Young people - social inclusion

This is the stable Version.

Data extracted in October 2018.

Planned article update: November 2019.

Highlights

In 2017, the rate of young people aged 16-29 years at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU was 28 %, or 21.8 million young people, with women at slightly higher risk than men.

In 2017, 10 % of people aged 16-29 years in the EU lived in households with very low work intensity.

Between 2012 and 2017, the severe material deprivation rate for young people aged 16-29 years in the EU fell from 12 % to 8 %.


Source: Eurostat: (ilc_lvps08)

This article presents statistics on the social inclusion of young people (aged 16-29 years) in the European Union (EU), as well as several EFTA and candidate countries. The analysis focuses on an indicator concerning people at risk of poverty or social exclusion and its sub-components — the at-risk-of-poverty rate, the severe material deprivation rate and the share of households with very low work intensity. It also provides information distinguishing whether young people live with their parents or not. Comparisons by age groups and sex are also presented.

Full article

Living with parents

Before looking at the social inclusion indicators, Figures 1 and 2 present some basic information on the proportion of young people living with their parents. In 2017, the share of young people (aged 16-29 years) living with their parents was 68.2 % in the EU-28: for young men the share was 73.3 % while for young women it was 62.9 %, a gap of 10.4 percentage points.

In every EU Member State the proportion of young women living in the parental home was lower than that of young men, as can be seen in Figure 1. The largest gender gaps were observed in Bulgaria (19.3 percentage points) and Romania (17.2 percentage points) while the lowest were in Spain (5.7 percentage points), Sweden (4.7 percentage points) and Malta (4.6 percentage points). The largest shares of young men living with their parents were recorded in Croatia (93.1 %), Slovakia (89.2 %), Italy (88.3 %) and Malta (87.0 %), while for young women the largest shares were in Malta (82.4 %) and Croatia (82.3 %). Finland (40.8 % for young men and 30.1 % for young women) and Denmark (39.5 % for young men and 31.9 % for young women) recorded the lowest shares, both for young men and for young women.

Figure 1: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) living with their parents, 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat: (ilc_lvps08)


Figure 2 shows the share of young people living with their parents, distinguishing three five-year age groups among young people. Since the vast majority of young people in education remain living with their parents, the overwhelming majority of young people who were teenagers (aged 16-19 years) lived with their parents in all EU Member States in 2017. In fact, only in one Member State was the share of people aged 16-19 years living with their parents below 90.0 %, as the share in the United Kingdom (2016 data) was just below this level, at 89.3 %; the next lowest share was 91.7 % in Bulgaria. The share of teenagers living with parents was above 95.0 % in 21 of the Member States, reaching above 99.0 % in Cyprus (99.2 %), Croatia (99.3 %) and Italy (99.6 %). Among the non-member countries for which data are presented in Figure 2, Norway stands out as 82.9 % (2016 data) of young people aged 16-19 years were living with parents, a far lower share than in any of the EU Member States.

Figure 2: Share of young people living with their parents, 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat: (ilc_lvps08)

Among young people in the two older age groups — 20-24 years and 25-29 years —there were significant variations between the EU Member States. For the age group 20-24 years, the share of young people living with their parents in 2017 was below 30 % in Denmark (23.8 %) and Finland (26.6 %) while it was also below 50 % in Sweden (41.6 %). Elsewhere, a majority of young people in this age group lived with their parents, the shares ranging from 57.7 % in the United Kingdom (2016 data) to more than 90.0 % in Spain (91.1 %), Italy (92.0 %), Malta, Croatia (both 92.9 %) and Slovakia (93.4 %). In all Member States, the share of young people aged 20-24 years living with their parents was lower than in the age group 16-19 years. Equally, the share of young people aged 25-29 years living with their parents was lower than in the age group 20-24 years in all EU Member States. Within this oldest group the share of young people living with their parents ranged from less than 10.0 % in the Nordic Member States to shares above 70.0 % in Malta (71.0 %), Greece (72.3 %) and Croatia (75.4 %). Among the non-member countries shown in Figure 2, Norway (9.0 %; 2016 data) also recorded a particularly low share of young people aged 25-29 years living with their parents while the share in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (70.2 %; 2016 data) was particularly high.

