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One third of Costa Rican children live in poverty

San Jose, Jan 25 (IANS/EFE) One third of Costa Rican children under age 12, almost 300,000 in all, live in poverty, according to government figures published by the media here.

Statistics from the ‘State of the Nation Report for 2009’ show that the dire situation among children is more pronounced than among other groups in the country, where about 17 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

One of the report’s researchers, Natalia Morales, said in remarks published Sunday in the daily La Nacion that one of the causes of the phenomenon lies in the elevated rates of fertility in poorer homes.

Morales said that the lack of family planning campaigns and opportunities for women who get pregnant at early ages is having negative effects on the country’s children.

Between 1990 and 2008, the proportion of homes where the head of the household is a woman increased from 11 percent to 19 percent, and of these, 40 percent of the women are jobless.

The experts said that other factors causing poverty to hit children harder include the fact that unemployment is greater among women and they generally receive lower pay than men, as well as the lack of networks to care for their children while they are working at their paying jobs.

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