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Are universal measures sufficient in reducing child poverty in the Nordic countries?: An analysis of policies and political commitments
Unit for Health Promotion Research, Public Health Institute, University of Southern Denmark (DNK).
Malmö University (SWE).
University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for nursing - graduate level. Malmö University (SWE). (LOV)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7915-8972
Unit for Health Promotion Research, Public Health Institute, University of Southern Denmark (DNK).
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2022 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 50, no 7, p. 892-902Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have long traditions of social welfare policies that have eradicated poverty as part of their goals. The purpose of this study was to increase our understanding of why child poverty is still significant in the Nordic countries despite existing strategies. Methods: A qualitative analysis of Nordic government documents and reports between 2007 and 2019 was carried out to track changes in public health priorities and political measures and to determine the similarities and differences between the five countries. Results: In all countries, most of the measures were universal, such as benefits during pregnancy, paid parental leave before and after the child was born, paid parental leave related to children’s sickness, child allowances, day care, free health care for children and support for disabled children. National policies aimed to reduce social inequalities and child poverty exist in all five countries, but unaffordable housing, unequal disposable family income distribution and unequal income distribution at local municipality levels seem to be obstacles to reaching national policy goals. Conclusions: Despite comprehensive universal measures to eradicate child poverty, inequalities are significant and increasing in some of the Nordic countries. This might be due to a lack of proportional universalism, where universal measures are in place in all Nordic countries, but with a lack of scale and intensity proportional to the children and families at risk. The significance of eliminating social inequalities needs to be emphasised at the local level.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2022. Vol. 50, no 7, p. 892-902
Keywords [en]
Nordic countries, child poverty, policy, document analysis, social welfare model, social determinants of health
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
NURSING AND PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE, Nursing science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-19180DOI: 10.1177/14034948221109694ISI: 000825035700001PubMedID: 35815562Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85133930006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-19180DiVA, id: diva2:1709419
Available from: 2022-11-08 Created: 2022-11-08 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Eklund Karlsson, LeenaGunnarsdottir, Hrafnhildur

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