Young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion

The indicator concerning the share of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion is based on three indicators: the at-risk-of-poverty rate, the severe material deprivation rate and the share of households with very low work intensity. People at risk of poverty or social exclusion are defined as people who are in at least one (but possibly two or all three) of these situations.

In 2017, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for young people aged 16-29 years was 27.7 % in the EU-28, corresponding to about 21.8 million young people. The share of young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion decreased by 1.0 percentage points between 2007 and 2009, increased by 4.0 percentage points between 2009 and 2014 (note the change from EU-27 to EU-28 during this period) and then declined again by 2.0 percentage points between 2014 and 2017. Combining these figures, the rate in 2017 was 1.0 percentage points higher than it had been in 2007 (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty or social exclusion, EU-28, 2007-2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps01)

Figure 3 shows that young women (aged 16-29 years) had slightly higher at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rates than young men throughout the period shown, although the gender gap was narrowest in 2015 where the rates differed by just 0.1 percentage points. The latest rates show a gender gap of 0.8 percentage points, with a rate of 28.1 % for young women and a rate of 27.3 % for young men. For comparison, in 2007 and 2008 the gender gap had been 2.1 percentage points. In 2017, the rate for young men was 1.7 percentage points higher than it had been in 2007 while for young women the difference was an increase of 0.4 percentage points.

From Table 1 it can be seen that in 2017 women aged 16-29 had higher at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rates than men of the same age in 17 EU Member States, with the difference being highest in the United Kingdom (4.1 percentage points; 2016 data), followed at some distance by Spain (3.3 percentage points), Slovenia (3.2 percentage points), Germany (3.1 percentage points), Estonia (3.0 percentage points) and Ireland (2.9 percentage points; 2016 data). In Lithuania and Portugal the rates were the same for young men and for young women, while in the remaining nine Member States, young women had lower at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rates than men; the biggest differences were observed in Bulgaria (5.5 percentage points) and Malta (4.7 percentage points). Serbia also recorded a large difference, with the rate for young women 4.3 percentage points lower than for young men (2016 data).

Table 1: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_peps01)

In 2017, the EU Member States with the highest levels of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty or social exclusion were Greece (45.9 %), Bulgaria (41.0 %) and Romania (40.4 %), while the lowest rates were found in Slovakia (17.3 %), Slovenia (16.0 %), Malta (15.3 %) and Czechia (12.1 %). Among non-member countries, high rates were also recorded in Serbia (43.2 %; 2016 data), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (41.5 %; 2016 data) and Turkey (40.5 %; 2015 data), while low rates were recorded in Switzerland (16.8 %; 2016 data) and Iceland (15.7 %; 2016 data).

In 2016, in the majority of EU Member States the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for young people (aged 16-29) was lower for those living with their parents than for those who were not. Exceptions were Poland, Luxembourg, Latvia and Portugal, where the share was higher for those living with their parents. These differences were more significant in some Member States than in others. In Denmark, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for young people not living with their parents was 4.2 times as high as for those living with their parents (52.5 % compared with 12.4 %). The rates for young people not living with their parents were also at least twice as high as for those living with their parents in Finland, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany. As regards the EFTA countries, a similar situation was observed to that among the majority of the Member States, with the rate systematically lower for those living with their parents, with particularly large differences in the rates in Iceland (2015 data) and Norway. By contrast, in three of the four candidate countries for which data are available the rate was higher among the young people living with their parents than among those who were not, the one exception being Serbia.

