Childhood poverty ‘a serious problem’ in Finland

Researchers also looked at the problems faced by children born in the 1990s, compared to their peers from a decade before.

File picture showing young people / Credit: THL Finland

Save The Children in Finland says childhood poverty is still a serious problem in Finland.

An estimated 14,7% of Finnish children live in poverty and this is being reflected in the number of applications for assistance that Save The Children is receiving throughout the country.

“The number of applications has increased recently. The need for family support and the causes of poverty are long-lasting and poverty is multifaceted. For example, illnesses cause long-term disability and poverty” says Marja Puhakka from Save The Children in Helsinki.

The most vulnerable households, according to the charity, are single parent families, and immigrant families.

Major study of young Finns

The latest figures on childhood poverty come as another study shows some of the problems facing young Finns.

The National Institute of Health and Welfare THL compared children born in the 1997 with their peers from a decade before.

The report finds that the children born in the 90s have more mental health issues, psychological problems and learning difficulties than those born in the 1980s; and were more likely to need intervention from welfare authorities.

Looking into problems with the 90s kids, researchers found that welfare problems were linked to underlying family issues, income and school achievement.

“A child growing up in a welfare state should have the opportunity to have a happy childhood and a level playing field for a future good life irrespective of the parents’ background” says Tiina Ristikari from THL.