OPG to set special fund to fight child poverty
The Okinawa Prefectural Government has investigated children’s poverty in Okinawa for the first time and, based on the findings, concluded that 29.9% of children in the prefecture live in households with incomes below the official poverty level.
That is about double the national average of 16.3 % in 2012. About one out of every three children in Okinawa is considered living in poverty, and the government regards the situation serious.
According to the current data, the result of the survey was not a surprise as officials had expected the children’s poverty rate might not be good because of low average income in the prefecture. In addition, the percentage of single-parent households is twice the national average.
In response to the results of the survey, the prefectural government is planning to set up an official fund in the fiscal 2016 to fight the deepening child poverty. The fund is envisioned to be at a scale of about ¥3 billion.
It is very rare for a prefectural government to set up a special fund to deal with children’s poverty. The children’s poverty rate is calculated as the proportion of children under 18 years of age, who are living in households with half the average family income or less. The prefectural government calculated the rate based on tax information from every municipal government in the prefecture and the data from the Basic Resident Register.