Rabat – Child poverty has decreased throughout Morocco in the past decade and a half, according to High Commission for Planning data released in celebration of the International Day of the Child.
The study, based on data from the 2001 and 2014, covered households from all social categories and regions. The HCP explained that its multidimensional approach to poverty would make it possible to better understand the reality of the living conditions of children.
The results of the study show that, between 2001 and 2014, the average deprivation rate of children fell by more than half at the national level, from 0.295 to 0.128, a decrease of 6.2 percent per year.
Poverty downfall among children has occured at different speeds from one region to another.
Between 2001 and 2014, the percentage share of multidimensional child poverty decreased from 46.8 percent to 10.0 percent in Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, from 59.8 percent to 16.5 percent in Marrakech-Safi, and from 44.6 percent to 14.6 percent in Beni Mellal-Khénifra.
The HCP asserted that, under these conditions, the multidimensional poverty of children has shown a strong downward trend.
Its prevalence fell from 43.6 percent in 2001 to 24.1 percent in 2007 and to 11.0 percent in 2014. The number of children living in poverty has increased drastically from 4.9 million children in 2001 to 1.2 million children in 2014, representing an average annual reduction of 10 percent in the overall number of poor children nationwide.While child poverty is still evident, it generally remains mainly a rural phenomenon. Forty-eight percent of Moroccan children reside in rural areas, and 88 percent of them are poor, added the same source.
Causes of Child Poverty
Multidimensional poverty predominantly affected children aged between five and six with a poverty rate of 21 percent, while children aged between seven and 14 were the least affected by poverty with a rate of 7.3 percent.
The study also showed that child poverty is a social reproduction of adult poverty and a consequence of unfavorable living conditions.
Poverty rate among households with six or more children, which accounted for 28 percent poverty rate, is four times higher than households with one child, accounting only for 6.5 percent poverty rate.
Whether households are matriarchal or patriarchal has a different impact on the situation of children with respect to poverty. Poverty rate is 11.2 percent for children in patriarchal households, compared with 8.6 percent for children in matriarchal households.
The level of education of the head of household also played a determining role the rate of child poverty. The incidence of child poverty increased from 0.5 percent for children whose fathers are educated to more that 16.4 percent for children whose fathers are illiterate.
The HCP explained that while the education of the father is a key determinant in child poverty, the education of the mother is much more momentous.
Chances of preventing child poverty are twice as high for children whose mothers have higher levels of education (22.5 percent) than for those whose father has the same level of education (10.3 percent).
The risk of multidimensional child poverty is strongly differentiated by the socio-occupational category of the head of household.
The incidence of child poverty is higher among children in households headed by “farm operators,” representing a percentage share of 25.4 child poverty rate, while agricultural and fishery laborers accounted for 24.3 percent, non-agricultural laborers for 11.3 percent, and craftsmen and skilled workers for 8.9 percent.