Children at high risk as EU moves further away from achieving poverty reduction target

Latest Eurostat figures show progress on all targets except poverty reduction

Source: Eurostat, Data from 2015

Earlier this week, Eurostat released statistics on the five key areas agreed by EU countries as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy aims to deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion in the Member States by 2020. Under its poverty reduction target, the EU aims to lift 20 million people out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020. The latest statistics from Eurostat show that the EU is further away from reaching this target than it was 10 years ago. 

The latest progress report on poverty reduction targets is worrying for children growing up today. Compared to adults (18-64) or elderly (65 or over) people, children have been the age group most at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Eurostat, 2015). Currently, in the EU, more than one in four children are facing risk of poverty or social exclusion. For these 25 million children, experiencing poverty in childhood is likely to severely impact their chances later in life, and can lead to a cycle of disadvantage. 

As Ministers of Economy and Social Policy meet in Vienna on 19-20 July, it is urgent that the EU puts poverty reduction higher on its political agenda and that investing in children, including policies to support children in vulnerable situations are given serious attention across the EU. 


The Eurostat 2018 edition of report ‘Smarter, greener, more inclusive? Indicators to support the Europe 2020 Strategy’ measures progress in achieving EU targets on employment, research and development investments, energy efficiency and emissions, education attainment, and reduced poverty.  The poverty target includes three indicators: risk of poverty after social transfers, people living in households with very low work intensity and severe material deprivation. The report also highlights that 63.7% children with parents who have at most lower secondary education are facing poverty; this figure has increased by 3.9% since 2010.  

More information: 

You can see latest statistics released by Eurostat, by country on their website

Watch Jana Hainsworth respond to young people’s questions on child poverty in the EU (organised by Debating Europe) here

Eurochild monitors EU recommendations on national economic and social policies and assesses their potential impact on children. You can find Eurochild’s report from 2017 here. The assessment of the 2018 European Semester will be released in autumn.