Revisiting the Measurement of Poverty Using Children as the Main Focus

Isdioso, Widjayanti, Vita Febriany, and Nila Warda (2012). "Revisiting the Measurement of Poverty Using Children as the Main Focus" Paper presented at the 9th annual conference of the HDCA, 5-7 September 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Children experience poverty differently from adults: Poverty has different causes and has different effects, and impacts on children and children have specific and different needs to those of adults. For Indonesia, child poverty is very important because based on the 2010 national census 34 percent of the total Indonesian population of 237.6 million people was categorized as children (people less than 18 years old). The census also showed that 72 percent of households (HHs) in Indonesia are HHs with children, 55 percent of them having 1–2 children. Nevertheless, while the importance of children has been the focus of several government programs, the data and research on child poverty in Indonesia is still very limited. Information on child poverty, how children experience poverty and where they are located across Indonesia would be very useful to improve the effectiveness of government programs for all children, particularly those in poor HHs. This paper aims to revisit the measurement of poverty using children as the main focus. Analysis in this paper employs a mainly quantitative analysis using the SUSENAS panel data from 2003 and 2009. The study finds that child poverty is higher than poverty amongst the general population. Using the National Poverty Line (NPL), child poverty fell from 23.4% in 2003 to 17.3% in 2009, whereas general population poverty rates fell from 17.2% to 14.2% for the same period. One of the reasons given to explain this is that poorer households tend to have larger families. Furthermore, the study shows that child poverty rates were higher in rural areas than in urban areas, and provinces in eastern Indonesia tend to have higher child poverty rates than those in western Indonesia. The analysis of children living with multiple deprivations found that around 77 per cent of children suffered from deprivation in one to three dimensions and this proportion did not change significantly between 2003 and 2009. Around 83.6 per cent of children in Indonesia in 2003 and 80.6 per cent in 2009 were deprived in at least one deprivation dimension. Additionally, about 6.4 percent of children in 2003 and 5.6 per cent in 2009 suffered from four or more dimensions of deprivation. Given such conditions of child poverty, this study recommends that poverty reduction and social protection programs should be more pro-children, and be based on the child poverty condition and characteristics. It should also be highlighted that pro-poor children development would address not only current but also future poverty problems.
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