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OECD publishes report on family well-being

A report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has shown that almost all OECD countries have seen a rise in poverty levels amongst households with children. The Doing Better for Families report calls for governments to ensure they have family support policies in place which protect the most vulnerable.


The OECD's first-ever report on family well-being says the poorest in society are now most likely to be families with children, a position that in the past was more likely to be occupied by pensioners. Recent figures show that the proportion of children living in poor households has risen to 12.7% on average across OECD countries.


Before the financial crisis, and during a period of increased investment (1995 to 2005), child poverty in the UK fell more than in any other OECD country; in the same period the growth in average family income was third highest in the OECD. However, according to the report, progress in child poverty reduction in the UK has stalled, and is now predicted to increase. As a result, social protection spending on families – particularly via family service provisions, as a longer-term solution to poverty risks – needs to be protected.


The report also documents a dramatic change that has taken place in families across the OECD over the past generation. Family sizes are getting smaller, with a drop from 2.2 children per woman to 1.7 over the past three decades. The number of marriages taking place is falling, and amongst those that do get married, figures show that the divorce rate is rising.

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