Study: low income kids don’t think they’ll ever achieve their dreams 

A new study by Save The Children throws up some worrying results about poverty and family in Finland.

File image / Credit: Save The Children Finland

A major new report about childhood poverty in Finland finds that 16% of teenagers from low income families don’t think they’ll ever achieve their dreams.

That’s one of the key findings from the Save The Children research published on Wednesday om a report called ‘Children’s Voice 2019’ which asked young people aged 13-17 about their thoughts on poverty, unemployment, security, climate change, inequality and empowerment.

A total of 565 children from all over Finland took part in the survey.

The results of the survey show that the family’s financial situation is reflected in the children’s dreams and future plans. Children from low-income families have a weaker faith in the future and are more likely to be bullied by children from well-to-do families. Wealth is also reflected in concerns about the child’s own mental well-being.

“I’m not good at building relationships and I’m easily left alone more than I would like. There are huge mental health problems in my family and in my family” said one of the participating young people.

And what are some of their dreams? The young people who took part in the survey said most often they have dreams about studying, work, family and relationships, and living a happy life without much worry. They also dreamed of traveling but saw money and health as obstacles to achieving those ambitions.

Key findings on family and poverty

Some of the key findings of the study showed 11% of young people said their family is either ‘poor’ or ‘quite poor’; while 21% of respondents said their family was ‘rich’ or ‘quite rich’.

Among single-parent families 23% said they thought they were ‘poor’ or ‘quite poor’ and of these children a quarter said their parent was unemployed.

A third of the single-parent families have four or more children, and children who live alone or apart from their guardian have more experiences of poverty than others, a group which includes those living in foster families or children’s homes.

“In the shop, you have to think about the cheapest product and we can’t afford to have hobbies or travel” said one child.

“We can’t afford good food or nice clothes. I’d like to go to a concert and a café at least once a month like normal people” said another of the young respondents.

“Books for upper secondary school have to be bought after the pay day so that there is enough money for them. I don’t really get new clothes and sometimes even going to the grocery store is tight” one of the young people said.