POVERTY RATES TO WORSEN IN THE COMING YEARS

2018-03-15 00:00:00 Vittorio Hernandez 기자

Prospects of moving people out of poverty appear dimmer as studies forecast the poverty rate worsening. A new model of the current Japanese pension system forecasts that 50 percent of women who never married and divorced women in Japan will live below the poverty level. The same is true for 10 percent of Japanese men.

While the model, published on Wednesday in Frontiers in Physics, forecast poverty for a growing number of elderly Japanese women, it did not provide estimates of poverty rates that will show how and why that group will enter poverty, Phys.org reported. Seiichi Inagaki, a researcher at the International University of Health and Welfare in Japan, said among the forecasts of the research is the impoverishment of people and the advent of a super-aged society.

Current pension system

He explained that the current pension system in the Asian county was designed more than 50 years ago for post-war families. During that era, women stopped working to bear children and become housewives. At that time, the pension system was relatively generous to women in those circumstances.

However, a lot has changed since then. Rather than marry and have kids, a lot of Japanese women opted not to begin a family or are divorced. The women in those circumstances, under the current pension system, will get only a fraction of the pension calculated for married women. The payments will not be enough to keep women above poverty levels.

Inagaki used the Integrated Analytical Model for Household Simulation, a dynamic microsimulation pension model. The model predicts the future financial outcomes of pension systems for individual groups of people within a system. But the simulation is limited to public benefits and excludes other financial assets.

He said the study shows how the poverty rate will go up in the future. The never-married women or divorced women will be living in poverty in their old age because of the unfavorable public pension system and their higher risk of living in a single-person household which will raise the overall poverty rate.

Overall, the study predicted that almost 25 percent of elderly Japanese women will be impoverished, while only 10 percent of the men will live in poverty. Since the results imply that the current social security system will not work well for these women, Inagaki said he hopes that the Japanese government will consider a reform of the social security system and put in place appropriate measures for these women.

UK austerity program

In Britain, a study conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the impact of tax and benefit policy found that an extra 1.5 million children will have been pitched into poverty by 2021. It would be the consequence of the UK government’s austerity program, The Guardian reported.

To be drastically affected are children of single parents, minority ethnic households, families with disabled kids, and households with three or more children.

David Isaac, the chair of the EHRC, said that study identified clear winners and losers from the austerity tax and benefits change since 2010. He pointed out that the regressive nature of the policies means that it would be low-income families who would be the hardest hit. The study said that by 2021, the poorest fifth will lose 10 percent of their income, while there will be little or no change for the wealthiest fifth.

Given these dire forecasts, the EHRC called on the British government to reconsider existing policies that would hit the most disadvantaged groups the hardest. Isaac called for a review of social security benefit levels to ensure it will provide an adequate standard of living.

The research blamed the negative financial impact on the four-year freeze on working-age benefits beginning April 2016, cuts to disability benefits, and reductions to work allowances in universal credit.

The study predicted that children in 62 percent of single-parent households will be in poverty by 2021, up from 37 percent in 2010. This is because such kinds of households will lose an average of £5,250 ($7,335) or a fifth of their income.

By ethnic group, to be hit the hardest will be Pakistani families which are forecast to log the biggest increase in child poverty by almost one-fifth. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi households are expected to lose £4,400 ($6,147) on the average.

According to the World Bank, a household with an income of less than $1.90 a day is considered living in poverty. But healthcare costs push up to as many as 100 million people below the poverty line every year, the World Health Organization said. About 150 million people face catastrophic healthcare costs in which spending for healthcare eats up to 40 percent of the household budget after the basic needs have been met.

The WHO said it highlights the important role that vaccination has to play in helping cut poverty. The study found that the greatest benefits of vaccination were among the poorest which suggest that poorer people are more vulnerable and have a higher risk of developing preventable diseases and the impact on their lives is potentially greater, The Jordan Times reported.

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