Table 2: Share of young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (yth_incl_030)

In all EU Member States, EFTA and candidate countries, a higher proportion of teenagers aged 16-19 years who were not living with parents were at risk of poverty or social exclusion than those who lived with parents. In Finland, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate in 2016 for young people aged 16-19 not living with their parents was 6.5 times as high as for those living with their parents (73.1 % compared with 11.2 %), while in Denmark the rate was 5.9 times as high (73.6 % compared with 12.4 %). The other Member States where the rate was at least 3.0 times as high for those not living with their parents were the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Austria and Germany; this was also the case in Iceland (2015 data) and Switzerland. The smallest differences were noted in Luxembourg and Poland where the rate for young people aged 16-19 years not living with their parents was 1.1 times as high as for those living with their parents; similar small differences were observed in Turkey (2014 data) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Among young people aged 20-24 years, as was observed in the younger age group, in all EU Member States and non-member countries shown in Table 2 a higher proportion of those who were not living with their parents were at risk of poverty or social exclusion than those who lived with their parents in 2016. In Denmark, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate for young people aged 20-24 years not living with their parents was 5.5 times as high as for those living with their parents (64.6 % compared with 11.7 %); a similarly large difference (5.4 times as high) was observed in Norway while in Iceland it was only slightly lower (4.9 times as high; 2015 data). The other Member States where the rate was at least 3.0 times as high for those not living with their parents were the Netherlands (4.5 times as high), Germany (3.5 times as high), Finland and Austria (both 3.4 times as high). The smallest difference was observed in Portugal, where the rate for persons aged 20-24 years not living with their parents was 28.2 %, 1.03 times the 27.3 % rate observed for those living with their parents.

By contrast, in a small number of EU Member States — Luxembourg, France, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Belgium and Lithuania — a smaller proportion of young people aged 25-29 years not living with parents were at risk of poverty or social exclusion than those living with parents in 2016.

In general, a smaller share of persons aged 25-29 years were at risk of poverty or social exclusion than was the case for persons aged 20-24 years or 16-19 years. Concerning young people not living with their parents this was true for all EU Member States except for Bulgaria (where the share was slightly lower among the 20-24 years age group). Among young people living with their parents, in 19 Member States the lowest share at risk of poverty or social exclusion was among the age group 25-29 years, in eight the lowest share was among the age group 20-24 years, while in Finland the lowest share was among those aged 16-19 years.

At-risk-of-poverty rate of young people

The at-risk-of-poverty rate measures poverty in relative terms. This indicator defines a relative poverty threshold at 60 % of the net median equivalised disposable income: the population whose income is below this threshold is considered to be at risk of poverty relative to the rest of the population.

The share of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty in the EU was 2.9 percentage points higher in 2017 than in 2007, up from 18.3 % in the EU-27 to 21.2 % in the EU-28. This reflected a fall from 2007 to a low of 18.1 % in 2008, an increase to a peak of 21.5 % in 2015 and a subsequent fall to 21.2 % in 2017. This rate was higher in 2017 than in 2007 for all three age groups among the young population (see Figure 4): increases of 3.4 and 3.1 percentage points were observed for young people aged 20-24 years and 25-29 years respectively compared with 1.9 percentage points for teenagers aged 16-19 years.

Figure 4: Share of young people at risk of poverty, EU-28, 2007-2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_li02)

In 2017, slight differences were noted in the at-risk-of-poverty rate for young women and young men (see Table 3). For the EU-28, the difference was 1.0 percentage points, where the at-risk-of-poverty rate for young men was 20.7 % and for young women it was 21.7 %. In a small majority of EU Member States — 16 out of 28 — the at-risk-of-poverty rate was higher for young women than for young men, while it was the same for young people of both sexes in Romania. In Slovenia, Ireland (2016 data) and Spain the percentage of young women at risk of poverty was higher than that for young men by 4.0-4.1 percentage points. In the remaining 11 Member States the situation was the reversed, with the at-risk-of-poverty rate for young men higher than for young women, with the largest difference (3.7 percentage points) in Malta.

