Child poverty a question of background

Child poverty in Sweden has taken on a clear ethnic dimension with a marked difference today between Swedish families and those with a foreign background.

Save the Children Sweden reports that almost one in three children with a foreign background can today be classed as living in poverty.

Around 230 000 Swedish children lived in poverty in 2012, according to Save the Children's annual report, a reduction of 2,000 compared to the year before.

But there is still a marked difference between groups of children and most underprivileged are children with single parents with parents born abroad.

The reports suggests that 29.1 percent of children with at least one parent born abroad lives in poverty, against 5.2 percent of chidlren with parents born in Sweden. Child poverty is alos more than five times as common in families with a foreign background.

The difference between the two grousp has increased greatly since the first surveys taken in the early 1990's writes news agency TT.

Ill health and unemployment are important factors.

"Many stand not only outside the job market but outside even the general welfare system," says professor Hans Swärd, at Lund University.

Save the Children general Secretary Elisabeth Dahlin is aclling for political reforms.

"Our hope was that we could now see the effects of the political will and the reforms implemented during the last Parliament.That is not the case yet. The previous government's focus was positive, like raising the child allowance and the housing allowance, and we also welcome the current red-green government's focus on children from economic vulnerable cirumstances. But all this seems not enough to break the pattern."

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