AMERICA/CHILE - Children and indigenous adolescents are more vulnerable than their peers

Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - 8,7% of Chilean children younger than 18 years of age belong to an indigenous group, and this really puts them in a situation of greater vulnerability than their non-indigenous peers. A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Social Development in Chile and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), entitled "incluir, Sumar y Escuchar - Infancia y Adolescencia Indígena" took into account the child and adolescent population in the years from 1996 to 2009. Data shows that poverty is present in the lives of 26.6% of Chilean children and indigenous adolescents, while among non-natives, this percentage is lower, amounting to 21.7%. In addition, 23.1% of households with indigenous children are below the poverty line, while the same situation applies only to 17.6% of non-indigenous families.
After stressing the "feminization of indigenous poverty", the study notes that "women have a delay concerning work integration, which is accentuated in rural and indigenous areas " also their contractual situation is more unstable. The average income of a breadwinner, where children are present is lower in the case of female-headed households. Women heads of households with indigenous child population living in an urban context get 78% of the income received by men heads of households with the same characteristics. The female-headed of rural households, composed of indigenous children and adolescents, instead receive 54% of the earnings of men breadwinners in the same situation.
Preschool and primary education presents similar data for indigenous children than non-natives: the difference in access to education is apparent in the early stages of secondary and higher education: 29.9% of non-indigenous access to higher education , while among the indigenous this figure is less than 20%. 89.4% of the indigenous child population does not speak or understand his/her native language. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 31/01/2012)

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