Table 3: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty, 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_li02)

Table 4 presents the at-risk-of-poverty rates for young people with an analysis whether or not they were living with parents. In 2016, a higher rate of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty in the EU-28 was observed among young people not living with parents (25.7 %) than living with parents (18.9 %). Within each of these two subpopulations, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for the EU-28 was highest in the youngest age group (persons aged 16-19 years) and lowest in the oldest age group (persons aged 25-29): note that a precise value for the youngest age group among those not living with parents is not available, but the situation among the large number of EU Member States for which data are available indicates that the rate in this age group was clearly higher than in either of the older age groups. In fact, among young people not living with parents, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom were the only Member States where the highest at-risk-of-poverty rate among the three age groups was not for those aged 16-19 years.

Table 4: Share of young people at risk of poverty, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (yth_incl_060)

Figure 5 shows that in 10 of the EU Member States, living or not with parents did not have a major impact on the risk-of-poverty rate for young people aged 16-29 years, as the difference in the at-risk-of-poverty rates for these two subpopulations was less than 5.0 percentage points in 2016. In 4 of these 10 Member States — Poland, Portugal, Luxembourg and Latvia — the rates were in fact higher for young people living with parents than for those not living with parents. In the other 18 Member States, where larger differences were observed, the rates were always higher for those not living with parents. The largest differences between these rates were observed in Denmark (37.6 percentage points), Finland (21.5 percentage points), the Netherlands (20.9 percentage points), Austria (18.5 percentage points) and Germany (16.5 percentage points).

Figure 5: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) at risk of poverty, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (yth_incl_060)

Severe material deprivation

Material deprivation indicators have been defined to complement the relative poverty indicator (which is based on current income) by taking account of non-monetary resources. Their definition is based on the inability to afford a selection of nine specific items that are considered to be necessary or desirable, such as not being able to: afford one week’s annual holiday away from home; afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day; face unexpected financial expenses, among others. The severe material deprivation rate is based on a single European threshold. It is an absolute measure of poverty which captures the differences in living standards between EU Member States. Persons who cannot afford four or more of the nine items are considered to be severely materially deprived.

In 2017, the severe material deprivation rate for young people (aged 16-29) in the EU was lower than it had been in 2007 (see Figure 6). From 2007 to 2009 the rate for the EU-27 followed a downward path from 10.6 % to 9.6 %. Thereafter, the rate for the EU-28 increased for three years, peaking in 2012 at 11.7 %. In recent years the rate for young people has fallen, with five consecutive declines from a relative high in 2012, with the rate passing from 11.7 % down to 7.8 % by 2017.

Figure 6: Severe material deprivation rate for young people (aged 16-29 years), EU-28, 2007-2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd11)

Among the EU Member States, in 2017 the highest proportion of young people (aged 16-29 years) who were severely materially deprived was observed in Bulgaria (33.3 %), ahead of Greece (27.0 %), Romania (20.9 %), Hungary (16.6 %) and Cyprus (16.0 %); Lithuania and Italy were the only other Member States with rates above 10.0 %. Less than 3.0 % of young people were severely materially deprived in Estonia (2.9 %), Sweden (1.5 %) and Luxembourg (0.9 %) — see Figure 7.

Figure 7: Severe material deprivation rate for young people (aged 16-29 years), 2007 and 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_mddd11)

As can also be seen from Figure 7, the severe material deprivation rate for young people (aged 16-29 years) was lower in 2017 than it had been in 2007 in the majority of the EU Member States. Exceptions to this situation were Cyprus, the United Kingdom (2007-2016), Austria, Spain, Italy, Ireland (2007-2016) and Greece, where there were increases; there were also increases in Luxembourg and the Netherlands which both recorded a break in series. Among these Member States with higher severe material deprivation rates for young people in 2017 than in 2007, the largest increase by far was in Greece, where the rate more than doubled from 11.4 % to 27.0%. Turning to the 18 Member States with a lower severe material deprivation rate in 2017 than in 2007, the largest percentage point decreases in the rate (apart from in Bulgaria which recorded a break in series) were in Poland (down 17.2 percentage points), Romania (down 14.4 percentage points) and Latvia (down 10.7 percentage points).

