WHILE continuing to follow the developments in Ukraine and Crimea, the Norwegian media has focused on a national report, which shows that the number of children living in poverty has increased considerably in the last couple of years.
The numbers are announced every three years by the Central Statistical Bureau (SSB). While the numbers have been quite steady for several years, there was an increase from 73,900 in 2011 to 78,200 in 2012. Immigrant families make up a large portion of those in poverty. Among children from Somalia, almost 70 per cent live in poverty, while children from Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea all have numbers around 50 per cent.
While only 11 per cent of all children in Norway have an immigrant background, they make up 50 per cent of the total number of children living in poverty in Norway. A spokesman for SSB, Mads Ivar Kirkeberg, says that without generalising too much, immigrant families usually have more children while being less represented on the job market, which means that they rely on social support.
Being poor in Norway rarely means not having money for food, but it means that you cannot take part in society like most other people. This has severe implications for integration, as these children risk isolation on important social issues. The leader of Norway’s work and social committee, Arve Kambe, describes it as a sad development and emphasises that there should be more of a focus on language training and getting parents into jobs.
Potential US ambassador knows nothing about Norway
Meanwhile the media has been following recent developments of the approval of the potential new US ambassador in Norway, George James Tsunis.
The American Foreign Service Association has requested the Senate, which approves US ambassadors, shouldn’t give Tsunis the job in Oslo. This request is due to his severe lack of knowledge about Norway. Admitting that he has never himself been to Norway, he was in his hearing in the Senate constantly referring to the Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, as a President, as well as mentioning international rumours about the controversial Progress Party that has been flourishing in the media. He failed to acknowledge, that this party is now in the Norwegian government, holding no less than seven ministerial posts.
Words: Ingunn Dorholt
Picture credits: Zsolt Botykai (top); A. Currell (inset)