The number of children living in families defined as “poor” by Norwegian standards has doubled since 2000, according to UNICEF Norge. Long known for its efforts to spread wealth within society, Norway is now seeing more social differences, reports state broadcaster NRK.
UNICEF doesn’t think enough is being done to help children in families with relatively low incomes in Norway, or to ward off ill effects of social differences, even though UNICEF itself thinks social differences among children in Norway remain low. At the same time, however, NRK reported on its nightly newscast Dagsrevyen that more families are seeking help and that it’s no longer taboo for parents to admit they need help.
UNICEF also repeated concerns about how Norway effectively imprisons children when their families fail to qualify for asylum and are kept in custody until they can be sent out of the country.
There was some good end-of-year news from both UNICEF and NRK: More children are performing well in school, there are more professionals working in local day care centers and Norwegian youth are smoking and drinking less than in earlier years. Death rates among children, already low by international standards, have also continued to decline, by half over the last 20 years, because of lower infant mortality, fewer traffic accidents and fewer incidents of crib death.