Looking at severe material deprivation rates among young people substantial differences can be seen between EU Member States, although the differences by age group and whether or not the young people live with parents are often not so large (see Table 5). For the EU-28 as a whole there was little difference in the severe material deprivation rates by age: among young people living with parents the rates ranged from 9.1 % for those aged 20-24 years to 9.7 % for those aged 25-29 years. For young people not living with parents the data are not complete (no data for young people aged 16-19 years), but the two available rates were relatively close to each other and they were lower than the equivalent rates for those living with parents.

Concerning young people aged 16-19 years severe material deprivation rates were higher among those not living with parents than those living with parents in the vast majority of EU Member States for which data are available, the only exceptions being Lithuania, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Romania and the Netherlands. For the age group 20-24 years a similar situation was observed, with only Lithuania, France, Poland and Portugal recording higher severe material deprivation rates for young people living with parents than those not living with parents, while all 24 other Member States reported the reverse situation. For the oldest age group studied — people aged 25-29 years — the situation was less clear cut: 15 Member States reported higher rates for those not living with parents, two reported the same rates for the two subpopulations and the remaining 11 Member States reported higher rates for those living with parents. Lithuania was the only Member State to report that the severe material deprivation rates were higher in all three age groups for young people living with their parents, while the reverse was true (the rates were higher in all three age groups for young people not living with their parents) in Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom. For the remaining Member States (for which data are complete) the situation was more complex, with one age group registering a higher rate in one subpopulation and the other two age groups a higher rate in the other subpopulation. Among the non-member countries included in Table 5, Norway and Turkey reported higher rates in all three age groups for young people not living with their parents, while the others reported mixed situations.

Table 5: Severe material deprivation rate, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (yth_incl_090)

Living in households with very low work intensity

This section focuses on young people living in households with very low work intensity (defined as households where the members of working age worked on average less than 20 % of their total potential during the 12 months preceding the survey) [1]. People living in such households are more likely to be exposed to social exclusion.

In 2017, 7.6 million people aged 16-29 years in the EU-28 lived in households with very low work intensity, equivalent to 10.0 % of the population of this age group — see Figure 8. This proportion was slightly higher than in 2007 (9.2 %; EU-27). In a similar manner to that already identified for other indicators presented in this article, this proportion fell between 2007 and 2009 (from 9.2 % to 8.6 % in the EU-27), subsequently increased, reaching a peak of 11.8 % in 2014 in the EU-28 and then declined — somewhat irregularly — in more recent years.

Figure 8: Share of young people living in households with very low work intensity, EU-28, 2007-2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl11)

Among the EU Member States, Greece (20.3 %), Ireland (19.6 %; 2016 data), Denmark (17.5 %) and Spain (14.7 %) recorded the highest proportions of young people (aged 16-29 years) who lived in households with very low work intensity in 2017. The lowest proportions were registered in Czechia (4.7 %), Hungary, Slovakia (both 4.6 %) and Poland (4.2 %). The proportion of young people who were living in households with very low work intensity in Cyprus was 3.4 times as high in 2017 as it had been in 2007, while in Greece and Spain it was more than twice a high, as it also was in Luxembourg and Sweden (note that these two Member States have a break in series). Lower proportions of young people were living in households with very low work intensity in 2017 (compared with 2007) in France, Slovenia, Bulgaria (note the break in series), Malta, Germany, Czechia, Poland and Hungary (see Figure 9).

