-64 age group was 16.7 percent, while in the population over 65 it was 17.7 percent.

“Children continue to be the population group most affected by poverty, namely the so-called monetary poverty, that is, they live in households whose ‘per capita’ income is below 60 percent of the median ‘per capita national income’” explained Manuel Sarmento.

Amélia Bastos, a professor at the Higher Institute of Economics and Management (ISEG), University of Lisbon, and researcher in the area of child poverty, pointed out that, although there have been some improvements in recent years, children remain a group” particularly exposed to poverty ”.

“Families with children, despite the relief, are those at greater risk of poverty than those without children,” said the professor, adding that in recent years “there has been a general improvement in living standards, but children remain the group with the highest incidence of monetary poverty ”.

Executive Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Portugal, Sandra Araújo, highlighted, based on the analysis made by the National Poverty Observatory on data from the Survey on Living and Income Conditions, that young people in the 15 to 24 years age group “are one of the groups most vulnerable to issues of poverty and social exclusion”.

“For this age group vulnerability to poverty is much higher than the national average. The risk of poverty and exclusion is 30.3 percent in the population aged 15-19, and 25.8 percent in the population aged 18-24,” said Sandra Araújo.

The EAPN official warned that Portugal is still one of the most unequal countries in Europe and pointed out the life-long consequences of these children and young people who will be much more difficult to solve at a later date.

“If there are no policies targeted at early childhood, there is a tendency to perpetuate generational cycles of poverty at all levels,” she warned.

Professor Manuel Sarmento argued that “an integrated policy for children, for all children and not only the poorest, is absolutely fundamental”, noting that there is still “excessive compartmentalisation of what public policies are”.

“Perhaps the new government could create an inter-ministerial structure, possibly dependent on the prime minister, to articulate public policy and develop and promote the approved [national child rights] strategy,” he suggested.

However, the researcher stressed that it will never be possible to combat poverty in children without fighting the poverty of their parents and advocated a more articulated intervention according to the needs of the young.

Despite agreeing, professor and researcher Amelia Bastos understands that the solution is not simply to increase household incomes and warned that there are families that can have a high average income and children still live in poverty.

Therefore, it recommends that children start counting as a statistical unit in national statistics to observe their real living conditions - and not just those of the household - to understand what is important to them and what is missing, particularly in terms of education, health, food and housing.

Speaking on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October, the President of the Republic has called for “determination and collective responsibility” in the fight against poverty and recalled that there are almost two million poor people in Portugal.

“The fight against poverty and the correction of social inequalities are two priorities that require determination and collective responsibility”, writes the President of the Republic.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa calls for combating poverty with strategy, combining public and private means, social and solidarity experience, inspiring citizens for the cause of a fairer and more cohesive Portugal”.


To Dennis Gallagher, just as well other countries don't emulate Scandinavia with its excessive rates of taxation of incomes, often of over 50%. That means if you get a pay rise, most of it will go to the government, hardly respectful of workers'rights. There will always be people pleading poverty at some stage, that doesn't mean we demonise the rest of the population and attempt to prevent people earning the fruits of their labour. So Portugal needs no lessons in morality from backward Scandinavian countries. People need to take responsibility for their lives instead of expecting everything to be provided free by the government.

by Billy Bissett from Algarve on 28-10-2019 07:26:00

Your article has skipped the Cultural components in the issue of Child poverty. The fickle adaptation of Americanisms has led to Premarital Sex, Abortion as a means of birth control, Post birth neglect and the encouragement of such behavior as a means to collect Welfare. The loss of the traditional nuclear family and it's stabilizing effects. You( Portugal) have lost your shame, your Valor and your Identity...YOU ARE A VASSAL STATE OF ANGLO AMERICAN CAPITALISM AND NOTHING MORE.

by Abel Senna Lencastre from USA on 26-10-2019 09:04:00

Having spent time in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and seeing the strong advantages of their Social Democracy systems, I always wonder why other countries do not emulate them. They have less child poverty and less general poverty than Portugal does.

by Dennis Gallagher from Other on 25-10-2019 06:42:00
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