In 2017, the percentage of Polish children who are living in poverty or were socially excluded dropped to 17.9 percent, having been 24.2 percent in 2016 according to the European statistics agency, Eurostat.
Poland remains at around the middle of the ranking of European Union countries in terms of child poverty, but the local press has put the major improvements down to the social policies adopted by the current government. Poland adopted the 500+ programme, which is a child benefit scheme, whereby families with two or more children under 18 receive PLN 500 (EUR 115) per child per month, regardless of income, while those on lower incomes also receive the benefit for their first child. In the summer of 2018 the government adopted a further policy of a single payout of PLN 300 (EUR 75) to every child to help pay for back-to-school expenses. Romania has improved conditions for poor children by the greatest margin over the past 12 months, but it still remains at the bottom of the Eurostat list. Leveling out the playing field A recent report by the Oxford-based international charity Oxfam placed Poland 26th in the world for its efforts to fight inequality. However, the organisation rated the country the best at utilising social spending to fight poverty. The country which does the most to fight inequality according to Oxfam is Denmark, while the worst at doing so are Singapore and Nigeria. In Nigeria one child in ten does not reach its 10th birthday. The charity was critical of a backlash against social spending in countries such as Brazil and Belgium and even the leader Denmark was not spared a warning for reversing some measures which have enabled it to reduce poverty there by 40 percent.