Figure 9: Share of young people (aged 16-29 years) living in households with very low work intensity, 2007 and 2017
(%)
Source: Eurostat (ilc_lvhl11)

As shown in Table 6, in 2016 10.3 % of young people (aged 16-29 years) living with parents in the EU-28 lived in a household with very low work intensity, whereas among those not living with parents the share was slightly higher, at 11.9 %. Among those living with parents, the share living in a household with very low work intensity was lowest among the youngest age group (9.3 % for those aged 16-19 years) and highest among the oldest age group (13.3 % for those aged 25-29 years); for those not living with parents the data are incomplete, but the share was lower for those aged 25-29 years than for those aged 20-24 years, in other words the reverse situation than that observed for young people living with their parents.

Table 6: Share of young people living in households with very low work intensity, 2016
(%)
Source: Eurostat (yth_incl_120)

In a similar manner to that observed for the severe material deprivation rate, for a large majority of EU Member States the share of young people living in households with very low work intensity was lower among those living with their parents than among those not living with parents for the two age groups covering young people aged 16-19 years and 20-24 years. Again, for those aged 25-29 years the situation was more balanced, with a minority — 10 Member States — reporting lower shares among those living with parents and the remaining 18 reporting lower shares among those not living with parents. In Greece, Luxembourg and Poland the share of young people living in households with very low work intensity was higher in all three age groups among those living with parents than among those not living with parents while the reverse was true in Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Romania and Slovakia; elsewhere (among the Member States with complete data) the situation was more complex, with one age group registering a higher share in one subpopulation and the other two age groups a higher share in the other subpopulation. Norway and Serbia also registered higher shares of young people living in households with very low work intensity among people not living with parents in all three age groups while the reverse was observed in Turkey (2015 data).

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The data used in this article are primarily derived from EU statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). The legal basis for these data is the framework Regulation (EC) No 1177/2003. EU-SILC is the main European source of information for statistics relating to income, living conditions and social inclusion. The reference population covered by these data is all private households and their current members residing in the territory of an EU Member State at the time of data collection. Persons living in collective households and in institutions are generally excluded from the target population. The EU-28 aggregate is a population-weighted average of individual national figures.

Context

Social exclusion at an early age has the potential to have long-lasting consequences for both individuals and society as a whole as it may affect all aspects of young people’s lives. Data suggest that the decision to move towards an independent life leaving the parental household increases the risk of poverty.

For many young people, looking for a job and sustaining a household is far from easy. Indeed, young people often start with low-paid jobs and underemployment (temporary or part-time), which can lead to financial difficulties. However, this is not always the rule as the risk of poverty for youth depends on numerous other factors, including the general financial situation and the social inclusion policies where they live.

At the European Council held on 17 June 2010, the Member States’ Heads of State and Government endorsed the Europe 2020 strategy, for not only smart and sustainable, but also inclusive growth. One of its headline targets is the reduction of poverty: the main aim is to lift 20 million people out of risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020. One of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives is the ‘European platform against poverty and social exclusion’. It states that poverty should be combatted from an early age, as children born into poverty face a substantially higher risk of remaining poor throughout their youth and into adulthood. This is a responsibility of all EU Member States, with the European Commission playing a supporting and coordinating role.

Social inclusion was one of the eight ‘fields of action’ in the EU Youth Strategy which ran from 2010 to 2018. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward proposals for a new EU youth strategy for the period from 2019 to 2027.

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Youth social inclusion (yth_incl)
People at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Europe 2020 strategy) (ilc_pe)
Main indicator - Europe 2020 target on poverty and social exclusion (ilc_peps)
Income distribution and monetary poverty (ilc_ip)
Monetary poverty (ilc_li)
Living conditions (ilc_lv)
Population structure (ilc_lvps)
Health and labour conditions (ilc_lvhl)
Material deprivation (ilc_md)
Material deprivation by dimension (ilc_mddd)

Notes

  1. Households composed only of children, of students aged less than 25 years and/or by people aged 60 years or more are excluded from the computation of this indicator (for both the numerator and denominator). Students aged 18-24 years who live with at least one other person of working age who is not a student are excluded from the computation of the household work intensity, but they are given the household work intensity computed on the basis of the other household members. The same rule applies for children.